The Hub: Picture perfect business

TALENTED: John Lechner has started a company that rents art works to businesses. Picture: Peter Stoop
TALENTED: John Lechner has started a company that rents art works to businesses. Picture: Peter Stoop

WE’VE all been there before. Waiting to see a doctor or an accountant or physiotherapist and staring at a wall devoid of any decoration but for an ugly clock or outdated poster. 

You can kill time by checking your email or reading a very outdated magazine. But what if you could feast your eyes upon a euphoric print of, say, an Icelandic water sunset that all but transports you to that mystical place?  

According to John Lechner, businesses have a lot to gain by adorning their parameters with objects of beauty. 

To that end, he has launched Artwork Rentals, which hires high quality art works to businesses to add value to their operations.

‘‘It’s about giving your office a professional feel,’’ says Lechner, whose studio is based in Bolwarra Heights, near Morpeth.

‘‘If your clients are spending a lot of time talking or waiting for you they want to feel welcome and feel like they are valued. 

‘‘To have something nice, fresh and interesting to look at adds value to them and gives a professional look that isn’t given by a poster or footy jersey.’’

Lechner can’t remember a time that he hasn’t carried a camera and for the last two years has focused on landscape photography.

The serial traveller – this year alone he plans to get to Bali, New York, Malaysia, Eastern Europe and the Pacific Islands – came up with the idea for his business six months ago.

With the help of his photographer wife Kim and a small team including a business coach, and support from members of his local BNI networking group, he worked to refine what is now a marketable and profitable product.  

‘‘The whole basis for it was about combining my passion for photography and travel,’’ says Lechner, who grew up in Western Sydney but has been in the Hunter for close to a decade. 

Lechner’s past work included portraits but he says it was his realisation that he loved landscapes that led him to forming Artwork Rentals.  

‘‘It’s crazy but I love getting up at 3am and going to find a really cool spot and just standing there watching the sun come, or standing in the afternoon and watching the sun go down – on my own, in my zone, me and my camera and tripod,’’ he enthuses.  

Artwork Rentals assists clients by  first assessing their artistic taste and budget then choosing pieces accordingly.

For a minimum contract of 12 months and a flat fee starting from $59.50, clients can choose art works which Lechner will replace after three months, ensuring clients’ offices are kept looking fresh.

The art works  are images Lechner has captured in his travels in the Hunter and abroad, including Iceland, Cambodia, France, the US and the Caribbean. 

In his day-to-day work, Lechner has found himself in many a dull office space and says key targets of his new business are likely to be doctors, lawyers and accountants.

‘‘They often have certificates on the wall, which have a value, but then what else is there to look at for the next 25 minutes,’’ he says. 

Lechner believes there is a gap in the market for his services, as while there are some operators in Sydney it is largely on a corporate scale.

‘‘Our target market is SMEs, we can work with corporates but small business are really the ones who can benefit,’’ he says.  

Poised to begin direct marketing, Lechner hopes to grow the business into the Sydney and Central Coast markets before eventually going national.

He says the images, printed on fine art paper that gives a velvety finish, are also a cut above anything else around.

‘‘We didn’t want to create another cheap photo business, what we sell is finished artwork, they are framed and mounted, all you need to do is put a hook on the wall,’’ he says.

‘‘I have had people look at an image for half an hour and have still asked ‘is this a photo or a painting?’’’ 

WHILE on creatives, Newcastle production company Good Eye Deer has taken out another award for a series of educational videos to help curb fatalities on NSW roads.

The gripping video series that explores the consequences and human costs of the choices made when driving won Best Education and Training Video at the 2014 National Australian Video Producers Association (AVPA) Awards this month. 

The series also won the Gold Award for cinematography from the Australian Cinematographers Society in the Corporate and Education category at the 2014 NSW and ACT awards.

 The seven-part series, Your Keys, Your Choice, Your Consequences was produced by  Good Eye Deer, helmed by Gavin Banks and Olivia Olley, as part of the Traffic Offenders Intervention Program (TOIP) run by Police Citizens Youth Clubs NSW (PCYC).

Watch the trailer