Monday, May 28, 2012

The Dynamic Surtex, NSS and ICFF Shows! ...And Now, What's Next?

Colorful cookies based on one of
my designs - handed out at the show!
It was a great show! It was so much fun and amazing to meet up with artists and agents from around the country - I got to meet many of you, which I think was the highlight of my trip!

The aisles between the colorful booths were bustling with people, licensing artists who were happily ready to present their new fabulous work, focused manufacturers looking for specific and novelty artwork, and curious but respectful newbies pondering whether they should be exhibiting next year. Free and paid seminars were delivered in different locations while monitors in the Cafe area advertised all sorts of design styles and new concepts.

The Surtex staff were also busy taking care of everyone and doing a great job. And finally the Press - The Moon from My Attic was also present amongst those walking the floor, and was very active in setting up interviews and sharing insights with many smiling faces, including the four finalist students of the annual Surtex-sponsored student design competition, who were all awaiting for their designs to be judged by a panel of licensing experts.  Check out Designext 2012 link for the winner!

Surtex 2012 Designext Finalists

I will be publishing post-Surtex interviews for the next couple of months to give the opportunity to many emerging and established artists to share their own stories about the show and their passion for art. My agent, Montage Licensing, was very happy about the outcome of the three days there and was in fact so busy talking to clients that I could barely chat with her when I went by the booth. Time will tell, as follow-ups are just as important as the concentrated frenzy of the show, but we can all hope for the best.

My own impressions of the show: as I talked to many, some were very happy, while some were not as pleased but everyone seemed to enjoy the meetings with manufacturers that were diligently set up before the show started. So this is one thing I learned over again - it's important to set up your appointments before the show as opposed to waiting for some unspecified walk-in to show up at your booth.

Some booths were spectacular, so well planned and set up. Cheers to many of you who went the extra mile to display your work!  You can see pictures of some exhibitors who have shared their booth displays through their blogs, through the official Surtex site, or as part of some of the interviews I'll be publishing in the coming months.

The other important piece of information from the show, in my view, is that the National Stationary Show adjacent to the Surtex area was also jammed with people and manufacturers - it was interesting to watch the stationary show exhibitors crossing over to shop for new art, while licensing artists were crossing over to pick up the pulse of new trends and products. I wish there was a way to evaluate that exchange of energy and information flow, as it is potentially one of the most dynamic aspects of Surtex I believe. It seemed very engaged this year.

As for trends, I am not an expert but my opinion is that brighter colors were showing up a little bit everywhere, especially the warm tones in connection to neutrals like grays and browns - I had noticed this trend coming in from Europe last year, which was confirmed in a very well hosted free seminar by French designer Emmanuelle Linard with Edelkoort, Inc. Yellow is the new pink, she mentioned, and green/eco design is also a growing trend she talked about which I saw very clearly in all three shows (Surtex, NSS and ICFF). Although not a new one, it is definitely gaining even more prominence and strength.

The large growth of vendors providing letterpress printing services is another example that illustrates a trend that has been emerging for some time now and more explicitly could be described as the return to hand made crafts, an alternative in-touch-with-nature life style assisted by high-tech futuristic technologies of tomorrow. I noticed, for example, that laser-cut, lace-like techniques are being applied by some start-up vendors to numerous products such as stationary and cards and other commercial products, which illustrates how artisanal handmade and high tech collaborative concepts can be turned into appealing products for the mass market.

From the International Stationary Show, 2012
Other trends spotted at the shows are the ever classic retro and vintage ones, as well as designing with words. Still strong and fun, they seem to be the favorites of many artists.

Finally, the one trend I personally love and favor is the hand drawn-illustration style of artwork, which is showing up everywhere. Many companies had this type of art as a background to their displayed products in the NSS but this style is also everywhere in the artwork of many artists. Not to say that flat-digital art isn't still a strong design look, but it is nicely balanced by the counter-trend of the DYI-hand drawn and primitive art. Again the handmade and natural ethos comes to life here.

So what's next after Surtex?

Follow-ups are key to all involved with the shows, so this is on the top of my list. In my next blog post I will give a few more details on specific trends I think are closer to my heart, including colors, shapes, home textiles and furniture. I will also add that there will be a special editorial sometime soon with a manufacturer and art director who have been very instrumental in sharing their side of the story as art licensing is concerned. So we'll cover the field from all fronts.

I advise you to read all the other blogs that are covering the 2012 Surtex/NSS shows as well, since multiple views are invaluable to help you get an overall idea of what's going on. Since we have such mix of trends and concepts, you can pick the one you feel is closest to your heart and art style!

I want to thank several of the artists and friends we met, including Montage Licensing's teamCathy Heck Studio, Sue Zipkin, Lance Klass' team, Eriko Maeda, the DANG! gals, Carol Van Zandt, Iza Pearl, Paul Brent, Marilyn MacGregor, Lilla RogersChris Reed, Tamara Holland, Jennifer Castoldi, Karen Harris, and Linadona Botanical to mention a few, as well as many others who made time to say hi or agreed to be interviewed. 

Finally, after the massive input and impressions I received while at the show I decided to just get some fresh air and see a little bit of NYC. I picked a walk down the High Line Park and really enjoyed it! Interestingly, the park rather exemplifies the trend towards a high-tech solution that incorporates vintage elements with a back-to-nature ethic. Here are some images from the stroll along this beautiful elevated green path, not too far from the Javitz Center. What a treat, and what a great way to end a fantastic trip to New York!

The High Line's busiest resident - © 2012 Paul Stout
Best views of New York - on the High Line  © 2012 Paul Stout

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Surtex Show 2012!

Well, it's 2 days until show time! Surtex 2012 begins on Sunday. This will be my last post until after the show, but I will try to tweet thoughts and impressions from the floor. You can follow them at #MoonFromMyAttic.

Best of luck to everyone on having a successful show!

My Surtex Press Kits

My Surtex press kits

My Spoonflower fabric and promo piece

Sample swatch attached to promo piece

My mini tearsheet matching my collection tearsheet

My business card and "bird" clip matching collection theme

The back of the my press kit

25 press kits ready for placement in the Surtex press room!

  My Surtex Portfolio Collection Sample
How I Did it

My hand painted artwork

My artwork manipulated in PS and put into repeats,
with coordinates and into final collection + product mockups
My design binder for presentation to manufacturers

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Below are promotional Surtex images
from all previously featured artists:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Montage Licensing Team goes to Surtex!

Surtex show count-down: 3 days left, it's almost show time!

And while at Surtex, the nation's leading licensed art and design expo, be sure to stop by the Montage Licensing booth #464 to meet Kimberly Montgomery, Montage's owner, operator and a licensed artist herself – with a 25-year track record. Kimberly started Montage Licensing to fill a niche she felt was missing from the industry – a licensing firm for artists, by an artist that blends in-depth licensing experience with fine art know-how.

Fast forward just over a year, and Kimberly and Montage are a hot commodity. Montage currently represents more than a dozen artists and has successfully negotiated contracts with dozens of greeting card, paper product, gift and decorative item manufacturers on behalf of these artists.

As a longtime licensed artist herself, Kimberly has the experience to recognize top-notch art that’s ready for the commercial market, and the business savvy to negotiate profitable agreements between manufacturers and the artists she represents.

Kimberly also offers consulting services at an affordable hourly rate to act as a "guide on the side" for artists who are new to the licensing industry. Under Montage's consulting program, artists receive portfolio reviews, constructive critiques, guidance on their work and common-sense advice about navigating the art licensing business.

So stop by and say "hi" to Kimberly while at Surtex. It will be a positive – and profitable – connection! And check out what the excitement's all about by visiting

The Montage Licensing Team at Surtex 2012!

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Below are promotional Surtex images 
from all previously featured artists:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Special Surtex 2012 Series – Exhibiting Artists

Surtex show count-down: 4 days left! The parade of beautiful and inspiring promos from exhibiting artists has been an amazing show in itself and I am very honored to have sponsored this series for all of them. A round of applauses for the next four artists: Cindy Ann, Booth 650; Jennifer Nilsson, represented by Art Licensing, Int'l. at Booth 507-509; Jen Killeen, represented by Roaring Brook Art at Booth 537; and Joy Ting Charde, represented by Pink Light Design, Booth 317 and 416.

Booth 650
contact: Cindy Ann

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Booth 507-509

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Booth 537

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Booths 317 and 416
contact: Mary Beth at Pink Light Design

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Below are promotional Surtex images 
from all previously featured artists:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Special Surtex 2012 Series – Exhibiting Artists

Surtex show count-down: 5 days left! Wow, so much talent in one spot and what an amazing variety of ideas and styles! And to add to the list of exhibiting artists below you can find four more that will either be represented or will directly showcase their work: photographer Dianne Woods, represented by Montage Licensing at Booth 464; freelancer illustrator Cheryl Phelps, who will also deliver licensing workshops while in NYC, at booth 668 (DANG); decorative designer Beth Grove, represented by Wild Apple Licensing at Booths 609, 611, 6013 & 615; and architect and interior designer Karen Harris at Booth 659.

Booth 464

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Booth 668
contact: Cheryl Phelps

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Booths 609, 611, 613 & 615
contact: Wild Apple Licensing

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Booth 659
contact: Karen Harris

Monday, May 14, 2012

Special Surtex 2012 Series – Exhibiting Artists

Surtex show count-down: 6 days left! Today's Surtex promotions are very, very colorful and fun - three wonderful ladies with such beautiful sense of design, it's a pleasure to see their uplifting work!

Veteran artist Sue Zipkin, Booth 513; Barbara Lanza at Enchanting Design, Booth 630; and Janet Broxon, represented by Suzanne Cruise Creative, Booth 502/504.

Booth 513
contact: Sue Zipkin

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Booth 630 
contact: Barbara Lanza

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Booth 502/504

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Special Surtex 2012 Series – Exhibiting Artists

There are 7 days to the show and here we have more beautiful pieces of promotion from exhibiting artists – many have sent in their best wishes for a successful show, so I want to pass them on to all of you!

For the next few days I'll show three artists' promotions to be able to include you all before Surtex: photographer Dianne Poinski debuts with beautiful hand painted images, Booth 464; Leigh Hannan exhibits with distinctive style and memorable designs, Booth 466; and Lucinda Wei enchants with simple, elegant and playful artwork, Booth 557.

Booth 464
contact: Kimberly - Montage Licensing

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Booth 466
contact: Leigh Hannan

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Booth #557
contact: Lucinda Wei

Friday, May 11, 2012

Special Surtex 2012 Series – Exhibiting Artists

It has been almost a year since I first walked the Surtex show in 2011. I had just gotten into licensing then and I was still trying to figure out what it was all about. I didn't have a style of design fully worked out and had no collections even started. After going through the show, seeing so much talent and talking to so many friendly artists, I had a clear idea that I was going to be exhibiting this year. Thanks to all of you who encouraged me to do it!

And speaking of very friendly artists, meet both Mindy Sommers - she'll exhibiting through her agent at Booth 507/509 - and Beverly Dyer, Booth 574.

Booth 507/509

Booth 574
contact: Beverly Dyer

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Special Surtex 2012 Series – Exhibiting Artists

I started a Surtex count-down, just for fun; it's exciting! We have 10 days to the show and so much left to be done – I don't know about you, but I am a little bit on edge, getting my 20+ press kits done in addition to the binders and what not...but I am also looking forward to meeting many of you who will go to the show, to just walk it or to exhibit!

To continue in style with this special Surtex series, here are two artists who share inspirational words. Sharyn Sowell will be exhibiting in Booth 645 and doing demos whenever she's not showing her portfolio; attorney and artist Tamara Holland will debut at the show and you'll find her designs at Booth 464, represented by Montage Licensing.

Booth 645
contact: Sharyn Sowell

Booth 464
contact: Kimberly at Montage Licensing

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Special Surtex 2012 Series – Exhibiting Artists

In preparation for Surtex I've been printing the final tearsheets for the past few days...some 40 + collections all together, with an average of four designs per collection, so lots of paper and ink! But they are turning out rather nicely, so I think I'm now ready for the final assembly of the presentation binders. I'll share with you a couple of pictures once it's a full wrap.

I am sure that my friend Carol Van Zandt is also working away, getting ready for her second exhibiting year at Surtex, Booth 327. And so is Caleb Gray, Caleb Gray Studio, at Booth 340.

Booth 327
contact: Carol Van Zandt

Booth 340
contact: Caleb Gray

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Special Surtex 2012 Series – Exhibiting Artists

According to Penny Sikalis, VP Surtex, on May 21, Monday evening between 6-7pm there will be an informal reception for exhibitors and press at the Javits Center, so everyone can meet up at the end of the day. More details will be announced later on this week, so stay tuned!

Here are two newbies like me, who will also debut at Surtex in two weeks: Artist Ellie Record, represented by Montage Licensing, Booth 464, and Artist Denise Tedeschi, represented by Suzanne Cruise - Cruise Creative, Booth 502/504.

Booth 464
contact: Kimberly at Montage Licensing

Booth 502/504

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Special Surtex 2012 Series – Exhibiting Artists

The (super) moon was a fantastic view last night - I hope you'll enjoy this nice photo of it, from my attic!

More and more artists are asking to be featured here so I am going to double up the images for the next couple of weeks leading up to when Surtex will start. It seems like Christmas and Winter Season art is a sought after category even though we are just getting a taste of summer.

Here are fun and colorful promo pieces from two experienced art licensing artists:

Patti Gay, Patti Gay Design represented by JMS Art Licensing, at Booth 636, and Follow the Magic by Pamela Bishop at Booth 630.

Booth 636

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Booth 630
contact: Pamela