Category Archives: Art Licensing & Business

It’s On The Cards

Or…Yet More Adventures in Serendipity.

Recently my best friend Sheila and I went on a jaunt to nearby Mandurah. We wanted to check out the New Age shops there, as I was nearly out of incense sticks at home.

Our first port of call was the Crystal Dolphin, where we had a great time browsing the store’s extensive bookshelves and looking through the various tarot and oracle cards there. I wanted a singing bowl or at least some Tibetan Tingsha bells, but the bowl was nearly $80 and the 3 bells that were there didn’t sound right to my ears. I bought some incense sticks. Sheila bought 2 CDs and some perfume oil.

Next up was lunch at Murphy’s Irish Pub by the foreshore. The food was lovely, as always, I highly recommend Murphy’s if you are ever in Mandurah, and if you happen to be Irish then you’ll feel right at home there!

After lunch we went over to Dolphin Quay, just over the bridge. While there, we came upon a New Age stall. I was interested in getting another deck of Oracle cards, so I looked at the carousel at various decks.

And then one leapt out at me. Figuratively speaking, of course. But it might as well have done so literally, so quickly did my hand reach out to grab it. You see, here was my good friend Serendipity playing her hand again.

A short while ago, I’d found an Oracle cards App on the Google Play Store on my Samsung Galaxy S4. Actually, I’d tried a few Apps but most of them did not cut the mustard with me. Except for this particular deck “Vibrational Energy Oracle Cards” by Debbie A. Anderson.

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(By the way, I was drawn to the name of the deck itself when I initially came across it…for a while now I’ve been feeling strange vibrations in my body when I’m in contact with certain people online over the Internet. Like a Wi-Fi psychic connection. I can sense right away what a person is resonating, if that person is feeling relaxed, or tense, or frustrated, happy or upset…just as soon as they appear on my radar. Now, I don’t know what this is, or if it truly is a gift, or whether the feeling will vanish as suddenly as it appeared…but it has started me on a personal spiritual journey. And I might as well notate that journey here on my blog, for all it’s worth. If anyone can shed a light on this, I would be very grateful).

I fell in love with this virtual deck because of its truly inspirational artwork by Heather Brewster. Feast your eyes on these images of just some of the cards in this magnificent deck.

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I’d since then been searching high and low online for a hard copy of this deck…to no avail. And then this happens to me today.

I took this to be a sign, so the deck of cards came home with me today.

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Pattern Observer

For those of you interested in designing and printing wallpapers, or indeed any kind of surface design, Pattern Observer is an invaluable resource. I cannot praise it highly enough. It offers an insight into the burgeoning surface pattern design industry, you can subscribe to their regular email updates (I do), join their Textile Design Lab to enter into discussion with fellow likeminded artists, keep up to date with the latest news and trends in the industry. There are even e-courses you can sign up for to improve and hone your designing skills, learn new techniques and improve your own sales and marketing.

If you are the least bit serious about becoming a surface pattern designer, or even if you just want to investigate the ins and outs of surface design before you decide, you simply MUST join or follow Pattern Observer.

I love the layout of the blog, which can be used as a launchpad to visit other areas of the Pattern Observer microcosmos, all neatly organised and categorised for your benefit. Use the drop down menu there and you’ll see what I mean.

Pattern Observer can also be found on Facebook. So you can keep abreast of the latest news without even having to leave your favourite social media platform.

One of the many highlights of following Pattern Observer is that each week a different artist is showcased, providing insight into their processes, techniques, business practice, etc. Very useful and inspiring for aspiring designers.

Here I’m simply posting the links to bring together Parts 1 and 2 of Pattern Observer’s primers on wallpaper printing techniques through the ages. A potted history, if you will, for your enjoyment.

http://patternobserver.com/2014/05/05/wallpaper-printing-methods-part/

http://patternobserver.com/2014/06/02/wallpaper-printing-methods-part-ii/

For those wanting to take the guesswork out of designing pattern repeats, check out Pattern Observer’s 5 week self-study e-course, The Ultimate Guide to Repeats. Be aware though, this course assumes some prior knowledge of, and experience with, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

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(Photo taken from the blog’s “About” page shows Pattern Observer founder Michelle Fifis and her family.)

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Artist Inspiration : Kareem Rizk

I love Swiss-style/mid century modern graphics. In the world of mobile Apps, on iOS there are a number of Apps that make designing these type of graphics easy, namely AddLib U and AddLib S. The developers have got the colour palette, geometric shapes and lines just perfect. On the Android platform, however, I’m sad to say that I have not found a similar App to write home about.

A while back, I blogged about AddLib U and AddLib S. For convenience, here are the links to these posts:

AddLib S

AddLib U

I came across the work of Kareem Rizk, an Australian artist transplanted to Denmark, Europe, quite by accident, as I was trawling Pinterest for examples of bird collages, for my own artistic endeavours. Kareem did indeed make bird-themed collages a few years, but the scope of his talent extends far beyond that.

But here are those bird collages that inspired me (thank you, Google Images):

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Here I’m sharing Kareem’s Biography with you, taken from his webpage, as it provides an insight to what makes him tick, and describes his techniques and processes too:

Born 1982, Melbourne, Australia. Collage and mixed media artist, illustrator and designer. Living and working in Copenhagen, Denmark. Graduate of Monash University with a Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication (2004).

Since his shift of focus to fine art and illustration in 2006 and his pursuit of developing his style, Rizk has been cutting and pasting his way towards a unique and contemporary style of collage and mixed media art that has earned him international recognition, as well as continuous success working with numerous galleries, fine art publishers and creative companies all around the world.

Collecting mostly old magazines and books but also scraps from torn billboards and street posters, discarded tickets, postcards, brochures and catalogues, Rizk has been sorting through op shops, flea markets, garage sales and city streets around the world to find the images and ephemera that have found their way into his very nostalgic and weathered collage and mixed media works.

Working mediums include collage, acrylic, oil pastel, pencil, solvent transfers and acrylic transfers. The work is highly textured and often multi-layered with a nostalgic and weathered quality. Rizk’s works can often be vibrant with colour, while others display a very refined or minimal palette. Working methods also extend to digital collage with a very gritty and realistic display of texture and layering. The digital work began as an experiment in blurring the line between handmade collage and digital collage.

Other work includes freelance illustration, graphic design and fine art commissions for various clients including art buyers and collectors, editorial publications, galleries, universities, the boutique fashion industry and the music and entertainment industry.

Exhibitions include solo shows and group shows in Melbourne, Sydney, Byron Bay, Brisbane,
Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, Miami, Vancouver, London, Berlin, Copenhagen, West Cork (Ireland), Stockholm, Zurich, Barcelona, Madrid and Milan. Rizk’s work has been published in numerous art magazines and books and his work is held in private collections worldwide.

And here are several examples of Kareem’s Swiss-style/mid century modern works (the last one shows the artist himself at an exhibition of his own work):

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I also found this recent in-depth interview with Kareem Rizk, where the artist divulges his thought processes and techniques in great detail. Interesting reading for those of you who are as fascinated with this artist as I am.

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Artist Inspiration : LOUISE TILER

I was trawling through the Internet the other day, looking for inspirational ideas with the themes of birds, butterflies and flowers. These are recurring motifs in my own work, and I wanted to see what other artists out there were doing. I came across the work of Louise Tiler and was immediately inspired to blog about her. Here is a young lady whose work not only incorporates motifs dear to my own heart, but who is also a talented artist who handpaints and draws her beautiful designs, with a little bit of help from CAD programmes. AND who has her work licensed by several international companies. Louise certainly is going places! Apart from birds, butterflies and flowers, Louise also designs around architectural themes, and also incorporates British woodland creatures such as foxes, owls, badgers etc into her work.

Excerpt taken from Louise’s web page:, and photos courtesy of Google:

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Louise Tiler is a ‘happy’ and ‘smiley’ independent surface pattern designer, born and raised in Yorkshire and is now based in the famous World Heritage village of Saltaire.

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Louise Tiler graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design from Leeds College of Art in 2011. Before graduating Louise received high recognition for her design work winning a number of design awards and competitions. These include Prestigious Textiles award from the Bradford Textile Society and Tigerprint online card competition for Marks & Spencers where she began freelancing throughout university and still works with the company today! In her final year at Leeds Louise was first recognised for her unique wallpaper collections and won Surtex International design competition ‘Designex’ in New York and at the Historical Textile Competition 2011. Soon after graduating Louise received both national and international recognition for her design work and was named New Designer of the Year in 2011 from thousands of new UK designers in London. After early success Louise decided to work as a independent designer and has gone on to freelance for some of the world’s top greeting cards, fabrics, tableware, wallpaper and homeware brands.

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Louise is extremely passionate about creating intricate hand-drawn and hand-painted designs. All of her elegant artwork is carefully painted to create detailed and well thought out designs that are not only a personal signature of Louise’s hand drawn style but they are designs she is incredibly proud of because they are her own unique hand creations. Louise takes inspiration from everything around her but she has a real love for floral paintings, vintage pattern and historical textile design. She combines traditional hand drawn techniques with modern digital processes to create vintage inspired and contemporary designs.

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As well as wholesaling her own range of paper products and greeting cards which launched in 2014, Louise is expanding her label through licensed products and working with and manufactures to produce a wide range of products including wallpaper, wall art, tableware, ceramics, soft-funishings and greeting cards. Louise will be launching her own range of paper products in May 2014 and will appearing on the TV channel QVC in May 2014, selling her licensed homeware products.

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CLIENTS

Louise is proud to have worked with the no1 wallpaper company Graham & Brown, Woodmansterne Publications, QVC, Dunelm Mill, The Range, B&Q, Marks & Spencer, Alison at Home, Bernstein & Banleys, Artistic Britain (Primeur), Tigerpint, Cardmaking & Papercraft, Eagle Eyed Bride, Melamaster, S Blinds and Hill and Co Rugs.

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IN THE PRESS

Louise Tiler has been featured in National Newspapers, Home & Interior magazines and designs blogs. These include Elle Decoration, The Mail on Sunday, The Independent, Progressive Greetings, Dezeen, Moyo Magazine, The Yorkshire Post.

Louise Tiler – In the Press Louise Tiler – In the Press
AWARDS

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Prestigious Textiles award from the Bradford Textile Society
Tigerprint online card competition for Marks & Spencer
Surtex International design competition ‘Designex’ in New York
Historical Textile Competition 2011
Mary Porta’s Design Search
New Designer of the Year in 2011 London

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Artist Inspiration : WENDY KENDALL

When I first saw one of Wendy Kendall’s quirky, bright and cheerful designs on Pinterest, I was enchanted immediately. Her designs have clean lines, clear imagery, a delightful palette of non-primary colours with a retro, almost mid-century/Swiss graphic feel to them, a childlike element of playfulness. What’s not to like? Wendy creates designs for homewares, especially textile and wallpaper. Her work is licensed by several companies around the world. Getting my own work licensed and seeing my own designs on decorative homewares is my main ambition, too, and I am inspired by Wendy’s talent, creativity and success.

Here is the link to Wendy’s website Wendy also keeps a blog, so why not follow her there too, the link is on the front page of her website.

In Wendy’s own words, taken from her introduction on her page, with images courtesy of Google:

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I am a freelance surface pattern designer based from home, just outside Stone in Staffordshire UK. Since graduating from the University of Derby, where I specialised in print design, I have worked as a bedding/nursery designer for several UK manufacturers situated in the North West.

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With over ten years experience at senior design level in this field, I now freelance and work closely with an Indian exporter,on bespoke briefs for UK home textile clients and on building my licensed range of products,which currently include bedding and textiles,wallpaper,blinds and fabric collections.

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I am also one quarter of Dotty Wren Studio….we are a brand new studio comprising of four UK designers who will be launching our new collections to sell and license at Surtex in NYC in May 2014.

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Please feel free to browse our site and blog and get in touch if you would like to meet with us in May at Surtex on our stand no 834.

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I have a simplistic, graphic, clean design approach that mixes playful patterns/textures with quirky handrawn outlines. I love the use of bold colours against bright whites and I particularly enjoy creating designs for children, I am able to design across all areas of home textiles but really would welcome briefs and licensing enquiries from all product areas.

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I hope you enjoy looking through my work… please feel free to contact me.

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The Sartorial Butterfly

So there I was standing in the Salvo’s thrift shop in Subiaco not 2 weeks ago, going through the shelves of books and bric-a-brac. My eyes passed over a stack of old dressmaking patterns lying in a basket on one of the shelves, but my hands stopped. A ludicrous idea popped unannounced into my head. I’m rather prone to these flights of fancy, but this particular one was exemplary.

I opened up one of the printed envelopes containing patterns for a dress. I expected cut pieces to fall out, but instead the pattern was completely intact. Which meant it had never been used. Hooray for me!

Wait, no, I’m not about to dive into dressmaking. I could never make out what was what, and besides, I have a love-hate relationship with my sewing machine. I keep it locked up in the shed. It is so well hidden I can’t remember where I put it.

No, the ludicrous idea that popped into my head then asked these questions:

1) would dressmaking paper take inkjet printing well? It is after all made of tissue paper.
2) would the tissue be strong enough to take the weight of inkjet inks?
3) The pattern designs could make for interesting mixed media art when combined with my own photographic manipulations. Or would they look too weird?
4) would the yellow tint on the aging paper detract from my images?
5) how many A4 and A3 pieces could I possibly cut from one packet of patterns?

Having asked myself these questions, and having filed them away in my internal “Find Out” list, I proceeded to sift through the dressmaking packets. I struck gold with a couple that contained 3 or even 4 folded up designs inside the one envelope. All in all, I bought 5 packets at $1.99 each.

Back home, I spent a few minutes trying to figure out the best way to cut the tissue paper to size. I could use an A4 piece of cardboard as a template and cut around it, or I could fold the paper into roughly A4 shapes and cut along the folds. The former was going to be time-consuming. The latter appealed more to me, as it had elements of surprise and randomness in it. I love random.

imageOne of the cut tissue paper sheets.

imageI taped the cut tissue paper to my A4 canvas carrier sheet. There was quite a lot of overhang, so I taped that down at the back. After printing, I will simply slide a blade along the sides to free the paper from the carrier sheet. (The marks and splodges you see are only on the carrier sheet, from many passes through my printers, which sometimes misbehave and streak, and the wiggly lines down the middle are from the repositionable gluestick I use to tack the tissue paper to the carrier sheet. Incidentally, I use both sides of the carrier sheet interchangeably).

imageOne of the printed sheets and a gessoed wooden cradled board ready to receive it. I will use a combination of gesso and acrylic gel medium to adhere the tissue to the board. (I used to use Mod Podge but it worked out too expensive).

imageHere are 5 that I printed earlier. I sprayed them with workable fixative to prevent the inks from straying off the paper.

imageI had 3 gessoed boards prepared already, so I chose 3 of the printed images to adhere to the boards.

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The following show the digital images followed by their mixed media results on board:

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And, to answer my questions above:
1. Yes, dressmaking pattern tissue paper takes inkjet printing exceptionally well.
2. Yes, the tissue is thin yet robust enough to handle the weight of inks.
3. I love the randomness of the results, the text and diagrams on the tissue paper add heaps of appeal to the mixed media look.
4. The yellowness of the tissue paper is hardly noticeable, apart from imparting a vintage tint to the overall look. I shall compensate by adjusting my processed images to contain brighter colours.
5. I got 16 approximately A4 sized sheets from 1 packet of dressmaking patterns.

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Workflow : MARIPOSA AZUL

Mariposa is Spanish for Butterfly. Azul is Spanish for Blue. I was on Pinterest the day I created this, gathering images of the Principality of Asturias in Spain where I’d lived from 2005-2007, and I guess my mind must have still been on Spain. I hope some day to be able to go back to visit my beloved Asturias, with her fabulous mountain scenery, historical architecture, culture, music, gaita bagpipes, fabada, cheeses and apple cider, and the friendliest people I’ve ever met. Maybe someday I’ll camp again at that campsite opposite the private zoo in my adopted hometown of Cangas de Onis, just so I can hear the dawn and dusk chorus of the wolves there. Or visit the beautiful basilica of Covadonga, which is postcard perfect and the birthplace of the Spanish Reconquista.

I must write about my Adventures in Asturias soon, but for now here is my workflow describing how I created MARIPOSA AZUL.

I used these 2 photos of scrapbooking papers the basis for the image. Notice that the 1st image contains part of a map with the words “Spanish” on it.

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I used the App “Smoothie” to increase the brightness, saturation, sharpness and contrast of both images. I also changed the hues of both images, and rotated the 2nd image.

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Next, I used the App “PicsArt” to blend the two images together.
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I then added the blue butterfly wing. (I’d just prepared over 150 new butterfly clipart using photos of taxidermy butterflies from the natural history section of the Museum of Western Australia in Perth). After adding the butterfly, I tweaked the brightness, contrast and saturation of the image some more.

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Using the App “Repix”, I obliterated the entire image using the Drips, Daubs, Chalk, Hollywood, Vintage and Freshen brushes. And then excavated and revealed it back again using the Undoer brush. I deliberately left some drip marks behind, to impart a painterly feel.
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I processed the image once more using “Smoothie” to add saturation, bringing out the blues of the butterfly wing more. And here we have it: MARIPOSA AZUL. My tribute to Asturias.

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Origin Wallpapers

A while back, I wrote about trying out my own handmade wallpapers. I then set about researching printers and/or printing methods and papers that would let me achieve this. I discovered that my Epson Artisan 1430 printer could do banner printing. But. And this was a big But…The Beast only gave me one test banner print (wrongly sized, my bad) and one decent print (correctly sized, yay!) before deciding to pack its bags and go home. I’m not in the mood to try and coax it to work properly right now. So that project will have to wait until a rainy day when I have nothing better to do. Life’s too short to be battling The Beast all day.

On the Easter weekend just gone, the Kid and I were in Fremantle, and stumbled across MANY 6160. Tucked away in a corner were a couple of panels of handmade wallpaper, and information about the artists. I was interested enough to take a snapshot of the blurb, to investigate later.

So here we are today. I found out the company is actually based in Perth, Western Australia, my own stomping ground. It’s called Origin Wallpapers. Some day I shall have to pay a visit there, but for now I’ve been looking at their wares and specifically their stable of artists. My angle was to try and find out if I could possibly get my designs licensed with them.

If you just want to buy an Origin Wallpapers design, it’s a flat rate of $65 per metre, regardless of which design you choose. That’s a bit steep, but considering that Origin Wallpapers can scale the design up or down to fit your requirements, unlike generic wallpaper that you pick up at your local hardware store, it’s a price well worth it. Especially if you’ve fallen in love with a particular design. All their wallpapers are pre pasted, pvc free and made to measure.

Here’s a screen shot of the artists signed with Origin Wallpapers:

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If you’re a wallpaper or textile designer, whether established or aspiring, Origin Wallpapers is always on the lookout for new artists to join them. So why not drop them a line?

Feast your eyes on just some of Origin Wallpapers’ offerings here:

Joan McElmore "Meadow Song"
Joan McElmore “Meadow Song”

 

Inna Ogando "Pajaros Cages Autumn Pink Bird"
Inna Ogando “Pajaros Cages Autumn Pink Bird”

 

Lotti Rawle "Under The Sea"
Lotti Rawle “Under The Sea”

 

Hayley Crann "Ocelot"
Hayley Crann “Ocelot”

 

Jelien Veenstra "Bags and Pouches"
Jelien Veenstra “Bags and Pouches”

 

Alisa Foytik "Wild Flowers"
Alisa Foytik “Wild Flowers”

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Trending Now: Collaborative Textiles

By this I mean the emergence of several companies that share some common characteristics, namely:

a) they offer designs on fabrics
b) the designs are selected from winning entries of competitions open to members
c) competition participants vote for their favourite designs, and further raise the profile of the company by publicising this via social media
d) prizes include getting the winning design produced as an item of clothing eg scarf, dress etc, and the designer getting a shout out or a cash prize.

These so-called “collaborative” textile companies are what I believe to be the young upstarts of a new trend.

Here are just some “collaborative” companies that I know of, in no particular order. Please note I am unable to vouch for the reputations of these; these are the ones I’ve submitted designs to for contests or stumbled across on my internet searches. I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to find several more like them online yourself.

Constrvct http://www.constrvct.com

Front Row Society
http://www.frontrowsociety.com

Textile Federation
http://www.textilefederation.com

Only time will tell if this trend kicks off and continues to capture the imagination of the public, or whether it is just a phase. It certainly is one way of democratizing the art of textile designing, making it accessible to anyone with a smart device or computer and the motivation to participate.

As I write this, Front Row Society’s current competition has the theme of “Typography”. Here is the link.

Textile Federation is currently running a competition called “Entomology”, with the theme of insects. Here is the link if you’re interested in participating.

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Lastly, here is an Australian-residents-only competition, by Digital Fabrics, for my Antipodean readers.

http://www.digitalfabrics.com.au/botanical-extract/

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More info for those seeking to License their Art

http://blog.studiovox.com/blog/archive/2013/08/20/top-60-art-licensing-agencies-earn-more-from-your-creative-portfolio.aspx

Another treasure trove of links, this time to 60 top licensing agents.  For those of you who perhaps, like me, are wanting to get their art licensed but have been banging their head against a wall at the distinct lack of clarity and information out there.

These all appear to be US-based, I have yet to find a site that lists licensing agents in Australia and South East Asia. So, unfortunately for people like myself, I will have to reach out just that much farther, due to lack of opportunities on my own home shores. C’est la vie!

Here’s the list, if you can’t wait to click on the link above. I haven’t included the hyperlinks, as you can do that yourself from the website itself, or simply Google the names.

AD Lines, European Group
American Art Images
Ansada Group
Art Impressions Media Group
Art in Motion
Artistic Design Group
Artistic Licensing
Art of Possibilities Studios
Art Works! Licensing
Art Visions
Bentley Licensing Group
Bon Artique
Buffalo Works
Courtney Davis
Coyote Red Licensing Group
CP Licensing
Creatif Licensing
Creative Connection, Inc.
Cypress Fine Art Licensing
DSW Licensing Company
Fame Farm
Gelsinger Licensing
Hadley Licensing
Heflinreps.com
Image by Design Licensing
Image Source Creative Portfolio Licensing
Intercontinental Licensing
Jewel Branding and Licensing
JMS Art Licensing, LLC
JQ Licensing
Joan Crawley Gallery, Ltd
Kids-Did-it! Designs
Licensing Liaison
Lifestyle Licensing
Lilla Rogers Studio
Linda McDonald, Inc.
Leo Licensing
London Portfolio
Looking Good Licensing
Magnet Reps
Main Line Art and Design, LLC
Meehan Design Group
MGL Licensing
MHS Licensing
Montage Licensing
Mosaic Art Licensing Agency
Next Day Art
Northern Promotions, Inc.
Painted Planet Licensing Group
Parcai Designs
Penny Lane Publishing
PM Design Group Inc.
Porterfield’s Fine Art Licensing
Roarding Brook Art
Rosenthal Represents
Ruth Levison Design
Sagebrush Fine Art
Sequel Designs and Licensing
SKM Portfolio
Studio Voltaire
Suzanne Cruise Creative Services, Inc.
The Good Portfolio
TSB & Co.
Two Town Studios
Wild Apple Licensing

And while you’re at it, search the names above in YouTube because several of them (Lilla Rogers springs to mind immediately) have some pretty good videos about the subject of Art Licensing.

Google “Surtex” too, for a wealth of information…or, if you’re lucky enough, head for the expo itself this May 18-20.

SURTEX 2014

If you missed last year’s conferences, you can buy the videotapes of the sessions here: http://www.surtex.com/TheShow/2013ConferenceProgram/tabid/360/Default.aspx