Your Toy Portrait

American Made Since 2009

Jennifer Maher

Ballston Spa, New York
Painting custom portraits of your beloved toys, archiving their unique stories.

Tell us about your business.

I'm a fine artist in Upstate New York specializing in custom portraits of favorite toys. A toy portrait is an affordable investment in a child's appreciation of art and design, and my paintings are intended to transfer easily from nursery walls to any art collection. My website serves as a gallery and an archive for each toy's unique, quirky story. I started Your Toy Portrait in 2009 so that I could work at home while caring for my daughter Sonja, who now paints and draws right along beside me! Over the past four years I've made portraits for the likes of Bethenny Frankel, Heather Armstrong, and more than 400 others. A custom toy portrait makes an easy, fun, and practical gift as my turnaround is usually less than two weeks! Each painting is fitted with a complimentary wood frame hand-built by my husband. My etsy shop is stocked with prints of my paintings of classic and vintage toys -- terrific nursery decor!

What makes your business stand out?

A portrait of a beloved toy is an unusual and deeply personal gift that I am determined to make accessible and affordable to everyone. The story of the relationship between the toy and its owner is integral to my working process and then carefully archived on my website. My hope is that the painting becomes a sort of symbolic portrait of the child (or adult) who loves the toy. The idea of a symbolic portrait has led to my painting many "family portraits," in which each family member is represented by his or her favorite toy.

What's the best business advice you've received?

"It takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field." -- Malcolm Gladwell . Nose to the grindstone!

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