Tri-Art Manufacturing History

Tri-Art Acrylics got their start in the mid 1990’s in the back room of a family owned art store, school and gallery in Kingston Ontario Canada. Collectively known as Art Noise, the business was operated by Steve Ginsberg along with partner April Tracey for over seven years. They specialized in unique products that were not widely accessible in Canada. Beyond the quality of their eclectic stock, Art Noise built a reputation on their expert customer service.

At this time a local artist named Chris Bogstad had recently graduated from the fine art program at a local college. He specialized in the painting techniques of the old masters, their use of colour and methods of translucent layering. Chris approached Art Noise about sourcing some specific high-end pigments to develop an oil paint that he could use in his own work.

They soon realized that newer high performance pigments that were transparent and light-permanent were not available in artist oil paint. They were able to acquire some of these pigments began milling them into an oil paint with a three-roll mill. Chris developed some colours that were truly amazing, with exceptional pigment loading and body.

Chris expressed an interest in producing a line of oil paints for Art Noise. Steve liked the idea of his own high-end product, but recognized that there were already several excellent oil lines. There were far less options for truly artists’ quality acrylic. Chris used his experience with premiere quality oil paint, and his natural talent for chemistry, and put together some very promising acrylic paint. The initial samples combined the virtues of an oil with new characteristics not previously seen in either oil or acrylic paints. Combining Chris’s formulations, April’s artistic sensibilities and Steve’s insight into the wants and needs of the modern artist, they developed a line of cutting edge products.

Excited by the results, they began production on a small scale in the store. As sales representatives discovered the product, and artists started to paint with it, the scale of the potential impact became clear. It was at this time, in 1994, that Tri-Art Manufacturing Incorporated was formed. “Tri” referring to the three partners at the time: Steve Ginsberg, Chris Bogstad, and April Tracey.

With the signing on of their first distributor, they got bank loan to finance the original factory. At 2,000 square feet, 40 times the space in the back of the art store, the operation seemed enormous. Starting with one employee, Chris and Steve did all the paint production, filling, cleaning, labelling and packing for the first year. In the ensuing 6 years the company grew, expanding to over 8,000 square feet with up to 12 employees. In the summer of 2004 Tri-Art moved into its own space, 24,0000 square feet on three acres of land and as many as forty-two people working at any given time.

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