From Your Camera to the Canvas

Post and Paint connects customers and artists to turn personal photos into a work of art

Photos courtesy of Post and Paint

This Post and Paint work of art forever captures the everyday dynamics between two pets.
This Post and Paint work of art forever captures the everyday dynamics between two pets.


Whether it’s the perfect vacation view or a selfie of you and your pet, you can turn your memories into works of fine art with Post and Paint. Started by Twin Cities residents Lonny and Robin Kocina, the website connects people to artists willing to interpret personal photographs into commission-level pieces.

“You walk around art fairs, and some [artists] are selling stuff, but you feel bad for them,” says Lonny, who is a classically trained commercial artist himself. “That’s a tough way to make money, too. I thought, ‘What if every painting in their booth was special to someone, like a dog or cat, or a cool car, or a child or a homestead? They’d sell out.’”

Post and Paint before and after with the image of a cat
Through Post and Paint, this photo of a cat (above) became a frame-worthy painting (below).

Lonny came up with the idea Post and Paint about five or six years ago, but because of the time required from him and his wife’s business, Kocina Marketing, they weren’t able to dive into the project as much as they wanted. Now that they’re both in their 60s and able to step back from the business a bit, they say the time is right to start again. 

How Post and Paint works is that you pay $10 to upload a photo as well as any requests and budget you have for the final piece. Any artist that’s interested in it can begin to work on it (multiple artists can work on the same photo), and Lonny says he always encourages the artists to take risks and add their own artistic style. When everything is finished, you can choose whether or not to purchase the piece, no strings attached. 

Lonny and Robin Kocina
Lonny and Robin Kocina, founders of Post and Paint

If you do purchase the work of art, Post and Paint takes 30 percent of the price as commission, and the Kocinas donate every commission and upload fee to Hands of Freedom, a nonprofit that serves people in India through education and literacy programs, economic stability programs, health services, and church plants. (Both Robin and Lonny have been involved since the organization was founded in 2008, and Robin is on the board.)

“We see it as a kind of win-win-win,” Robin says. “It’s a win for the artists, a win for the homeowners who got commissioned artwork, and then a win for the poor. Maybe we’ll lift some people’s poverty with it.”

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