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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tips for Represented Artists - New and Not So New

An excellent point on what an artist that has recently hired an agent should do in order to jump start the licensing of her/his art and also the recommendation to continue marketing your art are made by licensing savvy lawyer Corinne Kevorkian. She originally posted her comments for the article "How Long Does it Take to Get a Contract After Hiring An Agent?" on the art of licensing linkedin forum and they are paraphrased below.

Corinne Kevorkian is currently practicing law in New York City. She was recently the President and General Manager of the Schumacher Division of F. Schumacher & Co., a leading supplier of decorative fabrics, wallcoverings, rugs and other home furnishing products. Before that she was Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of F. Schumacher & Co., where she advised them on all legal matters, including acquisitions and divestitures, intellectual property and licensing, real estate and employment matters.

Tips for Represented Artists

A corollary to the question on "How Long Does it Take to Get a Contract After Hiring an Agent?, " and one that is just as important, is how long will it take for products to hit the market once a license agreement is signed? That is your revenue stream and especially with the first time licensor, the likelihood of getting a significant advance upfront (especially in this market) is pretty slim. So you want to make sure that your first license is one where products can be introduced to market fairly quickly. It does not do you much good if your agent signs up a licensee quickly but the product development cycle time is two years which can be the case in certain industries. Getting a license agreement signed quickly may be important in luring other licensees into your program but most likely what they really want to know is 1. what of your art is on products and already in the market, and 2. what are the revenue/sales expectations. So it's important to take these factors into consideration in order to increase your licensing opportunities.

Also, do not leave all the marketing of your art to your agent. As an artist you know your art and the brand best, so make sure to partner with your agent to woo prospective licensees. Refer all prospective contacts/connections to your agent and hold your agent accountable! You want to make sure you know what your agent is doing, should insist on regular reports of contacts made, shows attended, etc.


  1. Hi Joan, I have a question for you. I have been with my art agent for about 6 months. Recently they have licensed a few of my images to a few companies but they will not give me the name of the companies they licensed my work too. Every time I asked them for the information via email they wouldn't respond. They finally responded to my email and told me they could not give me the name of the company because they wanted to protect their client list just in case I left the agency. I haven't signed any licensing agreement with the companies they have licensed my work too. Is this normal for an art agent not to tell an artist who there work is being licensed too?

  2. Hi anonymous,
    It sounds as if you signed on with an agency that does not trust their artists. And thus, you may not be able to trust your agent either. What you described is absolutely not normal with a reputable art agency. Agencies normally tell the artist the manufacturers their art is licensed to and forward samples of the products to the artist. As far as not signing a licensing agreement with the company depends upon the contract you have with your agent. If you gave the agency all rights to decide on the companies to license your art, then your agent will not need to have you sign a licensing agreement with the companies. I'd recommend that you show your agency contract to an IP attorney that is familiar with art licensing so that you know what the agency can and cannot do. The cost is well worth it. You may want to break the agency agreement IF you can. Good luck!

  3. Hi Joan,

    Thank you! You answered my question very well!!