PrintOne of the pieces available in my Surtex Collections

I’m a little late writing about this recent experience, but as they  say “better late, then never.”  A few weeks ago I had the honor of checking something off my dream bucket list, a chance to show as an exhibiting artist at Surtex. Something I have been dreaming about since my  “what did I really want to be when I grew up moment” a few years ago.

As many of your know when the economy downsized about six years ago and real estate did its “every ten year adjustment”, I took a step back to evaluated my life and my 20+ year real estate career. As much as I had success in my real estate business and loved my career, something was missing. For as long as I could remember creativity was vital. Out of high school I attended college studying fine arts and receiving my associates degree from Bucks County Community College. Then I worked in the print industry for a few years before starting a family and life going in a different direction.

But the creativity always found a way to bubble up to the surface, finding ways to escape. Be it late nights painting on the dinning room table, creating my annual holiday card, rehabbing houses or even with the marketing involved in real estate. So it was no surprise that when faced with life changes, that the creativity won out. My soul wanted to sing again. So I headed back to college at Moore College of Art as the oldest kid in the class and completed my BFA in graphic design and illustration.

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We were all pleasantly surprised when we found out the Collective was represented on the back of the official directory.

Fast forward to the end of May and my journey to New York City to attend Surtex. This show is the largest art licensing show held annually at the Jacob Javitz center. It is a place where artists, agents, art directors, manufacturers and industry insiders meet to network, buy art and find new talent. It is a kaleidoscope of creativity as Surtex,  the National Stationary Show and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair all inhabit the same space for the week.

IMG_0047Our magical booth, that’s my work on the left ,as well as my fun pillows on the chairs.

A  year after graduating and working on freelance work, all the while squeezing in time for my own personal pieces, I was ready to descend on to the next chapter of my career. Armed with a portfolio filled with over 50 new collections I was ready for my debut in the Collective Art Agency booth. I had already walked the show floor the prior two years getting the lay of the land and networking with industry insiders, so I had hoped I was ready.

IMG_9971Me and my baby girl.

This year though I was not only being represented at the show, but I also had the opportunity to share this wonderful  experience and art world with my daughter. Kayla has just finished her first year as a fashion design student at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in NYC. So not only was I able to spend the evenings with her and her room mates, exploring the city, but I now had a place to lay my head at night. Although not too much rest for the weary as the week of Surtex also collided with her finals week and a move into a new apartment. Did I say it was a 5th floor walk-up? So the pillow at night was a welcomed respite.

IMG_0157 Patterns and beauty abound to the artist’s eye in the city, this was on my way to the subway station.

Upon arrival the first morning of the show, I have to admit I got a bit emotional when I eyed the Collective’s booth decked out in all the fantastic art of my fellow collectives and spied my name and artwork up on the panels. The next few days were filled with walking the great grounds of Jacob Javitz Center exploring all the fabulous creativity in all three shows. Networking with new friends and old ones, attending workshops from industry leaders, learning of the upcoming trends and filling up my creative cup till it honestly was running over.

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Pattern and inspiration could be found everywhere  you looked.

I came away with great feedback to my art and a few interested companies looking to work with me and my collections in the future. Also with a validation that those dreams long ago shelved were right to wake up my soul and push to the future. But honestly I think the biggest thing I came away with was such a profound admiration for my young daughter who came late to the creative party, but has found her passion and as excelled in her first year in design school. I watched as she mingled with the other artists, asking questions and engaging in conversations.

Having almost no sewing experience and very little actual art education, she was accepted to not only FIT but also to  Parsons and my alma mater, Moore College of Art. Her hard work has excelled her talents so much. With many late night  3am phone calls in tears to her mama that she wasn’t sure she could do it, she persevered, learned a ton and has created some beautiful pieces, one of which was chosen by the school to be displayed for the fall semester.

kayla coatMy proud mama moment, Kayla’s coat to be displayed this fall at FIT.

I’ve tried to teach my children from the time they were wee ones, that “if you do what you love you’ll never work a day and your life.” I’m slowly taking my own advice. I’ve also tried to teach them to DREAM BIG, you’ll soon see in my next blog post that my oldest son, Dylan is taking that advice too. Overall I can say that this experience has been a success. It has been validation that it’s ok to reinvent myself and important to listen when my soul speaks up, she knows whats she’s talking about. So until next time, take a little time to dream, you’ll never know which of those dreams will come true next. Pam 🙂

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