When I opened Revive I knew it would be important to have the ability to pick up and drop off artwork from time to time. My Mini Cooper wasn’t going to cut it.
I always encourage clients to bring their art in themselves so we can perform tests and determine treatment together in the studio. As another option, there are several art moving company’s here in Santa Fe. But it’s often necessary for me to pick up a piece myself. It allows for a quicker response to requests and I can get art back to people as soon as it’s finished if they are under the gun. Basically, it allows me to go the extra mile in customer service.
But as a new business owner with limited funds, I realized I would have to be creative and resourceful. I knew it would be important to acquire a vehicle that’s safe, clean and reliable. I would love one of those sprinter vans, but it’s just out of the question. I never move more that a couple pieces at any one time, so I don’t need that much vertical space. Everyone has a panel van and it’s a great vehicle for moving art. It also provides a nice large panel for signage on its sides. But it’s also boring. Sorry guys.
There had to be another option. An old 1980s station wagon? Not reliable enough. A minivan? Doesn’t convey the right message. I needed something classy, luxurious and unique. And, of course, safety and reliability are at the top of the list.
One day I was chatting with my friend Bob. Bob is the owner of Rivera Family Funeral homes here in Santa Fe, so I asked him what the back of a hearse is like. He invited me to come over and take a look. Coincidentally, his business partner had an older one that they were getting ready to sell.
That’s it! What a brilliant idea! I ran to my wife, who is a marketer, to ask her what she thought. We agreed that having “Revive” in huge letters on the side of a hearse would probably attract a lot of attention. We threw around the idea of using “We bring your art back to life” as a tag line. And that is what I do.
So I went and looked at the car. The ‘95 Lincoln Town Car, with only 95,000 miles, spent the last 20 years pampered, cruising slowly around town and living comfortably in a garage. The light blue paint sparkled in the sunlight. The cargo space is just as large as a van, and it’s classy and luxurious. And it’s in perfect shape, according to Ari at Master Tech Auto (a Ford specialist here in town, who I highly recommend). He told me I could expect to get at least 300,000 miles out of it. It was a perfect fit!
After a few modifications to the cargo area and some spiritual cleansing (we burned some sage and said a prayer, which I’ve never done, but it seemed prudent in this case), it was ready to start hauling it’s new precious cargo.
One important detail remained. Signage. I always wanted my own superhero car. Batman had the batmobile, ghostbusters had Ecto-1. This was going to be my crime fighting (or oxidized, flaking, dirty canvas fixing, etc.) mobile! I collaborated with my new neighbor, Peter Tengler of Artman Productions. He is Santa Fe’s top sign maker. He thinks about things in every way except inside the box. He was excited to help me come up with a dynamic, classy, and tasteful way of decorating the car to help me promote my business. I couldn’t be happier with the result! He took Kelli Abeyta’s (my brilliant and talented graphic designer) logo and integrated it with the design of the car. It looks like the car was made like this.
So I’m the art restorer who drives a hearse around Santa Fe. If you see me coming wave hello! Starting my own business has been so exciting and fun. The more you think outside the box the more you end up in places you never imagined. The response to my hearse has been incredible. People absolutely love it. Thank you Bob, Ari, Peter, Kelli, Hayley and Santa Fe!