Monday, February 20, 2012

Art that is Pretty Darn Cute – Artist Laurel Nathanson


If you had asked me a month ago what a flag is, I'd have said they were things that fly above governmental institutions or the United Nations. Now, though, I know they are also a large industry that caters to homeowners and cover a large number of subjects - and thus are a great potential market for art licensing. In fact, I've put together nearly a dozen new flag designs myself in the last two weeks!

Artist Laurel Nathanson
On another art licensing note, artist Laurel Nathanson shares with us her story today - she grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Oakland to go to art school many years ago, and now Oakland is her home, forever and ever.

"In college and grad school I studied jewelry and metalsmithing and I currently teach this and more at an amazing high school in San Francisco. When I am not at school, I am working on my fine art, my new business called Lolo's Laboratory, and on my soon to be career as a surface designer." She also explains her style and themes – "my art has always been very whimsical, wacky and heavily influenced by youth culture such as graffiti, comics, vintage toys, games and patterns.

© Laurel Nathanson
My work is pretty darn cute, but with a bit of an edge. No matter what materials I am working in, I think my work is very unified by my colorful and distinct style."

After 20 years of being a craftsperson and very hands on and material driven, she has found a new love and obsession…Adobe Illustrator! "For my surface design I start with a pen line drawing which I scan and open in Illustrator. From there the possibilities are endless!"  In a million years she never thought she would be generating art on a computer, but Illustrator has changed her life. Laurel says: "How one element can be tweaked and altered in endless configurations and possibilities is so amazing and exciting. Being able to combine the hand drawing with the computer is so fun and satisfying."

© Laurel Nathanson
And what about art licensing?  Laurel says: "I learned about art licensing around two years ago from a friend who suggested I get into the field. I had never even heard of art licensing, but I researched it and joined a wonderful group in Berkeley where everybody shared so much info and insights. I pretty much knew immediately that this was my destiny!"


The more she learned she realized that the artists who she loved the most in this field all had their blogs, websites, Etsy stores, twitter followers, so much social media stuff, and she didn't even have a Facebook account. So, while learning how to use Illustrator and generating designs, she started to dive into the web. 


© Laurel Nathanson
"I started my blog, a licensing website, and an Etsy store. Since my background is as a maker, I was able to take my surface designs and make cools products with those designs. Sorta like DIY surface design and manufacturing. This has been a huge endeavor and I am still trying to figure out how to create that web presence and fan base that I think is pretty critical these days for any artist."

Laurel also added: "I envision my art to be licensed for kid and teen products, like back to school, housewares, and stationary. I would also love to eventually design for the scrapbook industry, as well as for textiles." She has a line of characters called 'My Imaginary Friends' whom she would love to see on t-shirts, cards, accessories, the works!

© Laurel Nathanson
At this point Laurel feels that her Etsy store is looking pretty good so now she is focusing her time on putting her designs into collections. "When I have a good number of collections ready, I am going to pursue looking for licensing contracts and or an agent to work with. There is simply nothing as fun as generating patterns and surface design, I could do it all day long. I can't wait to get my first contract, and then…to cover the planet in pink polka dots…"

© Laurel Nathanson

For more about Laurel, visit one of her sites:



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