Meet the Maker: Print & Pine’s Ryan Martz
Ryan Martz’s latest business endeavor is is changing the way customers can experience art.
Martz founded Fire & Pine in 2016, a South Carolina-based company known for its wood- engraved maps. Martz and his team of 25 uses laser engravers to etch custom maps in high-quality pine wood.
This May, Martz ventured into new territory by launching sister company Print & Pine. This endeavor aims to bring classic, modern and up-and-coming art to life, each piece meticulously printed with raised, layered ink on sustainably sourced pine wood.
Print & Pine’s initial inspiration came to Martz at a woodworking show when he came across a piece of machinery that is traditionally used to make faux backsplashes, wooden floors and tiles. But he saw another opportunity to put the machine to use.
“It got the wheels spinning in our mind,” Martz said. “We said, ‘What if we use this for maps or other types of products?’ What this machine allows us to do is print texture. So what that means is, it’s a huge production printer. When it lays down ink, it immediately cures it. So basically, we can lay down ink, it cures, and then we lay down ink on top of it. It builds up, almost like a 3D printer.”
Thus, Print & Pine was born, with the goal to use the printing technology to create custom, unique art pieces on the pine wood that is already sourced through its sister company. By delicately layering the ink, Print & Pine’s technique lifts the artistic strokes off its canvas, aiming to capture the dynamic essence of original brushwork, according to the company. This method is designed to allow people to physically engage with the artwork, feeling the depth and texture of each stroke, Martz said.
The ultimate goal of Print & Pine is to bring art to life in the way the artist originally intended coupled with the quality and weight of the wood base — and at an affordable price.
“Our intention [is to] provide that type of experience to a customer,” Martz said. “Instead of just a flat print on canvas or paper stock, we have a big, hearty board with a painting that you can feel and touch the brushstrokes of — but at a super reasonable price. That’s what we set out to do.”
Print & Pine has printed famous artworks such as the Girl with a Pearl Earring painting by Johannes Vermeer. But it also looks to partner with budding artists as a way to showcase their work and bring it to the community in a tangible way.
“We’re partnering with up-and- coming artists, whether they’re local to our area or just really anywhere worldwide,” Martz said. “We’re going to have featured artists on a regular basis. It is going to allow them to get some pretty good exposure, offer their artwork on our wood with our technology, and to be able to get their cool work into people’s homes.”
Each month, Martz plans to offer a new genre of artwork at Print & Pine to develop its product collection. And each week within the month, the company will offer a subcategory of art for that month’s genre.
“Let’s just say hypothetically, next month, we did sheet music, where we put sheet music on a piece of wood, and you can actually feel the sheet music,” Martz explained. “Week 1 could be rock songs — like 10 rock songs — and Week 2 could be 10 jazz songs, et cetera. We’re going to keep on building our collection up that way and keep it fresh.”
Sustainability is a key pillar of both Print & Pine and its sister company. Martz has committed to producing all products on pine, a renewable natural resource.
Additionally, for every tree used in production, the companies replant five trees, and Martz installed a solar array in 2022 to work toward net neutrality.
“By investing in solar energy, we’re not only reducing our environmental impact but also setting a positive example for businesses and residents in the region,” Martz said. “We’ve already seen significant savings on our energy bills, reinforcing our belief that solar power is not just viable but also beneficial in the long run.”