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Paintru delivers a masterpiece thanks to military-style logistics
What happens when four military veterans come together to create an alternative to inflated art gallery prices and an intimidating art-buying process?
JD Kameen wanted to give his wife, Liza, a one-year anniversary gift she would never forget. In the process, he also gave an unforgettable gift to people around the world.
Kameen was hoping to turn a photo from their recent trip to Paris into an original painting, but he didn’t know where to start. He visited several local art galleries in Pensacola, and found the whole process intimidating. “I felt out of place shopping in an expensive gallery. I didn’t know a lot about oil versus watercolor versus acrylic,” Kameen recalls. So, he went where he was a lot more comfortable — social media.
He reached out to several artists directly on Instagram and found one in Seoul, South Korea, who was the perfect fit. Kameen sent his image through Instagram, the artist painted it on canvas and shipped it in time for his anniversary. Kameen was blown away by the quality of the work and the entire process. He knew others would be as well. That’s when another idea came to him, and this one was also a real masterpiece.
There are actually a lot of veterans that work for Chase who understand the problems we are facing in communication. We weren’t judged by the lack of funds in our accounts or how much revenue we were pulling in.
- JD Kameen
Reinventing art in the 21st century
With the help of three of his closest Naval Academy friends — Andrew Mighty, Eric Kettani and Brendan Aronson — Paintru was born. For the first time, individuals looking for original artwork of their pets, loved ones, wedding or really anything could find an artist from anywhere in the world to bring their memories to life. Paintru puts hand-painted, gallery-quality artwork within reach for a whole new audience. Now these veterans and others they’ve enlisted are serving their country in a whole new way.
Customers go to the Paintru site and provide some basic information about the medium, size and type of painting they’re looking for. Then they upload their image and wait to be connected with an artist who will transform their photo into a work of art. Before the paint dries, the artist emails a photo of the piece to the customer for any final edits before it’s shipped. From a customer’s perspective, the process couldn’t be simpler. However, on the back end, it’s actually quite sophisticated, thanks to complex algorithms created by Mighty using his military intelligence background. It’s these filters that help pair each project with the perfect artist.
“One of the things we were not willing to compromise on was the quality of the artwork itself. It had to be authentic in whatever medium the individual wanted,” says Kameen.
Each month, Paintru features a new artist, giving them exposure to nearly half a million followers. When asked if there’s a danger in giving customers direct access to these artists, Kameen smiles and says, “If an artist is getting work outside of Paintru, that is incredible for us. That’s all we can ask for.”
Today, Paintru has 470,000 Instagram followers, features 2,000 artists on its page and can ship 10,000 framed paintings a month, all with only nine Paintru employees. So how does the team do it? The only way they know how — using military logistics.
A mission to succeed
As a 100% veteran-owned and operated company, Paintru applies the same precision, focus and attention to detail in its business as its people have to their military missions. “We run it really similar to a Marine logistics unit,” Kameen says. “At any given time, we have framed artwork all over the world — which is good for veterans because we have a lot of logistics experience — but it’s a lot of long nights.”
When it comes to making the right connections, Paintru doesn’t stop at its artists and customers. That’s why the Paintru team did their due diligence before choosing their financial partner. Rather than simply going with a bank that was trumpeted as the go-to source for veterans, they chose one that could be an interface between the civilian world and the military.
Leveling the playing field
“We went to the local Chase bank, told them we were veterans, and they couldn’t have been more gracious,” remembers Kameen. “We weren’t judged by the lack of funds in our accounts or how much revenue we were pulling in. Chase for Business treated as respectful customers first, veterans next, and then business partners.”
“The main selling point was the amount of veteran initiatives and veteran hiring within Chase itself,” adds Mighty. “Just knowing there was going to be someone within the organization who can speak the same language as I do and relate to my past experiences made it feel like the right fit and feel like home.”
Today, more than ever, art is continuing to bring people together, and Paintru is helping to engineer the process by connecting the world, one brushstroke at a time.
In recognition of those who serve, Chase for Business is proud to offer military banking benefits. Learn More
For Informational/Educational Purposes Only: The views expressed in this article may differ from other employees and departments of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Views and strategies described may not be appropriate for everyone, and are not intended as specific advice/recommendation for any individual. You should carefully consider your needs and objectives before making any decisions, and consult the appropriate professional(s). Outlooks and past performance are not guarantees of future results.
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. Equal Opportunity Lender, 2020 JPMorgan Chase & Co.