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”.
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
Who wouldn’t want to work with someone who is surrounded by so much fun
Recently I attended the annual Surtex show in New York City, a place where creatives gather to sell, promote and network their art. I went hoping to see the trends, get inspired and hopefully network my own art and business. After a very tiring and inspiring day I headed home from the city with a bag full of catalogs, brochures and magazines. Over the next few days I poured over all the info I lugged home on the bus and started to see the same name pop up over and over again. I have long learned that when this happens I need to pay attention. With the universe’s prompting I began to search out the woman named Lilla Rogers. Wow what a creative, inspiring, powerhouse of a woman she turned out to be. Lilla an artist herself is one of the most renowned international talent agents. Representing people like Helen Dardik, Lisa DeJohn and Jenn Ski while working with companies like Paperchase, Blue Q and Crate & Barrel.
Lilla’s new book
Lilla has been an artist forever, but it’s her passion for teaching and helping other artists achieve success that really makes her special. She has an e-course called “Make Art That Sells” that she recently incorporated into a book titled “I Just Like to Make Things”. Determined to grow my business over this summer break as my #1 goal, it made sense to seek out this book. I have to admit I read it in one sitting, engrossed in all of her tips and encouragement. I’ve since reread it a few more times with my highlighter and sticky notes near by.
The universe whispered in my ear again when I came across an announcement that Lilla Rogers Studios would be holding an global talent search to find her next great artist. The winner at the end would be given the opportunity to be represented with her agency for two years. A life changing opportunity. For me it was a no-brainer and I quickly did what was needed to throw my hat into the ring. Just the other day I received my first assignment. Although I am not allowed to say much, I can tell you that I was “briefed to create a playground themed journal cover as if Paperchase were my client”. Oooh, how exciting this was going to be.
Some sketches to get the creative juices flowing
So here’s where you can help me out a bit. When I say the word playground what comes to mind? Is it children laughing, swings and slides or maybe kickball. Let me know what your memories are. In the meantime while I work on my ideas I’ll share a page from my sketchbook as a little teaser. I will share my completed piece with you all after it has been entered. For now if you would like to know more about Ms Rogers and what she does feel free to visit her website at http://lillarogers.com . Wish me luck!