Today, snapping a quick picture is easier than ever. Camera rolls are filled with thousands of photos, many of which are completely insignificant (hello photos of powerpoint slides that will never be seen again). Pictures no longer hold the sentimental value they used to hold, nor represent people’s special moments— Paintru is here to change that. 

Paintru is a company that aims to “offer museum quality artwork at a revolutionary price, while reconnecting people with their favorite images.” 

At surface level, the premise seems simple. Customers have the ability to choose one of their favorite photos, upload it to Paintru, and receive a beautiful painting in a couple of weeks. 

Brendan Aronson (WG ‘20), one of the founders of Paintru, tells the story of how the company came to be. One of his co–founders, J.D. Kameen, was looking for a very special gift for his wife. He wanted to commission a piece of artwork based on one of their photos together. He went to an art gallery, only to find that the process would take months and it had an associated price of up to $2000.

“It was just this antiquated buying process which wasn’t really what he as a millennial consumer is used to,” Aronson says. 

Based on this experience, Paintru was born. Today, the company’s social media accounts have made it one of the largest art communities, specifically on Instagram, where it has over 455,000 followers. 

The company focuses on eliminating all of the pain points that Kameen went through as he was trying to commission the piece for his wife. 

“The process is extremely simple, it starts with you picking out your favorite photo, you can submit one photo for us to expertly hand paint, or we can combine multiple photos for you,” Aronson says. “[Then] there’s a handful of options to select on our online check–out page, so choosing between different mediums. We can do artwork in oil, watercolor, or acrylic. Choose your sizing, then framing options, and then you check out just like a normal online buying experience.”

Once the order has been placed, customers receive a draft of their painting through email in 10 to 14 days, which they have an opportunity to revise. And in only three to four weeks, customers will have a beautiful memory at their home for a price range of $185 up to $655 total. 

More than providing this service quickly, Paintru’s goal is to be able to create timeless and precious gifts for people. 

“I think that art has a special ability to tell a story in a way that pictures really can’t, so it’s been really fun to be a part of that process and help immortalize some of people’s favorite memories in artwork,” Aronson says. 

Sravya Vishnubhatla (WG ‘22), who is currently interning at the company, mentions that Paintru truly focuses on making these moments special and creating a sense of community, both internally and externally. She mentions that, as an incoming MBA student at Wharton, she has gotten access to the community way before stepping foot on campus. Additionally, Paintru has also focused on making an impact in the Philadelphia community as a whole, especially in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement. 

“Paintru has been involved in commissioning work for things that are very much happening on the ground in Philadelphia and across the nation. So it’s awesome to see a company, a small startup, that spins out from just an idea or a need that someone had that now is having an impact on a very community–wide and nation–wide scale,” Vishnubhatla says. 

Paintru has been active in creative artwork that is relevant to the movement. When the protests in support of BLM started in Philly, a photo started circulating of two newlyweds, Dr. Kerry Anne Gordon and Michael Gordon, who got married during one of these protests.

Vishnubhatla writes on a Paintru blog post, “Photos and videos of the event went viral, turning the newlyweds into a symbol of Black love and hope.” The couple’s reverend, Reverend Roxy, decided to work with Paintru to commission a painting that commemorated the “empowering moment that happened on their special day.”

Photo courtesy of Paintru. 

About their involvement in this special moment, Aronson says, “we were trying to figure out what the right way to get involved in the movement is and we realized we have this incredible ability to use artwork to capture the Zeitgeist of the moment. It felt like such an uplifting and positive thing to come from this moment and we wanted to provide the couple with a really nice gift.” 

Paintru as a whole is committed to creating a sense of community. Both Aronson and Vishnubhatla express how incredible the team dynamic has been, with Vishnubhatla saying that “the Paintru team has been a great support system, for people who I have never met in person, I feel like I know them really well and I will have their help always.” 

With this sentiment, Aronson expresses the importance of community during times like these, “I want to emphasize that any students who are left high and dry or are looking for a startup in which they can dig their teeth into, like an actual real world business problem, we want to support them as well.” During a time in which students may be going through hardships, some related to finding professional opportunities, Aronson says Paintru will always be ready to respond with an “absolutely, of course, I don’t care what it takes, we will try and help you as best we can because we are a community that cares about each other.”

By truly creating this sense of community, both within the team and beyond, Paintru has been able to create a company that cares about its customers—providing a service that allows them to immortalize some of their favorite moments.