Barbara K. Balkin — founder of Artkin, artist | designer | teacher.
The Goal — Artkin’s goal is to make it easy and fun for you and your loved ones to create original art together. Live your dream of giving the best gift ever, at the same time making memories that you will treasure for years to come!
Art should be an experience, not just something pretty to look at. It can be experienced alone or with others. Art creates connections — connections are good for the soul.
Try Artkin, because precious time with family and friends enriches your life. You deserve it!
The Beginning — A Fundraising Success
Teaching elementary art and fundraising for school art auctions has been some of my most gratifying work. As fundraising became a critical part of keeping school programs alive, the journey began with the joy and challenge of working as a volunteer, creating group art projects for annual fundraising events. It was so satisfying to see my group projects generate thousands of dollars.
The most popular (and dollar generating) projects were always my colorful group canvas designs that incorporated a repeat ‘Andy Warhol style’ motif. I chose oil pastels because they were easy for any age to handle, and the colors were so rich.
Students had so much fun creating their own ‘block’ of art. The atmosphere was always festive, with lots of ‘Hey, look at mine!’ The proud look on their faces when they saw their art blocks mounted on canvas a few days later was worth a million bucks. With the help of an amazing team of parent volunteers, one school raised $15,000 the first year and $30,000 the second!
My entrepreneurial self was screaming, ‘I want to turn this into a business and help everyone make art together. What an unbelievable keepsake gift this would make for family and friends!’ I love the ‘party’ feeling of fun and friendship while creating art together, creating a memory-making experience. These are their actual, original ‘brush strokes’ I’m preserving for them! It’s so personal—Grandma, daughter and granddaughter creating art side-by-side—there is no better experience!
Curious what would happen, I took the idea and some art materials to a friend at holiday time. I asked that she create a canvas with her family and out-of-town guests. They had a BLAST! From the creating of their ‘family canvas’ to later surprising Grandma with the gift, everyone had an experience they will always remember! Check out that actual canvas right here!That clinched it, and ARTKIN was born!” —Barbara
The Creds — in a nutshell:
After earning an Interior and Environmental Design Certification from U.C.L.A., Barbara spent several years in the corporate world designing commercial interiors in Southern California. Wanting more creativity, she started her own company and retail store, B.K. Handin Designs, showcasing her original ceramic tableware.
Her ceramics have been featured several times in national publications such as Bon Appetit and Good Housekeeping magazines, as well as the L.A. Gift Mart, New York Merchandise Mart, and Dallas Market Center. Custom pieces are in private collections as far away as Hong Kong and Israel. Barbara’s work has decorated sets at Disney Studios, as well as television commercials for General Electric, Vons Markets and Kraft Foods.
In 2008, Barbara co-founded Back Gate Studio in Los Angeles, CA, eventually moving it to Boise, ID. The Studio offers families a variety of art experiences, both after school and in summer workshops.
ARTKIN was established in 2012 to provide the opportunity for everyone to create their own beautiful multi-image keepsake canvas. Artist — Designer — Teacher. (See her art here).
Real art. Real Easy. Every canvas tells a story…
what’s YOUR story?