I am honored to be one of 5 artists to be interviewed for the January 2016 Surtex newsletter....read more below! xx ZAKIA
By Liz Crawford, VP Emerald Expositions/SURTEX Show Director
Welcome to 2016! First, I wish you all a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year! Perhaps with the exception of the stock market as I write this, it looks like this might be a really good year for business opportunities.
SURTEX is shaping up nicely and we are pacing ahead of last year in just about every category. Our new website is in full-swing, booth space is selling at a nice clip, and we opened registration for buyers earlier than ever. Last week, I headed out to our Sports Licensing and Tailgate show in Las Vegas. Some of you may have attended as manufacturers or retailers. The event is the only show of its kind dedicated to sports licensed products. I know a lot of those exhibiting companies come out to SURTEX to source new art for their finished products. We plan to aggressively market to these manufacturers and others for the show. If you’ve never been, check out the link here and see if there is something of interest to you.
In addition, our Conference Program is almost ready for prime time. Watch your email and the website for details on the program. It’s sure to be one of the best opportunities for learning, networking, and more. We hope you’ll make every attempt to attend.
Also, next week is one of our largest shows, NY Now. I’ll be there working with a great group of judges to review the submissions for the SURTEX designext competition. I really love this part of the job as it is vital in developing future or emerging artists and bringing them into the wonderful business world of art licensing. These young students get to showcase their designs at SURTEX, and enjoy the chance to meet with industry veterans and newcomers alike.
And, if you haven’t yet signed up for a booth, be sure to lock that in asap. Our heavy duty marketing machine is ramping up and you don’t want to miss any opportunity to get your name out there! Or, if you plan to attend, be sure to register here.
SO WHAT'S NEW IN THE NEW YEAR?
Named after Janus, the Roman god of new beginnings, January is the month when we resolve to change past patterns and move in new directions. How do artists plan to change their ways in the New Year? We asked five super-creative SURTEX exhibitors three little questions:
1. What's new with you for the New Year?
2. How are those resolutions working out?
3. What quality sets your work apart
KELLY VENTURA, Kelly Ventura Design, Milford, MI: "2016 is all about organization. Implementing new art management systems and making my studio space more efficient are two areas that I felt overwhelmed with in 2015. Those tasks are a priority (so) my creative energy will be able to flow more seamlessly...."I am currently in the throes of my organizational resolution, so stay tuned. These foundational changes certainly don't happen overnight...and unrealistic timelines will only hinder your creative spirit.
"My signature quality? Spontaneity and use of color. My work has become less and less about a specific subject matter and more about the detail within a piece and/or pattern. The combination gives my work a fresh perspective."
ZAKIA, Zakiaz Designs, New York City,: From the very first day of the New Year my mind spins with business ideas and visions for the future. In the first weeks of January, I make my plans and goals for the year. The brisk cool air and my desire to curl up under blankets allow my imagination to soar. From January to May, I create my new collections and designs for the year -- this is my most artistically productive time!
"My 2016 business commitment is to network with and submit to every company I am inspired by or think my work would resonate with, (especially) home furnishing manufacturers and buyers. I love bedding and bath in particular, and feel that with the chaos of the world around us everyone should have a peaceful, relaxing, calm home 'base' to sooth their stress away. My design focus the next few months will be on serene and happy colors with classic design motifs, (fostering) tranquility for mind, body and spirit through home furnishings.
"My signature look? Combining hand painting with Photoshop -- I LOVE the tactile feel and smell of paint; working with different textures, paintbrushes and techniques, and then translating it into Photoshop. The possibilities are endless...." xxz
ANNE BOLLMAN, Anne Was Here & There, Greater Los Angeles area: "I made two significant New Year’s resolutions for my art business this year. The first was to slow down and choose quality over quantity. I often feel as if I am churning out art instead of being thoughtful and deliberate. When I slow down, I am much happier with the results. The second resolution, is to hand-paint more. Aside from painted work currently being in demand, it also brings out the artist’s unique hand in a way that purely digital work doesn’t.
"Slowing down is difficult when deadlines are constant, but I made it a priority and I’m getting better at it day by day. Even though I end up with less work, what I have created is better quality and in more demand across licensing categories.
"What sets my work apart is my ability to create product-appropriate artwork that is multigenerational and stylish with a sense of humor. Having worked directly with buyers as an in-house designer for a manufacturer before starting my own business, I understand what kind of art sells products."
MARET HENSICK, Maret's Art, Woolrich, ME: "I've done three things for the New Year: Updated my website; increased my free-hand painting, and focused on a less fussy, "back to basics" look.
Free-hand poster painting is a new way of working that lets me see my work anew. You never know where it will lead. I have expanded, using the iPad Brushes program. Free-hand painting gives my work a fresh, immediate feel. Dry humor, composition, and color define my work, whether I am drawing Christmas flamingos on paper, cakes on paper bags, or designing on the iPad.
I was born in Detroit, raised in Europe from theage of nine, then return to the U.S. to study studio art at the University of Pennsylvania. Then I worked as a graphic artist in Germany for two years, coming back to the U.S. with a European sense of design and art. After living in five different states, I settled in Maine with my artist husband, Tom Paiement. Rather desperate to make a living in the back woods in the early 1990s, I hand-painted tee-shirts directly and sold them at craft fairs throughout New England. That established my style, which leans heavily on free-hand painting and whimsy, if not wackiness.
Encouraged by my sister, I sent photographs of the shirts to perspective companies. My first license was to L.L.Bean down the road in Maine. In l991, I walked the NY Stationery Show and discovered SURTEX, where I've been exhibiting (with a two-year hiatus) since l992. I have licensed work to more than 30 companies. SURTEX is a fabulous show for contacts with both companies and colleagues."
JENEAN STEPHAN-SUSTARIC, Belly Acres Farm Studio, Seville, OH: "We DID make several decisions that we hope will not only improve our business, but our health and lifestyle, as well.
"First, we had made the mistake of allowing the business to rule our lives by not taking time to invest in ourselves. Working constantly or worrying about work is NOT the way to be fresh and creative. So, we built a schedule. Sounds counter-intuitive, but, it's working! We still work everyday, but we also go to the pool, enjoy the farm, and are even taking a vacation this year!
"Our signature style is 'humor' and 'masculine'design. Now, because we're following a tighter schedule, our work is lighter, fresher, and we have had the opportunity to try new technology and techniques, We are also energized with new ideas, and following through on a job is more fun!
"As a result, our sales have improved!"
COLOR HER FAR-SIGHTED:
Nancy Fire Foresees Coming Trends
So what if the human eye can detect some 10 million different colors? The ones that interest the design industry are the colors trending this year and beyond.
And who knows what they are? Meet design pro Nancy Fire. Co-founder of New York-based Design Works International/First2Print (designworksintl.com), and design director for HGTV Home, the go-to interior design source for millions of American, Nancy has logged 30+ years consulting, designing, and launching successful product lines. Also a SURTEX Advisory Council member and judge for designext 2016, the world-wide student design competition, it's no wonder she's been called a juggernaut of the interior design industry.
Here's what Nancy sees trending this year and beyond:
Off-beat tones: For example, greens in different tonalities so they work together and look "fresh and innovative."
Color washes and watercolor florals: In "bold, bright, fun colors. People are not afraid of color anymore."
Reds! "As in terra cotta, but not flower pots. Accented with teals. It's been around for two years and is still trending. Terra cotta is here to stay!"
A Revival of Shibui, the Japanese blend of simplicity and complex details: say, a simple leaf design with a complex pattern on it.
New focus on artisanship: "It's all about handcrafting. Gives a feeling of heritage."
Vibrations: Daring, pop! colors working off each other."
The Softer Side: Golden yellow. Think of Miami Beach yellow in the l950s. And softened geometric shapes -- triangles are important.
Landscaping: Layering, as in a cake. More tonalities. Romantic, ethereal, ombre colors.
Urban Collective: Eco-savvy. Up-cycling. Vertical gardening. Mixed substrates: metal with wood, wood with Lucite; old with new. Wood-grain patterns and photo-real woodgrains.
Gray: Still our favorite neutral.
COLOR FORECASTING: 'NOT ABOUT THROWING DARTS'
It's serious business, this business of forecasting trends. Manufacturers and retailers in every industry literally stake their fortunes on coming out with the right stuff at the right time, decisions they must make several years in advance.
Where do the forecasters get their info? Here's an insight from the Executive Director of Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman, writing in The New York Times Magazine's
issue on The Future last November:
"Forecasting...is not 'This color hasn't been hot -- let's do that,' Leatrice said. Instead, forecasters look for new color influences in fashion, cosmetics, pop culture -- what films are in production or on the drawing board.
She cited "Shrek" as an example: "I can remember seeing the early drawing in Variety, and...that bright yellow green. That's a color that hasn't been prominent, I thought. We need to pay attention to that....because it's on the drawing board now, it'll have the biggest impact in a year or two."
UPDATES & UPGRADES
ALL ABOARD 3-TRACK CONFERENCE -- The 2016 SURTEX Conference Program will feature three tracks, each leading to greater professionalism: Essentials, Advanced Strategies, and Business Enhancements.
The Essentials track will cover everything you need to get started in licensing: sales, marketing, working with agents, contracts, and more. Advanced Strategies digs into copyrights and protecting your art, plus, it takes a deeper look at the business from the manufacturers’ viewpoint. Business Enhancements covers trends, marketing, and the life cycle of an artist, from new business to established operation.
Early bird pricing is available until March 1: Individual sessions, $90 each; full program, $650 for buyers, $800 for non-buyers.
Full program details and registration coming soon at surtex.com.