Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Surtex Art Licensing Show Review

This week Archival Arts is  very pleased to feature artist and guest blogger  Clara Nilles
who often visits our shop with her colorful acrylic paintings for scanning and printing. Clara took a trip to New York City to scout the art licensing show called Surtex, held once a year at the Jacob Javits Center. Here is what she has to say about her expedition to the big apple.

SURTEX, labeled  the largest original art and design art licensing show on the East Coast, was a “not to miss” show for me. For those who are new to SURTEX, this is the industry trade show that brings together all participants in the constantly changing marketplace of art licensing. The show featured artists, designers, studios, art agents, licensing companies, publishing companies, textile companies, manufacturers, and other trade professionals from around the globe.  China, Great Britain, Australia and Germany are among a few that stand out in my memory. The booths featured everything from the latest emerging surface designs, to new color trends, pattern designs and styles. Additional highlights included: innovations in new product development, especially paper products; textures on surfaces; and new trends in gift ware, home furnishings, and wall décor markets.
For me attending the Surtex show was just a learning experience where I could gather and absorb the incredible amount of imagery, artwork and eye catching displays. Incredibly, most of the work presented is slated for the consumer marketplace within approximately 12 to 24 months.  It’s almost a fortune telling business, predicting what demand will be for art in the years ahead...trying to guess what design will look best on greeting cards, shower curtains, or pillows.
There’s also a distinct…..what I call “Lemming Effect” in the industry. That is when a new theme or influence seems to catch on and is profusely copied, becoming all the rage of the industry. This behavior applies to subject matter, patterns, colors, and themes. These designs, often referred to by licensing companies, as “fresh and appealing” art, are not necessarily new or innovative. I would venture to say that they are more tried and true designs that sell well. A good example would be the “Sugar and Spice” sassy, girly style imagery appearing throughout the stationery industry.  This leads to the questions; Are the industries really open to new interesting designs, especially during recession and hard retail markets? Or  do they stick with the safe, well-tested artistic styles that sell in volume?

Nevertheless, there were plenty of interesting design developments and key trends in the artwork that I observed at the show including:
-Color is big. Bright, vibrant color combinations particularly complementary colors, bold colors in reds, oranges, yellows, and purples are popular, often with children’s items. Soft muted earthy colors are extremely prevalent. I saw numerous designs with woodland tones in browns, burgundies, and sage greens. Exotic colors in greens and turquoise blues were especially popular with patterns.
-Traditional subject matter still matters. Always a staple for art licensing…..traditional images of holidays and Christmas were everywhere. Santa Claus, snowmen, and Christmas Trees are in demand.
-Classic imagery including still life, animals, and landscapes showed up on house ware, paper goods, and wall décor.
-Vintage and retro images are all the rage. Pinup posters, beach boardwalk, and British imagery seemed very popular with surface designers.
-Patterns are going exotic. There seem to be a strong shift to exotic batik, Turkish, Asian inspired type designs. Floral paisley patterns in exotic muted colors were seen on many items.
-Typography is surprisingly important. Creativity with typography seemed almost as important as the art. I would say that creative typography was reflected in at least 50% of the artwork at the show. From children’s artwork to vintage photography, words, text, and letters were everywhere.
-Photography is big. I did not expect to see so much photography on surface designs. Photography on canvas seemed extremely popular. With advances in digital transfer, photography is now bright and bold on some real interesting surfaces such as candles, plastic bottles, and metal tools.

For those of you who missed SURTEX, no worries, the next big art licensing event, the Licensing International Art Expo, is in Las Vegas, from June 14-16, 2011). So get inspired and maybe I’ll see you there!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mark Cottman - Job of the Week

 Baltimore artist Mark Cottman and Archival Arts' owner Jeff Salava with
Cottman's mural, "Can't We All Just Swim Along"

Award winning artist Mark Cottman, and owner of south Baltimore’s Mark Cottman Gallery, is a frequent customer to our shop. The extensive body of Mark’s work ranges from colorful, figurative paintings to abstract designs based on a myriad of images.  This month Mark Cottman Gallery is featuring a show titled “Flower Power.” On display at the gallery are various imaginative paintings and prints of flowers all created by this self-taught artist. “African Violet Parade”  pictured below is  a good example of the sense of humor conveyed in much of Mark’s work.

 "African Violets on Parade" giclée print on watercolor paper

 His piece titled “Sunflowers Abundance” is another instance where we stop to smile at the clever way he makes us notice the imperfection of flower behavior in real life.
"Sunflowers Abundance" giclée print on watercolor paper

Stop by the gallery at 1014 S. Charles Street  to see this colorful and fun show which runs until June 12.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Telltale Tips - Marketing Strategy

Exposure is one of the most crucial tools in marketing.  The ability to offer your customer an affordable way to display your work in their homes and businesses is one of the keys to achieving this goal. Limited edition, giclée prints of your original artwork are tailor made for this approach.  The more artwork you release into the world, the more people will begin to become familiar your style.  Familiarity breeds recognition.  It is about establishing an identity and obtaining the confidence within the community of current and future art collectors.
Having a presence on the internet is no longer optional. A less expensive alternative to a web site  is an on-line gallery. Some sites are free and some charge a yearly rate based on how many files you upload. There are artists’ forums and groups which allow members to upload their work for free.  Once you have your files prepared for this strategy it will be very easy to get more of your work seen on the world wide web. 
For those starting out, we recommend assembling 10-15 of your best images. The manner in which you exhibit your work should look polished.  In other words, have your work  professionally scanned or photographed.  A solid presentation gives potential customers confidence in you and your work.  If you need help assembling a digital portfolio call us at Archival Arts.  For a reasonable price we can help you with that portion of with your marketing campaign.  We’d be very happy to hear from you.  410-247-7771

Friday, May 6, 2011

Painting Exhibit - Zoll Studio

 A huge crowd turned-out for the Zoll Studios of Fine Art show.

Last Friday, April 29 we stopped by the Zoll Studio of Fine Art in Timonium, MD for their annual spring Student and Faculty Exhibit. We were impressed with the abundance of paintings hanging on every wall surface in their spacious facility. It was delightful to see the swelling crowd of enthusiastic patrons studying the paintings while deciding which pieces to purchase. Several of our clients had paintings in the show and Carol Lee Thompson’s “Fading Light” and “Cleanin’ the Traps” appeared to be very popular with the public. We also recognized work by  clients  Carol McClees, Christa Eppinghaus and other artists previously featured in our blog.

 Carol Thompson's "Cleanin' the Traps" captured the attention of this couple.

 People of all ages enjoyed the art including Carol Thompson's painting "Fading Light."

 Carol McClees "Red Bucket"

 "Birdhouse" by Christa Eppinghaus.