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Monday, May 30, 2011

Surtex 2011: Experiencing the Show

Walking and exhibiting at the Surtex show is an amazing experience. Exhibitors have the opportunity to showcase their newest creations and meet with manufactures. The artists walking the show had a chance to see what is needed to exhibit at a future show and have more time than the exhibitors to find inspiration by walking the three shows running concurrently (Surtex, NSS, ICFF), attend conferences, and network. Read about inspiration found at the three shows in "Surtex 2011 plus NSS & ICFF shows: Inspiration !"

This year Surtex offered a whopping ten seminars lasting 1-1/2 hours each. The seminars were arranged in three Core Basics Licensing (practicality, creativity, marketing & presentation), three Business Practices (licensing agreements, protecting art, structures, staffing and more), three Trends (art, retail, digital), and Manufacturer and ArtistWorking Together session. Panelists were experts in licensing, manufacturing, retail, publishers, and the digital industries. They gave indispensable information about art licensing and related subjects.

I've been studying the art licensing industry for over ten years and my mind was spinning with the amount of information that was shared during the sessions. I learned a lot that was new to me. And the subjects not new to me were slanted from a different viewpoint which taught me even more information. The cost of the seminars were well worth the investment in learning about trends, how to license, the best business practices, and how to market art. Kudos goes to Jeff Grinspan (art & licensing consultant at for organizing the seminars, persuading industry experts to give the presentations, and moderating most of the sessions. Also kudos to the panelists for sharing their knowledge, disrupting their schedules, taking time away from their booths and all without receiving a fee. Their generosity is greatly appreciated by everyone!

Licensing art is all about building relationships and what better way to build a relationship with manufacturers than by exhibiting at Surtex. Networking with manufacturers and potential licensees are also important in finding out what art style and themes "work" and what does "not work" for their companies. Networking with fellow artists and licensing experts is also beneficial in an art licensing career to learn how the industry works and provide support when needed. By attending Surtex, many artists new to licensing and also not so new had the opportunity to network with the exhibitors, persons attending the 25th Surtex Anniversary party, persons attending the conferences and with the panelists after the seminars. Read agent Maria Brophy's viewpoint on the importance of networking at "Three Reasons to Exhibit at a trade show." Even though Maria did not exhibit Drew Brophy's art at Surtex, her article illustrates the importance of networking.

Attendee and Exhibitor Surtex Experiences
Read the following blog articles by some of the attendees and exhibitors on their Surtex experience. Exhibitor articles include photos of their booths.

Alex Colombo
Debbi Ridpath Ohi
Kate Pitner
Marilyn MacGregor
Nicole Tamarin
Phyllis Dobbs

Beverly Dyer
Carol Van Zandt
Cindy Ann Ganaden (part 1) & (part 2)
Dena Fishbein (Dena Designs)
Genevieve Gail Swinford
Jane Shasky
Jessica Swift
Jim Marcotte ( agent for Two Town Studios)
Kate Spain
Kathy Weller
Laurie Wisbrun
Leah Duncan
Lilla Rogers Studio (agency)
Lily Ashbury
Linda Warner Constantino (artist for linadona botanica)
Sharyn Sowell

Learning about art licensing can be done without attending Surtex or other trade shows. But by not attending or exhibiting at them, an artist / agent misses the one-to-one contacts with clients and others in the industry. It is important to make those contacts because licensing art is all about building relationships. Surtex is the largest trade show in the U.S. that showcases art for licensing. It is a great way to meet people that are passionate about art licensing, learn about the latest trends, and share experiences by networking with artists, agents and manufacturers.

Comments are welcomed. Please click on comments and write them in the comment window at the bottom.


  1. Thank you, Joan! As an artist interested in showing at SURTEX someday, I very much appreciate this comprehensive retrospective link collection. : )

  2. Thank you so much for this post, Joan. I have been following your blog ever since finding out about art licensing, and am grateful for your generosity in sharing this wealth of advice and information for all artists (beginners as well as advanced) interested in art licensing.