Bringing color and fun to an otherwise commercial area of Ahwatukee Foothills is a family business for the van Arkens.
For years Carmina, Peter and their kids, Andreas and Desiree, have been traveling all over painting murals or window graphics for businesses and individuals in the area through their company, Hope’s Graphics. In the past eight years since they’ve come to Arizona they’ve created murals for Bell Italia, Niros Gyros, Malinda’s Pampered Pets, Tukees and many more area businesses. Most recently, they created window art for A Step Ahead Preschool and Montessori in Ahwatukee.
“As you drive by this small plaza you would see a more commercial tone to the whole building,” said Aram Sayadi, who recently purchased the preschool. “It certainly is a building that goes back to the late ’90s so road signs and monuments in our situation here had not been given enough importance. As a result, we don’t have that much exposure. As someone drives by you see a couple of restaurants because they are in the front suites, but the back suites are based on previous knowledge.
“We are a nonprofit here and whatever revenue we have we want to put it back into the school and the academics. We’ve never had the kind of monetary flexibility to build expensive neon signs or monument signs… We decided to do something for the windows to indicate this was a place for children.”
A Step Ahead requested children of the world to be painted on its windows. Sayadi says the figures are a good representation of the children on the school’s roster, and he’s been pleased with the outcome and the way it makes children and parents feel when they drive up.
The van Arkens said their business is based on taking what’s inside a building and projecting it onto the facade. That way in the short amount of time it takes people to pass by, they know exactly what the business is.
Hope’s Graphics began in 1993 in Oregon when Carmina was looking for a job she could do while still taking care of their young kids. Throughout the years the business has grown and when her husband, Peter, lost his marketing job over a year ago because of downsizing, he began helping out full time. Now, the couple and their two youngest all work together. Andreas starts by laying the foundation for the piece. Carmina and Desiree sketch the design and decide on colors, and the whole family paints and covers the final product with a sealant so that the window can be washed without washing away the art. The end result is customized art that tells everyone all about the business in just a glance. During tough times it’s been a big benefit to businesses in Ahwatukee.
“The clients love it,” said Malinda Malone, owner of Malinda’s Pampered Pets. “It’s so bright, it just catches their eye. They always say it’s just such a homey feeling. It just brightens the whole place up.”
Hope’s Graphics doesn’t just help businesses attract customers. They also do murals, face painting, posters, seasonal graphics and special events.
Carmina said she realizes they may never become millionaires with this business, but that working together has brought their family closer and it’s something they all enjoy, not just because they get to be creative but they get to promote someone else’s business as well.
“I think it helps the community,” Peter said. “We want to help promote, work together, and support one another. It’s really important to help and strengthen one another. These are our God-given talents and this is what we’ve got to work with.”
For more information on the company or to schedule a consultation, visit www.hopesgraphics.webs.com or call (480) 580-4173.
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