Thursday, June 5, 2014

Surtex Recap

This year I traveled to NYC with the amazingly talented Lisa Conlin.
First a bit about Lisa…

Lisa and I met at Hartford Art School. We’ve been in each other’s weddings and for the past 20 years have been each other’s biggest cheerleaders and best critics. Everyone should have a Lisa in their life. Lisa is represented by Artworks Licensing and since entering the world of art licensing has earned contracts with many top-notch manufacturers. (Stay tuned world because when those products hit the shelves you will fall in LOVE with them!)

So, Lisa and I met at Southeast station and took the train in giving us 90 minutes to talk about our favorite topic – art licensing!

We wondered what would be the new big thing? Owls dressed up as peacocks drinking coffee on a chalkboard?
Would the show be busier then last year?
If this is THE BIG SHOW, how would we perform?! Leading ladies? Or, no-name, faceless extras in a crowd? We shared our anticipation and anxiety on how our new collections would be received.

We stepped off the train into the land of Surtex and this year – sunshine! What a nice break from the rain of past years!

THE BIG SHOW did not disappoint! I am an art groupie and some of my favorites had exceptional work.

My art groupie highlights:
Sue Zipkins booth was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! It was my fave. Big images all tied together with border treatments that were boho and distressed. And I always marvel at her color palettes. Inspiring!

Gina Martin. I Love, LOVE her work. Her Christmas art inspired by Tole painting was beautiful. I love seeing a classic given a twist and making it fresh and new again.

Color Dot Studio = Sarah Beise + Mindy Pierce. Vectors never looked so warm and inviting. Their booth always looks good and this year was no exception.

Jackie Von Tobel! I was able to hang out with my fellow Painted Planet artist! Don’t you just love when an artist you admire is nice and generous. We walked the NSS together and talked shop. She created a brand book for manufacturers and it was awesome. Her work is steller and seeing it all together in her book was incredible.

Rose Berlin! Rose didn’t have a booth this year as she’s overbooked with children’s book illustration! In the kids book market you know an illustrator rocks if they are overbooked. So, instead of a booth I was lucky to have more time with my friend, taste test Italian whites and talk art. Rose was one of my Skype interviews this past spring during my senior portfolio prep class at Hartford Art School. If you ever need a speaker to discuss the nuts and bolts of illustration, call Rose!

The trends or what seemed prevalent:
Nautical: octopi, anchors and whales
Boho / Mandala designs including mandala designs on pumpkins
Classic with a fresh twist – i.e. funkafied toile
Scandinavian Christmas
Elephants! And I have to say in my illustration classes 30% of the students selected elephants to use in projects this semester. I’m thinking elephants are IN.

As an aside, there were more then a fair share of Russian nesting dolls, retro casserole dishes and the other assignments given by coaches. Will the plethora of those images create a trend? Will nesting dolls become the new owl? Time will tell and it’s an interesting story to watch unfold.

All in all it was a great show.  The Painted Planet booth was the busiest its ever been which made it impossible to walk around and chat. Several people have said it was their best show in a long time and manufacturers asked for larger collections of art or were looking for more themes. The atmosphere was lively and the art was inspiring!