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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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Print  A promotional piece designed with some of my collections for the upcoming Surtex Show

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. 

retro fish patternOne of my happy patterns “Retro Fish” available for licensing at the show

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.

Autumn Foliage_2A page from my portfolio showing how my designs might look on products

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”.


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Keith & I circa 1983- who was crazy enough to let two 21 year olds deliver a brand new rolls royce to florida?

Back in 1983 I met the man I’ve proudly called my husband for the last 25 years. We met on St.Paddy’s Day, yep you guessed it, at a bar. What can I say we both have Irish in our bloods. That was over 29 years ago and I wouldn’t change a thing. We’ve managed to raise four beautiful kids,beautiful on the inside and the outside. We’ve had our struggles and challenges just as any marriage or family does. Many times those challenges were met head on using the talents God had granted us.

This past July after many months of trying to figure out why Keith hadn’t been feeling well, he was diagnosed with stage three color-rectal cancer. We were blessed to have the right doctors put on our team from both University of Penn in Philly and St. Mary’s Hospital in Newtown. After a months rest from his six weeks of daily chemo and radiation treatments, we head to the city tomorrow to tackle step two on this journey, surgery.

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Keith and one of our beautiful children, Kayla at her prom.

To say that this journey has been filled with its challenges is putting it mildly, but I think that one of the biggest has been the financial cost. Even though we are fortunate to be able to have good health insurance, like many others it comes with a cost in very expensive co-pays and deductibles. To add a little more humor, our insurance runs August through July, not the January to December like most plans, so you guessed it, all the fees paid up until the final diagnoses in July were wiped out once we began treatment.

Not being one to cry and whine about the hand we were dealt, I began to try and figure out how to deal with the circumstances. Enter Nuero-Sonic’s bottle design contest. A representative from the company came into the graphic design department at the college I am attending, Moore College of Art and Design in Philly. Turns out the were looking to redesign one of their bottles and we would have a shot at it. The best part was that besides a years supply of Sonic water, they were also offering a $10,000 cash prize, enough to cover our growing medical bills. I quickly got to designing my bottle and promoting it to obtain enough votes to make it into the top 10 and be considered for the final prize.

Social media is magical. How quickly can something travel. How quickly can we find out where someone is in need and how we can help. I’ve diligently be promoting my design on all my social networking outlets, twitter, facebook, instagram, you name it. So I thought today as we get down to the end to the end of the contest, why not write my blog around it.

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My bottle design for Nuero-Sonic

Here is my design and here is the link to vote http://www.myneurosonic.com/v/810 . The beauty is you can share my message and vote everyday. Investing about 10 seconds of your time to make a huge difference in a family’s future. Although I am behind in the vote count I still believe in miracles and win or lose, I know that God has given me incredible talents. I am daily I am reminded that with those talents my family and I will be ok. Tomorrow as we head into the city for Keith’s surgery, I will carry with me all the support, prayers and love shown to us by our family, friends and even strangers. And in my heart in know everything will be alright.