Monday, September 24, 2012

Spirituality and Art Licensing - Artist Jennifer Parker


Motivational art and inspirational quotes are all over the paper & gift industry. People buy them as they seem to identify themselves in some form or another, or just simply to fill their own need to express similar emotions and feelings. Spirituality is one of the many sources for inspirational images and phrases. I am pleased to introduce this week Jennifer Parker, whose "deepening interest in spirituality" as she mentions below has been her way into licensing – I met Jennifer at a local meeting in Berkeley, CA. and her graphics skills and sense of design struck me as quite remarkable. She is a professional and fun person to collaborate with.

Artist Jennifer Parker
The Moon from My Attic: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your art? Thank you for the opportunity to share my story, Alex. I live and work in beautiful Mill Valley with my cat, Sadie. My vintage style evolved while I was designing for John Grossman's Victorian ephemera collection at The Gifted Line. That evolution continued at Punch Studio, where I spent nearly eight years as the Northern California Art Director. In 2003, inspired by personal travel stories and a deepening interest in spirituality, I began creating mixed media artwork and assemblages. My goal was to find a commercial market for these heartfelt creations. Seven years later, in 2010, these creations became the foundation for my career in art licensing.

Today, I find inspiration – and valuable resources – from copyright-free images that I stumble upon at flea markets and fairs; natural or found objects such as discarded pieces of furniture or old books; and ephemera which I've purchased locally around the country or traveling abroad.

I love texture, depth, and detail—for example, I incorporate my own photographs of rustic walls, architecture, and wood grains for background texture. Sometimes I stitch an empowering message into my design tapestry. If you'd like to learn more about my creative and professional journey, you can read my blog.

TMFMA: What is exciting about your creative work? I love variety! I enjoy the process and freedom of exploring a wide range of layouts, themes, and color palettes. My Juniper Trail line of greeting cards manufactured by Potluck Press is an eclectic mix of vintage art with layers of textures and details. The designs are similar to an Anthropologie store—nothing matches, but everything works together as a collection.

TMFMA: Is there a person or thing that has influenced you in your artistic efforts? What inspires you? I'm inspired by nature, Bohemian fashion, and weathered "things." I am also drawn to found objects, world textiles, exotic travel, and sacred places. I can think of two artists who have made a significant impression in my life. In 1991, I worked at a stationery store called Bon Papier in Sacramento. There, I resonated with Mary Engelbriet's inspirational quotes. I admired how brilliantly she told a story in her greeting cards. During that same year, I fell in love with Nick Bantock's collage postcard artwork and his Griffin & Sabine stories. In addition, I attended my first trade show in Los Angeles when I was 19 and I felt a strong pull toward the paper products industry.

TMFMA: Tell us of your experience as a licensing artist. After many years working as an employee in the industry, it felt like a natural next step for me to pursue licensing. I took a leap of faith and decided to learn everything I could about licensing — without an agent. I submitted my art to manufacturers and reviewed my contracts with a lawyer and a licensing coach. I definitely faced some challenges, but in general, all the hard work has paid off. Today, my licensees include Potluck Press, Calypso Cards, Madison Park Greetings, Amber Lotus Publishing, and Kaf Home.

TMFMA: What project are you currently working on and what's exciting about it? This summer, I've been experimenting in my studio with acrylics, watercolors, and collage. I'm excited to incorporate more drawing and painting into my designs to further evolve as a visual artist.

TMFMA: What are your future aspirations and goals as an artist? I always try to stay open to opportunities that I encounter and allow my heart to guide me in the right direction. Here are some dreams: I'd love to expand my licensing business; teach art retreats in exotic locations; and design and write a book to inspire and encourage other women to follow their own passion. I'm also expanding Jennifer Parker Designs by adding a wide range of art services that I've spent many years developing. My new venture, J. Parker Consulting, will offer art direction, graphic design, production, and Photoshop training, all specifically targeted to help artists with art licensing. For more information click on my website link.


TMFMA: Any important tips and tricks you'd like to share about art licensing? I have learned first-hand that building a successful art licensing business can take patience, determination, and a lot of time and energy. I recommend securing steady work while you build your licensing portfolio. If you have a mentor, learn as much as you can from that person. Talking to other industry artists can be really helpful, too. There are many different sources of information out there, so get familiar with licensing blogs and books and join the LinkedIn licensing groups. You might want to establish a web presence through social media, too. If you decide not to use an agent, hire a lawyer or licensing coach to review all your contracts.

Most of all, be patient with yourself and with the learning process. Remember that "success" has many definitions. If you create from your heart's truth; keep moving forward when you make mistakes, experience doubt, or encounter challenges; and manage to stay inspired and have fun - that sounds a lot like success to me.


Find out more about Jennifer here:
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