Submissions, submissions, submissions. I have been working on several proposals and it has been fun and surprising how much I've learned by doing this; focusing on specific product categories has made me figure out the best way to utilize design elements, colors and layouts and improve my work overall. So I advise all newbies to try this out.
Research out several manufacturers that are a match for your art and carefully read their submission guidelines. Then create collections based on their specifications, if any. Do this a few times and you'll suddenly find yourself with many new collections ready to be shopped around!
|Artist Kim Gann|
Creating submissions tailored for potential clients is a an enjoyable aspect of this job and it is also a thrill to meet so many fun and friendly artists at trade shows. At Surtex this past May, for example, we had a good time with our entertaining and super-nice neighbors. I will publish each one of them in a near future. This week I'm happy to start with artist Kim Gann. She had a corner booth across from ours and it didn't take very long before we started helping each other out.
The Moon from My Attic: What made you want to become an artist? Art is me! I have drawn, painted, crafted and taught art for many years. My new venture in art is Licensing, with iPad and Kindle cases available this fall and fabric coming out in March 2014.
|© Kim Gann|
TMFMA: What's exciting about what you create? The most exciting thing to me is that nothing is ever the same. The chickens take on their own individual personas, they are just one big happy family.
The Flying Sweetly Series (see below) begins with rich colors painted like an abstract all over the canvas before the flowers and butterflies are outlined and encircled with wispy whites and teals. The Pink Oranges is the most intuitive line. They begin with yellows, oranges and reds tossed across the canvas, then I flip and turn the painting looking for something to pop out. Usually, I find birds and trees. These take the longest to complete but are the most gratifying.
TMFMA: What medium(s) do you use to create your art? Why did you choose it? Most of my art is created with acrylics. I love the quick drying time, the forgiveness, and the texture of acrylics. Sometimes I create with liquid acrylics. As long as I can get a bright color...I'll use it.
|© Kim Gann|
TMFMA: How would you describe the art you create? My art is bright, colorful and whimsical. It makes people happy. It's always such a nice compliment when I see smiles pop up on people's faces as they look at my art.
TMFMA: Is there something that inspires you to create art? I find inspiration every where I look. My husband inspires me with ideas everyday - mainly he points out what my art should be on. My family is always giving me ideas for The Chicken Coop Series. I try not to look at other art for inspiration because I have such a desire to create my own without being influenced by others. I painted landscapes for years and was always compared to Bob Ross with my happy little trees. Now I create my own whimsical, fun art.
TMFMA: How do you hope your art makes people feel? I hope it brings joy to their heart and a smile to their face. I hope it puts them in a happy place.
|© Kim Gann|
TMFMA: Can you tell us about your art licensing journey? My journey into licensing began in February 2012 when I read about this show in New York called Surtex. I emailed about it and received a call to let me know they had a place for me, so I jumped in. I had 10 weeks to get ready. I read everything I could to find out how to set up my booth and what to take. The show was great, I created a little book with contacts of interest then dropped the ball when I got home. Before the 2013 show I discovered the key to a successful show is follow-up. This year was even better with a contract with P&B Textiles.
|© Kim Gann|
To further my knowledge of Licensing I signed up for Make Art That Sells with Lilla Rogers. I learned some of the keys to help break into several markets such as Gift, Wall Art, Home Decor and Textile. Throughout the five weeks I have a start on five new collections expanding my portfolio in directions I may have never gotten into. I learned how to look for trends in a not so pricey way and heard from leaders in the markets on how they discover new artists and what they prefer for submissions.
I also worked with Licensing Coach Deb Eiseman who gave me the tools to be my own agent. I am now licensed with two companies and talking with several others in partyware, needlecraft, 3-D sculptures, flags and other gift items. Look for the Autumn edition of GreenCraft Magazine, where I have an article on recycling old lamps. My goal is to eventually be Licensed worldwide with my own brand. Why dream small?!
|© Kim Gann|
TMFMA: What advice would you give to someone new to this industry? Research the markets you are interested in and find the companies that manufacture items your art would be a good fit for. Follow their submission form. Get in front of their face without being in their face. The secret ingredient is continual submission, every 2-3 weeks. Show them your new art. Be respectful! If they turn you down, thank them for looking and ask if you can send new work for review in the future.
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