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Art Licensing by artist Joan Beiriger: I'm happy to share art licensing info but please
give me credit and link to my blog when using it on your site. Thanks.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Licensing Art for Decorative Ceramic Plates and Tabletop Products

Although there are many manufacturers that produce ceramic ware including plates and other tabletop products, not that many license art for them. Many do not use art on their products but some use in-house illustrators or purchase the art outright. Also some do license art by well-known brands such as Disney characters, and designer Tracy Porter. And, a few manufacturers like Enesco and Demdaco use a variety of materials including ceramics to create product collections for some of their artist brands. Note: There are many e-stores including Etsy that print-on-demand decorative ceramic plates but do not normally license art for them.

When searching the Internet for decorative ceramic plates and tabletop products, I found a few manufacturers that used a variety of art styles on their products. That indicates they probably license the art instead of using in-house illustrators. And, when artists names are mentioned on the manufacturer website, the art is most likely licensed. Note: Not all manufacturers have open websites that allow anyone to see their products. A person needs to be a retailer to get the password to view product catalogs. Thus, in many cases I had to rely on the e-stores of amazon.com, JC Penny's, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. to see the different manufacturer products.

Below are a few manufacturers that I know license art and a few I “think” license art. If you know other ceramic manufacturers that license art, please share with the rest of us by posting a comment to this article. Thanks!

Ashdene
The name of this manufacturer is shared by artist Patrizia Vitrano.

Products: Australian manufacturer of decorated coordinated homeware including ceramic tableware.

Information:
1. Licenses art.
2. Products on manufacturer website are visible to the public.
3. No direct contact information is on their website but I suggest contacting their USA & Canada distributor that is listed on "contact us".

Certified International Corporation
Products: ceramic and melamine tabletop dinnerware and accessories 

Information:
1. Licenses art collections.
2. Products on the website are visible to the public.
3. Do not submit your art collections unless they are a good fit for the manufacturer’s product lines. Look at their Digital Catalog to see the type of themes and collections they license.
4. Call customer service for contact information to submit art collections.

One Hundred 80 Degrees
Products: giftware - both traditional and contemporary Christmas, Halloween, harvest, birthday, and everyday products

Information:
1. Product catalog on the website is only available for retailers.
2. View more products on The Weed Patch Store.
3. You need to ask the manufacturer if they license art. If they do, ask for contact information, submission guidelines, and the password to view products.

Park Designs
Products: coordinating textiles, ceramics and giftware from country to classic traditional and from everyday to holiday

Information:
1. Some products on the website are visible to the public.
2. You need to ask the manufacturer if they license art. If they do, ask for contact information, submission guidelines, and for the password to view all the products.

Sango
The name of this manufacturer is shared by artist Patrizia Vitrano.

Products: Indonesian ceramics tableware manufacturer that uses art from American and European designers.

Information:
1. Licenses art.
2. Products on the website are visible to the public.
3. Contact manufacturer for submission contact information and guidelines.  Contact information is under customer outlet.

Wild Wings
Products: art prints, various room decor and accents, decorative ceramic tabletop and decorative plates

Information:
1. Licenses fine art images.
2. Products on the website are visible to the public.
3. Click HERE for art submission specifications

Read more articles about the different industries that license art (calendars, greeting cards, flags, jig-saw puzzles, etc.) by going to Topics on the side bar and click on Manufacturers.

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address).

Sunday, April 5, 2015

ArtLicensingShow.com® - What is all the excitement about?


There sure is a lot of excitement about the ArtLicensingShow.com® (ALSC) website that had its grand opening on March 23, 2015! What is so special about ALSC and what is behind all this enthusiasm?

ALSC is a creation by licensed artist and designer Cherish Flieder that took nearly 6 years to become a reality. It is a protected art portfolio hosting website for artists/agents to privately show art to licensees. Art directors interested in licensing art can join at no cost. With one password, they can see examples of art shared with them by hundreds of artists and ask artists/agents permission to view their portfolios. But ALSC is MUCH more than just a website to view art. It is also an art licensing community where members can easily connect, communicate with each other, and join special interest discussion groups. It is a great way to market art for licensing.

Note: At no cost, any licensing artist, agent or industry expert can sign-up to be included in the ALSC’s “Ultimate Art Licensing Directory” and have access to the basic social networking features. Artists/Agents may also apply to upgrade to a portfolio account that will give them privileges to exclusively upload and share art with authorized art directors. Click HERE to sign-up for the free Ultimate Art licensing Directory, to see the features of the free basic social networking, and the cost and benefits to upgrade to the various portfolio accounts.

Benefits for Licensor Artists/Agents
Artists/Agents find that they can organize their art collections on the Art Licensing Show website anyway they wish; by themes, for products, samples of art licensed, etc. Each portfolio is protected from the public. Also, ALSC member artists/agents cannot see each others artwork on the site. The only members that can see inside an art portfolio is IF the artist gives specific art directors permission. Permissions may be granted (via “shares”) for an entire portfolio of collections, and/or some of the collections, and/or some of the images in a collection.

Members can connect with ALSC artists, agents and art directors. Artists can ask art directors to look at their art and can join special interest groups to ask questions and share information. Some of the groups that have been formed so far cover topics such as art marketing, trends, home d├ęcor, textiles, tabletop, greeting cards, character designs, etc. There is also a group that discusses all sorts of general licensing topics and meets once a month on a chat line for a lively online discussion.

ALSC encourages unabashed promoting of portfolio artist’s work on the site. Artists and their work are spotlighted on the ALSC blog and other social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram (#artlicensingshow), and even YouTube. View the "ArtLicensingShow.com® Official Ribbon Cutting Video" that showcased artist members work during the virtual red carpet grand opening ceremony. The art shown is fabulous!

Many artists that are members of ALSC still use their public website to show some of their art, but then guide potential licensees to their profile link and protected portfolio pages on ArtLicensingShow.com. Because it is important to get as much visibility for their work as possible, artists continue using their own blogs, social media, and other means for marketing, but now have added the marketing capabilities that ALSC offers.

A sampling of art from hundreds of licensors portfolios that can be seen on the ALSC site is shown below; created by surface pattern, illustrator, and graphic designer Natalie Williamson, agency Creative Connection, artist Jane Maday, agency Two Town Studios, and Buck & Libby brand by illustrator and designer Megan Ball. Artist Joan Beiriger's art is shown at the beginning of this article.






Benefits for Licensee Art Directors
Art directors value the ALSC site because they only need one password to view a huge variety of art created by hundreds of artists at no cost. Beside seeing new art from artists they already deal with, they appreciate discovering fresh new works from artists unfamiliar to them. It is easy for art directors to search for art by using keywords and tags, look at artist/agent profiles for examples of their work, and ask artist/agent permission to view the art. And then, any time they wish, the art director can flip through the collections, select the art they are interested in and directly contact the artist or agent to negotiate a contract. [The site isn’t an agency and doesn’t get in the middle of the licensing deals.] Thus, art directors have access to view art 24/7 and do not have to wait for a trade show or hassle with travel expenses.

Also valued is the Ultimate Art Licensing Show Directory where contact information of artists/agents can be found whether or not they have an ALSC hosted portfolio. Click HERE to view a video on why art directors should sign-up for a free ALSC account. Sign-up by clicking HERE.

ALSC Information
• Find out more about ArtLicensingShow.com by clicking HERE.

• Art directors can sign up for a complimentary account by clicking HERE.

• The price to have a portfolio on ALSC depends upon how many collections artists/agents want to place on the site. The different plans and prices are listed by clicking HERE.
http://redcarpet.artlicensingshow.com/plans-pricing/

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address).

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Art Licensing Editorial: Do you need to be a brand to successfully license art?

Note: The following is an editorial and are my opinions so not everyone will agree with them. But, I do welcome all comments (positive and negative) to give everyone a well rounded perceptive on other opinions.

There are many opinions on whether art is a brand or not. And, an often-asked question is if an artist's work needs to be a brand to be successful in the licensing industry. The short answer to these questions is that art can be a brand under certain conditions but art does NOT have to be a brand for an artist to be successful in licensing their work. Read the following to find out why I believe this.

Definition of an Art Brand
According to Wikipedia, "A brand is a name, term, design or other feature that distinguishes one seller's product from those of others". Brands in today’s market are associated with product trademarks (Coke Cola, Harley, Kenmore, Rice Crispy, Vera Bradley), sports, entertainment (Disney, Sesame Street), well-known personalities (HGTV "stars", Donnie Osmond), some artists, and many others. Theoretically any creation of an artist is a brand because every artist incorporates into their art their own style, color combinations, and composition. But, unless the art is VERY different from other art, it is not usually licensed "as a brand".

Art directors and others in the art licensing industry are very familiar with artists work and can easily distinguish whose work it is. However, most consumers cannot recognize small differences between different artists art. Thus, art must be very distinct and unique for it to be considered a brand in the art licensing industry.

Art That are Brands
Licensing an art brand is valuable to manufacturers because brands tend to sell more products. Consumers purchase not just one product but continue to purchase products of a brand they desire. Manufacturers such as Demdaco and Enesco license many brands and produce a huge variety of products specifically tailored for each brand. Sculpture artist Susan Lordi (Willow Tree® brand), artist Kelly Rae Roberts, and artist Kathy Weller (Yoga Pals brand) work is licensed to Demdaco as a brand. And, carver Jim Shore, and artist Suzy Toronto work is licensed to Enesco as a brand. All of these artists are very successful since their art are very much sought after by consumers. Look at the art of the artists mentioned above and notice how unique they are. Also read, "What Makes the Willow Tree® Brand Such a Success?"

Art That are not Brands
Not all manufacturer business-model depend upon licensing art brands. Most manufactures license work based upon the style and theme of the art and not necessarily art by a recognizable brand. Although some manufacturers license both art brands and none art brands. Artists Paul Brent, Hautman Brothers, Susan Winget, and many others earn good money by licensing their art but not as a brand.

Not every person will agree that the artists mentioned above do not have art brands because all three of them do have a consumer following. And, some manufacturers do license collections of their work and showcase them in their catalogs with their name, picture, and biography. However, each of these artists art style is somewhat similar to other artist's art style so consumers may not recognize who created the art until they look at the artists name on the product. That is why they are not considered a brand according to the definition stated in Wikipedia.

But, does it matter the above artist's work is considered a brand or not? NO! It does not because they are very successful in licensing their work. And, the reason why is because these artists have acquired a relationship with many manufacturer art directors and the credibility that they know what art consumers want on products. Thus, they continue to get many licensing contracts. But, it has taken them years of hard work, research, and trial-and-error to become established, and their work sought-after. To learn about Susan Winget and her licensing success, read "An Art Licensing Winning Team: Susan Winget Art Studio."

Conclusion
An artist does not have to have an art brand to be successful in licensing her/his art. What it takes is hard work, learning what kind of art and themes consumers want on products, being prolific in creating art, creating relationships and submitting lots of art to manufacturers for licensing consideration, being willing to compromise, being realistic that it takes a long time to get revenue, and do NOT give up!

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address. For example: http://www.joanbeiriger.com/ ).

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Art Licensing: When do you Submit Art to Manufacturers?

As often heard in the art licensing industry "it depends" is the inexplicable answer to the question "When do you submit art to manufacturers for licensing consideration?" Each manufacturer has a different deadline depending on its business model, product line, production cycle, and clients. So, the only way to find out the deadlines for submitting art is to either see the information on the manufacturers website or ask by e-mail or phone call.

Some manufacturers accept all art theme submissions year round and either license art immediately or files it for future consideration. Some have big box store clients and these manufacturers are constantly giving presentations to them. Hence, they request art for the presentations to be put on hold but do not license it unless their clients want the art put on the products. Other manufacturers have specific deadlines that they post on their websites such as greeting card manufacturer Leanin' Tree and will license the art they choose for the following year product line(s). Some manufacturers send art requests several times a year to the artists and agents on their call-out list. However, the majority of manufacturers need to be contacted via email or by telephone to find out their deadlines. Hint: When you contact manufacturers, ask if they have an art call-out list and request to be added to it.

If you cannot find out the manufacturer art submission deadlines (often happens) then you need to make an educated guess. Most manufacturers are looking for specific art themes at least two times a year. Those are for Spring/Summer (approximately March through August) and Fall/Winter (approximately September through February) that includes all holidays and special occasions during those periods. Many manufacturers decide on what art to license 12 to 14 months before it is introduced to retail. For example, art deadlines for the fall/winter 2016 season could be as early as July 2015.

Do Your Homework
The key to licensing your art is to create the right art for products that appeals to manufacturers, retail stores, and ultimately consumers. Finding manufacturers that license art requires research, research, and more research. You need to find manufacturers that are a match with your art style, find out what art themes they want, how they want art submitted and in what format. Find out more about licensing art by reading "How to license art to manufacturers".

Why does it take so long to see licensed art on products and get revenue?
It "can" take 18 months or more before an artist gets any money after a deal is signed unless the artist is lucky to get an advance toward royalties. The reason is because of the many steps involved during the entire process (contract negotiations, art revisions, manufacturing of product, placement on retail shelves) before receiving the first quarterly royalty check. How long it takes depends upon the industry but paper products made in the U.S. usually takes a shorter time than ceramic products that need the creation of molds and are manufactured and shipped from China. Read "Licensed Art - Getting Paid Takes a Long Time" to see an example of a time-line and steps required from submitting art to receiving royalties. Note: Not all licensing deals or getting revenue take a long time.  Each manufacturer is different and some deals can generate revenue within a few months after signing the contract especially if it was a licensing flat fee.  More information about different kind of licensing contracts can be read on "Licensing Art - There is no such thing as a typical deal".

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address. For example: http://www.joanbeiriger.com/ ).

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Art Licensing Editorial: What Makes the Willow Tree® Brand Such a Success?

When fine artist Susan Lordi received her Masters in Fine Arts in Textile Design in 1993, I am sure she had no idea that she would not only become known for her fine art textile designs but also for her sculptured figurines created for the gift market. The transition from creating fine art that appeals to individuals to creating art for the mass market is no easy task. But, Susan did it right because her Willow Tree brand has been a huge success for the last 15 years. Consumers worldwide purchase Susan’s figurines and her other products produced by DEMDACO.

Studying how artists become successful is really informative and one of my favorite things to do. I have followed Susan Lordi's success for years and have always admired the simple carved wooden look of her Willow Tree brand figurines and her ability to show emotion without facial expressions.

Art brands tend to sell more products than non-brands because the customer base grows as the brand becomes more popular. To become a brand that is recognized by consumers the art must be unique and different from other art. And, to become successful and stay successful the brand must resonate some emotional response with the consumer, appeal to a wide spectrum of consumers, grow slowly, and stay true to the look of the brand but continue to be refreshed. I think Susan Lordi has encompassed all these requirements in her Willow Tree brand. The following is why I think so.

• Recognized art style
When Susan decided to create for the mass market in the late 1990s, she did her homework and noticed that there was a void in the gift industry of simple figurative sculptures that depicted relationships with others and the world around them. By creating a sculptured style of less-is-more and capturing a moment in time between persons and nature in her carvings, Susan created a style that is truly unique and recognized by consumers.

View "Susan Lordi Marker, Central High 1972" video of Susan describing her art background and the creation of her Willow Tree brand. And, also view "Susan Lordi - "Willow Tree" video to see a major influence in Susan's carvings. Note: These videos show Susan's passion in creating her work, which is truly inspirational!

• Appeals to consumers
To sell any product, it has long been known that the product has to somehow resonate an emotion with the consumer so that she/he feels the need to purchase it. Susan Lordi creates figurative sculptures that depict sentiments anyone can relate to. And, because no expressions are shown on their faces it allows each person to interpret the meaning of each figure in their own way and makes it more personal. Thus, her sculptures appeal to a large number of consumers. Unlike successful art based on trends that evidentially fade away, Susan’s sculptures are timeless and are continually sought by consumers. No wonder the Willow Tree brand is so successful.

Note: What is critical to Susan’s success is that she carves from her own life experiences as a mother, a daughter, a wife, an aunt, a granddaughter… In other words, something she knows to be true… something that interests her, something she’s experiencing, instead of trying to make something that she thinks might sell. Or, in her words, “it has to come from a personal place in order to resonate with others.”

View "Willow Tree Family Groupings" video to hear Susan's reasoning on why she creates her carvings the way she does.

• Continue refreshing art
Consumers are always looking for new and different looks when purchasing products. Thus, artists need to regularly keep their art fresh and new looking when submitting to manufacturers for licensing consideration.

Susan Lordi has met the challenge of evolving and keeping her carvings fresh over the years while keeping her own aesthetics so that they are still recognizable as belonging to the Willow Tree brand. Although she has kept soft washed colors that are a trademark of the brand, over the years she has refreshed her sculptures by adding some embellishment to her work with deeper colors, and/or metal accents.

Note: Susan really out did herself with the introduction of her elegant Signature Collection at the January 2015 Atlanta Gift Market. When I walked by the DEMDACO showroom in Atlanta, I couldn't stop looking at the collection. A gradation of deep turquoise blue at the bottom of the figures with a scattering of gold-leaf raised dots makes them absolutely stunning. And, gold accents on a turquoise blue background on her triplex shadow boxes of Starry Night Nativity made them really beautiful and totally unique.

• Slow introduction of new products
Brands will not have staying power in the gift market if they swamp the market at once with all kinds of products. This is what happens when manufacturers hop on a perceived new trend like last year's chalkboard style art seen at the Atlanta Gift show. This year there were nowhere as many showrooms using chalkboard art on their products and probably that style will soon disappear. It is better to slowly introduce new products so that the market is not inundated with them and consumers will look forward to seeing what is new each year.

The Willow Tree brand follows that business practice and has slowly added new products over the 15 years since it was introduced at the January 2000 Atlanta Gift show. For more information about the product introductions, read "The Willow Tree History".

Conclusion
There is much to learn from sculpturer Susan Lordi even if you as an artist do not have an art style that is unique enough that consumers recognize as yours or even if you have several art styles. Susan’s success has shown the importance in learning what attracts consumers to art, to create from your heart so it resonates with consumers, and to continually refresh art so that the product is salable. And, most importantly you need to continue to learn everything you can about the art licensing industry and all industries associated with it. Education is power that will help you in creating licensable work and obtaining licensing contracts.

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address. For example: http://www.joanbeiriger.com/ ).