I have now blogged for almost two months about my adventures in the art licensing field. I've been reading up on blogs, following forums, going to local licensing meetings, and also networking with several helpful and friendly artists who have shared with me some of their experiences. I'll continue to publish their advice, tips & tricks as part of my new series of editorials called Art Licensing Tips & Tricks - the first article came out a couple of days ago in case you missed it.
It appears that two major underlying threads to be successful in this profession are creating art for products and research. Whether one decides to have an agent or venture alone into the industry, it seems that those two factors are key. And this is also what our talented guest artist Bambi Papais tells us today.
|Artist Bambi Papais|
The Moon from My Attic: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your art? I've had an interest in art as long as I can remember. As a child, I remember coloring and doodling as a big part of growing up. Through the years, art has always been a part of my life. I started painting with watercolors in the early eighties and have continued with it ever since. I'm basically self taught with a handful of workshops over the years. Though I do dabble with colored pencil, acrylic and a few other mediums, I really prefer watercolor as I know it so well and I love the look you can get from it.
TMFMA: What is exciting about your creative work? Vivid color and fun patterns!! My work ranges from serious, realistic botanicals to whimsical fun crazy colored flowers with frogs. I tend to paint loads of tulips with vibrant multicolored patterns on their petals and usually a frog (maybe even a fairy) or bug hanging around. These types of paintings often make people do a double take to see what it is that is catching their eye. It might be a frog with a party hat hiding in the flowers. And the flowers aren't always your traditional colors.
|© Bambi Papais|
TMFMA: Is there a person or thing that has influenced you in your artistic efforts? What inspires you? I have several favorite artists both past and present whose work I love and have been influenced by. Even though I certainly don't paint like them, their artwork is just so delicious I hope little bits of it are imprinted in my brain for reference. There are so many good artists around, it's hard just to name a few but ... Past: Cicely Mary Barker, Kate Greenaway, Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish. And present: Daniel Merriman, Patience Brewster, Marjolein Bastin (there are tons more, but these a few off the top of my head). I'm inspired with the whimsy and the imaginary aspect that many of these artists present while still offering a realistic approach. I'm inspired by nature. I LOVE flowers and gardens and things growing. Birds and butterflies are amazing!!! A hummingbird flitting by or a shy bluebird, what a treat!
TMFMA: Tell us your experience as an art licensing artist - In the early 90's there were some trade shows called "Art Buyers Caravan." I exhibited in Southern California and San Francisco with the ABC shows. That was some good exposure at the time. Artists were just starting to get in the licensing business. About the same time a small card company licensed my work for his card line. That card company was represented at several gift shows (which was my first exposure to the Gift Show business). Though that card company is no longer in business, he had such good exposure at the time, that a larger company, Bentley Publishing Group contacted me and I worked with them for several years both in the print department and licensing. The Bentley Group acted as my agent in licensing for many years.
|© Bambi Papais|
They were able to get my work on many products such as throws, rugs, stationery, fabric, figurines, puzzles, gift bags, stitchery and other items. In working with them, they "matched" my artwork to the right manufacturers and there was always a discussion to make sure we were all in agreement. I was a guest with the Bentley Group at a licensing show at the Jacob Javits Center in New York a few years ago. It was very exciting to walk the show and see what was going on in the world of licensing. It was an eye opener to see how big the licensing business is now. It was also very gracious of them to let me be their guest! I would say if anyone was thinking about exhibiting in a trade show, go visit one first, even if you have to pay a fee it would be worth it. Exhibiting in any trade show is very costly, so do some research first. Now, since there are helpful licensing groups such as found on Linkedin, an artist can get tons of help from fellow artists for all kinds of information.
|© Bambi Papais|
TMFMA: What would be your most fundamental advice to new aspiring licensing artists? Keep researching and reading (oh, and creating, too). There is so much good information out there. Persevere!! Trends come and go, don't get hurt when they go, be ready for the next something good around the corner.
TMFMA: What are your future aspirations and goals? It was a wonderful experience to work with the Bentley Publishing Group but I have decided to give it a try on my own. Sooo ... if the right agent came along ... I don’t know ... maybe. Even though I am not actually new at this, I feel new due to the fact that I'm trying it on my own. We’ll see and I'm very excited. I have some great opportunities happening!!!