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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
I’ve busy working away in my studio and a little absent from the blog pages,but you’ll soon see why. It’s been almost a year since I walked across the stage at Moore College of Art and Design to receive that long time in coming BFA in graphic design and illustration. I’ve logged in many many hours working with clients, companies and for myself and I see such a vast growth in me and my art in the last 365 days. But the true barometer of my work will take place soon in New York City at Jacob Javits Center. For what you may ask?
May 17th through the 19th many of the world’s great artists, designers, art directors and more gather for the yearly international licensing show , Surtex. There they view the trends, find new art for their products, network and discover new talent. Work that will then be seen in the coming year on fabric, paper, home goods and various other types of products. If it’s a product and has some sort of art or design on it, probably had it’s start there.
The last two years I have attended the show as a spectator, walking what seems like miles of art, vendors and products. Getting my feet wet, networking with people in the industry and trying to understand this business of art licensing. Every year I’ve left with lots inspiration, new friends and tired feet. This year I will be viewing it not as a spectator but as an actual participant.
One of the things I did this last year for my business was join the Cultivate Art Agency. A wonderful group of artists from around the world represented together in the business of art, design and illustration. The agency along with it’s sister organization, the Cultivate Art Collective, will descend upon the floor of Javits Center with their enthusiasm and plentiful portfolios. I am fortunate this year to be an exhibiting artists in attendance. We will take up residence for the 3 days in booth #222, one of the largest booths there. I’ve managed to create and cull together over 50 design collections to be shown by my agent and shared with the design community. To say I’m a little nervous is an understatement, but honestly I think I am so full of happiness, that I get to share with the world what truly makes me happy and if that brings happiness to others then all the hard work will have been worth it.
So the great count down does begin, to the launch and lift off of my art and designs. Here’s hoping with fingers and toes crossed that the collections are well received. Wish me luck or maybe being so close to Broadway it should be “break a leg”.
As many of you know I went back to school a few years ago to complete an art degree started in my much younger days. That journey was completed this last May when I graduated magna cum laude from Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia with my BFA in graphic design and illustration. At times it was a challenge balancing working full time, going to school full time, being a mom of 4 and a wife, but truly loved almost every minute of it, especially learning new skills and techniques and challenging myself to reach far into my creative depths. A few days after graduation I was already missing that, enter the Make it in design group.
Make it in design is an organization and website started by designer Rachel Taylor. She runs a blog, a school and the magazine “MOYO” that’s the go to for people in the surface pattern design world. I read Rachel’s magazine and blogs and love learning from her expertise. She also runs several online classes through her design school. I have looked at them often and dreamed of one day being able to take a class or two with her. While perusing her blog I noticed an announcement for a summer school program that would give those who registered the opportunity to be challenged with the briefs at three different skill levels. Needless to say I jumped at the chance.
Our first design brief had a sunny color palette and a geometric theme
As part of the brief we were asked to show the designs on swimwear
I was shocked to learn that almost 5000 artist from around the world had registered to participate in this new summer school experience. I was mixed with excitement and a little apprehension not knowing quite what I had gotten myself into.
Brief two gave us a new palette to draw from and a theme of animal prints
My take on what an animal print might look like
What has unfolded over the last few weeks has been wonderful. A FB community was started and artists from around the world began to communicate with each other. Sharing their works in progress, their fears,encouragement for each other and at times impromptu tutorials on the finer idiosyncrasies of the Adobe programs.
The briefs have been fun and challenging, pushing me to learn and explore more from myself. The first week we were given an appropriate summer color palette to use and and the request to display our designs on swimwear. My completed design reminded me of both the disco and art deco periods. The second brief challenged me to create an animal print, not something I would go to normally. So I designed a take on the traditional animal print and placed them inside elephants, then lined them up. I was surprised to learn that a group of elephants is actually called a parade. Who knew?
The Final brief inspired by feathers
Displayed as wallpaper
Our final brief was sent a few days ago. Again with a suggested color palette and the instructions to create a feather inspired design. I started playing with the what you would traditionally think of when someone says the word “feathers”. But allowing myself to have fun and the permission to play and explore, I ended up going in a totally different direction. Creating digital feathers and arranging them into a pleasing pattern. Overall I have loved every minute of the designing, networking and friendship building that has occurred. I’ve enjoyed the inspiration this opportunity has supplied and I look forward to working further with my new design friends and watching their design careers blossom.
If you would like more information on the summer school or if you want to look at some of the fabulous work created go to http://bit.ly/1prRgAf and check them out. You’ll be inspired too. So excuse me now while I go enjoy the last bit of the official summer and celebrate my success in summer school.
Recently I read a post that shared the creative work spaces of some of the most talented individuals of my lifetime. Authors like Virgina Woolf and Roald Dahl, as well as artists such as Pablo Picasso and Georgia O’Keefe. It was wonderful to get a peek into their private creative sanctuaries. It also made me take a closer look into own creative sanctum and observe my own rituals and habits.
I am very fortunate to work my design business from home and after many years of floating around the house from room to room and desk to dining room table, I wanted a more stable space. So when a few children had left home and my daughter moved into her brother’s bigger room, I have landed in my own room. A space that puts a smile on my face just by walking through the door, it helps me realize how grateful I am after many years, to do what I love, and now I get to do that in a place with all its little quirks, makes me giddy with creative delight.
Here’s my special place, I like to give you the grand tour. Our home is a very old stone farmhouse, built in 1796, so she has a lot of charm and special features. From the pumpkin pine floor boards, deep windowsills and fireplaces. She has an energy of her own and as I recently said to a friend I often hug her and thank her for all she bestows upon my family and myself. You’ll notice the mosaic in the old fireplace, as I said this was once my daughter’s room and she and I created a fun piece of sea life artwork in the closed up hearth. My collection of snow globes and family photos grace the mantle.
I love hand me downs and I was able to re-purpose much of the furniture she had outgrown. I have a bookshelf that’s composed of simple target cubbies that I screwed together and added crown molding to. A vintage dresser whose drawers work perfectly for storage and flat files. I use her discarded ikea desk as my work table. Vintage shelves with a new coat of paint hold my inspirations.
What are the things that spark your creativity? Do you have any rituals that you do before you begin? What are the things that you like to surround yourself with? My husband thinks that I hoard too many “things”, but what creative can say that those things that light your imagination are products of some deep seated hoarding. I love to have images of the my friends and my children’s creativity, wherever I look. You’ll spy my daughter’s early fashion drawings or pieces gifted to me by my friends at Moore College of Art and design. I love to pause before I begin my work day, light some incense and acknowledge the blessings in my life and ask for inspiration.
If you look around my creative space you’ll notice things I enjoy collecting, things of beauty and things that help to ground me.
My daughter’s tea set and my Grandmother’s powder boxes.
A quiet little nook holds pillows from one of my Society 6 collections and the old window sill holds my collection of cobalt glass and my little altar. But I think the thing that truly helps me throughout the day are my furry little four legged companions, Allie and Sydney. They can be usually found curled up by my feet, chewing on a bone or snoozing on the dog bed.
So what do your creative spaces look like? What inspires you? What are your rituals and who are your companions? I’d love to hear and see them. Maybe together we’ll inspire others by allowing a glimpse into our think tanks. If you’d like to take a look at the post that inspired me, here’s the link. http://www.thinkinghumanity.com/2014/06/workspaces-of-some-of-the-greatest-artists-of-the-world . So now go great something beautiful.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to unveil my senior thesis show, the culmination of many years of study and growth, a journey that has taken me almost 30 years to complete. We had our opening reception for Moore’s Emerging Artists and Designers to over 400 people in the industry and I must say all of the work was warmly accepted. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what my senior thesis project was I’ll give you a quick synopsis. As my final hurrah I wanted to push myself a bit further and take my illustrations more digital and learn the art of surface pattern design, so that after graduation I could step into the world of licensing. I think my final show says it all.
The full display of my collection’s real world application
As apart of my show I wanted to exhibit how the collection I created could be used in the real world. I chose to display the patterns on pillows, mugs, tote bags, rugs, book covers and prints. It was so exciting to see the sketches that I had begun back in January, come to life before my eyes in living color. It was also humbling to receive the compliments and see how warmly the collection was accepted. It was my baby and I was unveiling to the world. Oh and to top it all off I was honored with the Fred Acker Achievement Award in Graphic Design. Overall I’d say it was a great night.
Fred Acker Achievement Award in Graphic Design
The next step on this journey will take place a few weeks from now in NYC, when I attend the annual Surtex show at Jacob Javitis Center. I will go armed with enthusiasm, a willingness to learn, business cards and a mini collection portfolio in hopes of networking with other artist, agents and people in the industry. I attended the show last year to get my feet wet and to learn what I could, this year I will do the more of the same but with a bit more clarity in the direction I want to take my career.
Book jackets incorporating the collection’s patterns and illustrations
Pillows, mugs and rugs
The 2014 Moore College of Art Graphic Design class
But for now I am counting down the days till my long awaited graduation at Moore College of Art and Design, on the journey I began in 1980. I will proudly walk with a group of young women whom I have grown to love and admire. All are amazingly talented artists but most importantly, pure of heart. I thank them all for accepting me as one of their own and for the lessons they have all bestowed upon me. To my wonderful teachers, Gigi McGee, Dorothy Funderwhite, Kerry Polite, Geoff Beatty, John Burns, Dom Saponaro, Tim Ogline, E Bond and Joe Kulka, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and will be forever in your debt for the knowledge, wisdom and support you have shared with me.
Until next time when we chat via my blog try and be a little creative in your own life, I know I will continue to be in mine. To find out more about the items seen on this page please visit my society6 page at http://society6.com/GracefullArtsbyPamHamilton or to learn more about Moore College of Art & Design’s programs go here http://moore.edu
New mug from Society6
It’s been a long journey but the destination is finally within sight. As some of you know I went to art school in the early 80s, receiving my Associates Degree in Fine Art from Bucks County Community College. Then I took a short stop at Tyler School of Art before life had some other ideas. Four children and a long career in the business world found me missing my passion, which was my love of art. So in 2011 I decided to head back to school attending Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, to complete the degree I had started many years ago. The last three years have been a lot of work and at times stressful balancing family, school and work, but I can honestly say that I have loved every minute of this part of the journey.
This month my fellow classmates and I will unveil our senior thesis’ at Moore’s annual Emerging Artist and Designers Show. It begins with an opening night for those in the industry. On April 23rd we get to network and rub shoulders with potential partners and employers while we lay ourselves and our hard won work, out for all to see.
Geometric patterned cell phone cover available at Society6
When asked the question at the beginning of this semester of what we wished to do as our senior thesis project, I had to think long and hard. I asked myself a few questions; 1. What did I still want to learn before I left this great art institution? 2. What did I want to pursue once graduation had commenced in May?, and finally, 3. What did I want to present to the world as my emerging exhibit?
I knew I wanted to merge my love and major of graphic design and illustration. I also wanted to pursue something that has interested me for awhile, licensing and surface pattern design. So with the input of my professors I came up with the idea to create a few collections that I could present their applications of, easily in a show. This would allow me to tweak my design and illustration skills as well as push me to learn something else before I left.
Floral patterned pillow from Society6
I am just about done and ready to “present” myself to the world as a designer and begin on my next path of my creative journey. I hope the world is as happy with my senior collection as I am proud of it. I can look back on this journey and see the growth and changes in me, not just in my creative abilities, but in the person I’ve become. So If you’re in the city and get a chance to pop into the school and see the show you will rewarded by seeing a group of very talented women as they are unveiled to the world as the next great artist and designer. The show information and hours can be seen on the school’s website at, http://www.moore.edu. In the meantime if you want to see more of my collection, pop on over to Society6, where you can see it displayed and available for purchase on many fun products. http://society6.com/GracefullArtsbyPamHamilton Until graduation,Happy shopping!