A few months ago I was drinking beer with a friend discussing the idea of getting a custom oil painting made in Asia with my face in it to hang in my living room. There are great artist in Indonesia, Vietnam, etc, that will do great oil painting based on your pictures for ridiculously low sums of money. I thought I should try it once for myself, and then build a business making ironic or plain kick-ass painting based on people’s picture. He showed me this artist gallery featuring american presidents doing badass things: Riding dinosaurs, bears, etc. I was extremely interested in getting a painting done of me riding a t-rex gun blazing! Unfortunately I got busy with other stuff and never went thru with this idea. Did not make the painting or start the business. So please steal my idea and make it happen because the world needs more oil paintings of dinosaurs.
The business model
Select a dozen of cool or ironic paintings, make website explaining that you can get this painting with your face on it for $199. Total cost to produce would probably be around $30 for the artist, $20 for the shipping. This leaves about $150 of margin. I would hire painters using odesk, elance, etc.
How I would market this business
This business has a big viral potential. People will want to share their cool t-rex-riding-gun-shooting painting on facebook, instagram, twitter, etc. I would start by offering surprise paintings to popular bloggers. Odds are they’ll be all too pleased to post about it on their blog. This should give a ton of free exposure and get some sales rolling. Once sales roll in I would make sure customers get a good quality picture of their painting with social sharing buttons to make it easy for them to broadcast their awesome painting.
Edit: turns out someone is doing something very similar!