Hope your summer has been fantastic so far and filled with lots of sun and fun. Here’s a soft and happy floral wallpaper for your devices to remind you that beauty is not just all around this summer but within!
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Here I am at Surtex this May! Surtex is a marketplace for artists to sell and license their work to manufacturers and was held on May 15th-17th. Back in 2013 and 2014 I exhibited with the collective, Art Licensing LA, but this year I went out on my own with my own booth. The culture, caliber of clientele, the artists and even the show hours were different than I had experienced before. I felt a whole lot of warmth, excitement and camaraderie during the show which felt like one big family reunion.
Months before the show I worked on my booth design and marketing. I started designing artwork throughout the first part of the year but due to client work I got a bit backlogged and had to focus on my clients over artwork. I found myself playing catch-up during the last 6 weeks and made a ton of art, designed my cards, finished my booth design and figured out all the last of the logistics. I wouldn’t recommend doing it this way. Plan ahead for any surprises or unexpected delays. There will be delays. Start work as early as you can. Work on your portfolio year round if possible or at least start during the holidays. Plan on finishing your artwork and make a Blurb book by early to mid April. It is important to have work that you are proud of. Your love for what you do will show through when you present your work at your booth. Make sure your work and booth design demonstrate your passion for your art.
Set up went smoothly on Saturday. You can read about my booth design and set up in Part 1. Here you can see the before and after was quite the transformation. I was really happy with the design and branding and excited to see all the moving parts come together as I hoped. Thank you, Rachele, for helping me with the booth!
Heart 2 Art Gathering
On the first night of the show Anne of Anne was Here and I hosted a gathering at the Press Lounge for our Heart 2 Art group (here we are below with Nicole Tamarin). The Press Lounge was the perfect, quintessential NY venue for our event. Perched above the city with killer views the lounge offered plenty of room for our large group. Anne and I host Periscope shows for artists called Heart 2 Art. We have done 7 shows to date on topics such as Running an Art Business, Working with an Agent and Tradeshow Success. Our shows birthed a fantastic Facebook group of 500 members and lucky for us several of them were attending Surtex. We had the pleasure of meeting so many amazing women that we have spoken to only online. Everyone was so warm and friendly like we have known one another forever. Here is a photo we took earlier in the evening and many others joined us throughout the night. I really enjoyed hanging out with everyone! Thanks to all who came!!! xo
Not only did I get to meet new friends but was able to spend time with my Los Angeles artist friends who made the trip as well. Here is Anne, Dariana, Corinne and Amanda. Amanda was a member of my previous collective and we exhibited together in 2014. It seriously felt like one big Surtex family!
More of the killer view. How incredible is this? You seriously feel like you are on top of the world when you are on the patio.
Another highlight is getting to interview several artists and agent booths (and showcase our own). For our Heart 2 Art show we gave several booth tours to show those not present the point of view of different exhibitors with varied experience at the show. I’d personally would like to give a BIG thank you to everyone who participated. It was very educational and informative. Anne and I edited the videos and for those who missed them you can watch them here.
Exhibiting by myself was a fantastic experience. From committing to the booth, designing the branding and booth, marketing, figuring out the logistics to set up it was one of the most arduous and most rewarding things I have done. There was a great sense of community among the exhibitors and the artists walking the show gave a helping hand. I always felt supported by everyone and loved how they were sharing information and assisting one another.
One downside to the show is when I purchased my booth I was the second to the end aisle but found out I became the end of the aisle only a few weeks before the show. Just walking the aisles you can see the energy in the front and middle of the show. I didn’t see that type of attention towards the back of the show, especially where I was located. I also was near the design district and we didn’t get as much love as the rest of the show overall. I think it hurt me slightly as I wasn’t as visible as I would’ve preferred and wasn’t as busy as other people I spoke to.
Of the 3 days I felt that Tuesday was my best day. Surtex offered something new to us exhibitors and asked us to come in an hour early on the last day. The NSS show would be coming by early before the start of their show to walk the aisles. It turned out to be great for us Surtex’ers and I met with some exciting stationery companies that morning. The aisles were buzzing!
What I learned
- Start designing early. Start as early as possible on your art, marketing and booth design. Delays will happen and getting ahead will help you in the end with your sanity.
- Good booth placement makes a difference. I learned to not have a booth on the very end and recommend an interior booth or corner one toward the front or middle.
- Make as many appointments as you can. I also learned that it helps to make as many appointments beforehand as you can (inquire 6-8 weeks before) and really get the word out through marketing (ads, editorial on blogs, newsletters, emails, snail mail, videos, social media posts etc.). I had a few appointments but having more spaced throughout the days would help with the flow of the show and make the slow times less slow. It also gives you meetings to prepare for and more potential deals.
- Be engaging and welcoming in your booth. When you exhibit make sure you are very inviting and interact with those walking by. Stand outside your booth and pass out postcards, say “hi” and watch the floor all around you. You never know who is walking by. Because I was standing there I was able to spot a couple of people I reached out to for appointments and struck up a conversation.
- Stay as healthy as you can. You will be tired. Very tired. Your feet will hurt too (bring a change of shoes). Get as much sleep before and during the show as you can. Stay away from too much caffeine, sugar and other things that will make you tired and dehydrated. It’s no fun feeling like crap when you have to be “on” and engaging. I didn’t get to eat lunch one day – PLEASE EAT! Keep snacks with you and make sure you have lots of water. I found myself prying my eyes open trying to hold a meeting with a potential client as I slumped in my chair hearing my brain and my stomach saying “Feed Me!”.
- Selling your art at the show is the new black. There was a lot of talk about buying outright and it was the show to cash out at. Be prepared when people ask if they can buy something. Decide beforehand what you would be OK with selling. Who doesn’t want to recoop some of their show expenses? Watch agent Jennifer Nelson speak about it in her booth tour in our Heart 2 Art interview.
I had an amazing time and looking forward to seeing what transpires after the show!
I just did my first solo Surtex show. What a ride it was! I have exhibited in the past with a collective, Art Licensing LA back in 2013 and 2014 and found it was an affordable and collaborative way for me to exhibit. Though being in a collective doesn’t showcase you and your own brand it does enable you to experience the show first hand by sharing tasks and costs. After taking 2015 off, I decided it was time for me to come back and do it on my own. Shorty after I committed to doing the show I began thinking HARD about what my brand and booth would look like. How would I present myself and my artwork to the world? I had to do some self discovery work.
Solving the Problem
I have a brand, I have an identity (so I thought), but it wasn’t extremely clear to me and knew it needed some attention. I took this challenge on and treated it like it was my most important client – the most important project I could ever have. Maybe that’s a lot of pressure (it was) but it was a good design problem for me to have. I have years of experience as a graphic designer and an art director. I designed branding, packaging and style guides for brands such as Barbie and Disney Princess, designed for consumer products, beauty, healthcare and even designed television ads – this should be a breeze, right? Maybe?
When I start with a branding project I begin to examine the tone, manner and style that needs to be conveyed. I started with Pinterest and studied my boards. I realized everything I needed was right there. For years I have been collecting images that appeal to my taste and I just needed to narrow it down. I began to find common ground in the imagery, colors, tone and overall style. I realized that I am strongly attracted to rich and lush colors, more “regal” in a slightly dramatic tone BUT also have a second love of bright, poppy and happy colors and patterns (which I found very interesting – maybe I have two sides to myself hummm…). I also love vintage colors (preferably from the 50’s and 60’s), vintage illustration (from the 50’s and 60’s) and even sophisticated Victorian patterns found on wallpaper, jewelry and clothing. Plants, animals, florals, fruits/veggies and global patterns are common themes I see on my boards. It became clear that this was exactly what I needed to focus on for the booth (and my brand overall). I now have a “style guide” and guidelines moving forward. I began pulling the images from Pinterest and from catalogs I had in my home. I gathered them in a sketchbook and became a mood board-making machine. That sketchbook became my Surtex bible. I made notes in it, it held all my printouts, paperwork, sketches and schedule.
The Design Layout
Now I began on the hard part- what does this darn booth look like? I knew I wanted to make a strong brand statement and having a booth that has a consistent look and theme would be a good way to demonstrate that. I focused on the common, deep colors I had in moodboards. I also zeroed in on the tropical theme that I noticed in some of my inspiration. It is a HUGE trend and marries all the things I want to show like fruit, leaves and plants, animals and florals. I got to work on painting leaves and flowers, scanned them and in a weekend created the tropical mural that was the focal point of my booth. I birthed the booth identity that I carried over to the other pieces and even my marketing collateral. As I finished a panel I put a screenshot of it in a document side by side to see the booth in a 2 dimensional format. It became easier to build it out this way. I made it to scale and could see where to put the table and the artwork.
It’s here. Months’ of prepping and it’s finally here. I am excited (and a little nervous). Looking forward to getting into NY, settling in and finally meeting all my online artist friends. I sent out some editorial to help promote my booth and was delighted to see I was featured in Print and Pattern and Pattern Observer this week! Check them out and follow me on Instagram for behind the scenes of the show. Also watch me on Periscope on Monday 9am EST. Anne and I will be doing a special Heart 2 Art scope where we will be dropping by some booths to interview an agency, a show newbie, a show vet and a collective. Anne and I will also show our booths to you too! Talk to you all soon!
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I woke up to a lovely surprise today – a feature on Print and Pattern blog. Print and Pattern is an industry blog from the UK that “celebrates the world of surface design”. It is a great resource to learn about surface design, see work from around the world and learn about new artists and companies who make beautiful designs. I have been reading it for years and so excited to be on their site today. See samples of my new work and the feature here.Leave a Comment
May 15-17th I will be exhibiting at Surtex in New York. Surtex is a tradeshow where artists and agencies all over come to sell and license their artwork to manufacturers. I have participated in the past here and here with my collective, Art Licensing LA. Doing the show with a collective was a great way for me to exhibit, share resources and split duties at a fraction of the cost of doing it alone. This year is my solo debut and I am really excited to have my own booth and show my work such as my new tropical collections, florals, lettering pieces and fruit and veggie art. If you are attending come see me! I will be in booth #455.
I am now taking appointments. Please email me here to set up a time to meet!
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I am also excited to share my new promotional video for Surtex (video by Desi Bee Photo). It was a lot of fun to make and I am so happy to share my story with you.