I have some BIG NEWS!!! I made a BIG DECISON! I have decided to exhibit my illustrations at Surtex in New York in May! YOWZA! Surtex is billed as the leading marketplace to source original art and design and specializes in ‘Art Licensing for Designers, Manufacturers, and Retailers.’ This blurb helps clarify what they are about:
Now in its 32nd year, SURTEX® is the global B2B marketplace for sourcing original art & design—where artists, art agents, licensing agencies and licensors connect with manufacturers, retailers and licensees to create the next best-selling products in every category imaginable. Home décor and furnishings, apparel, automotive accessories, beauty, bed and bath, fabric prints, floor coverings, juvenile, giftware and novelties, stationery, tabletop, wall treatments,private label and so much more…if it’s any product with a surface or textile design of any kind, there’s a good chance it originated at SURTEX.
How did I arrive at this BIG DECISION? Ever since I got back from Peru, I have been contemplating what my next steps would be in my pursuit of this new creative life I have been cultivating. I’ll be honest. I had no idea. Actually I have too many ideas and I felt stymied with indecision. I also have a book idea that has been sitting on the back burner since I returned from Europe and it felt very tempting to head back into my creative cave. My creative cave is warm and safe and fun.
I met my friend Chris West, however, for a coffee a few weeks ago. Everyone needs a friend like Chris. When I shared with him that I felt a bit lost and indecisive, he gave me some much needed advice and direction. He pointed out that I have been building a portfolio and creating since I published my first book. He said it was time for the rubber to hit the road and I needed to focus my energy on marketing myself and my art. We did a bit of business mapping on a scrap of paper and I felt the haze start to lift. Chris confirmed some things that I had already been feeling. I need to take action to see if I can actually make some headway marketing myself and my work out in the world.
I was sharing about this meeting with my housemate Christine and strangely Surtex came to mind. I hadn’t thought about Surtex in about 12 years. I learned about it many years ago when I was painting silk and followed several bloggers that created art for textile designs who always attended the show. I investigated going, but it is a significant financial investment and I didn’t know if I even wanted to continue to paint silk. I painted my last piece of silk 10 years ago, so obviously that was a good decision. Although I do lots of different kinds of art, I have gravitated to travel and food illustration. I feel like my food illustration is by far the most unique thing I do and have been encouraged in this by a number of sources. I love the actual process of creating it, but wasn’t sure if I was commercial artist material. Could I produce under tight deadlines and create something art directed by someone else? The cookbook I designed, illustrated and produced in December allayed these fears. I emerged from that two week project a much more confident artist. So when Surtex popped into my mind, I immediately went to my computer and started to investigate the possibility of attending this year as an exhibitor.
So here I am. All signed up. I will have a chance to network with companies like Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table at the show and I want to put my best foot… um… illustrations forward. I have 4+ months to prepare. The show is May 20-22nd, but I am hoping to stay in New York for a week and will use that time to market myself as much as possible. If you have any contacts or suggestions for me as I head to take a BITE (no, the image above is not an apple, but I like my asparagus drawing better) out of the big apple, please let me know!