Monday, December 21, 2015

Bo's bLAWg - Certificates of Authenticity



MJ Bogatin (“Bo”) of Bogatin, Corman & Gold, is an Arts and Entertainment Attorney in San Francisco.  He is also Co-President of California Lawyers for the Arts.  Bo is available to answer some of your questions surrounding the business of Art Licensing. - THANKS BO!



It’s that time of year – the time of year when I am privileged to receive Seasons Greetings from  many of my wonderful artist clients.  And one I received yesterday reminded me of an issue that should be of interest to all of You artists:  Certificates of Authenticity

Often, I receive a gift that is clearly a print, but there is no specific information accompanying it other than the artist’s copyright notice and a note.  As an attorney, seeing that the artist has included a copyright notice on the artwork is good, but as a collector, I am interested to know more about the subject matter of the work and the medium:  lithograph, serigraph, pochoir, monoprint, monotype, etching, woodcut, screenprint, digital print or counterproof?  (Yeah, I Googled “kinds of prints.”  Even so, I DO want to know!)

And, if applicable, for valuation and insurance purposes, I need to know the specifics of the Fine Print Edition.  This is where Certificates of Authenticity come in to play.

There are more kinds of prints than ever before.  Unless the recipient of a gift reproduction is provided information about it, there is no way for them to know how truly special it might be. From time to time we also hear that someone has issued a fraudulent edition of some famous artist’s image, and the market has been flooded with prints that may or may not be authentic, damaging collectors and destroying the market for that artist or her Estate.

In California, this problem was so prevalent that the Legislature decided to do something about it.  They passed a Fine Print Disclosure Law that not only protects “consumers” (buyers), but the value of the entire edition for collectors and artists alike.  In short, Civil Code Section 1740 et seq provides that retailers of Fine Prints and limited edition sculptures and photographs priced at more than $25, unframed, must provide purchasers with basic information about the edition.  This law provides for disclosure in writing of not only the identity of the artist, but the medium, whether the multiple is a limited and if so the number of multiples in the limited edition, the time when the multiple was produced, and if a “plate” is used, what becomes of it.  (i.e. Is the plate destroyed so that a new edition cannot be made from it?)  See:

The consumer remedies in the event a seller does not comply with this law is return of the artwork and a full refund regardless of any claim that “All sales are final.”  If an art dealer in California willfully fails to provide this information, they can be liable for three times the value of the work, and a civil penalty of up to $1,000.  And if the buyer has to sue to enforce these statutory remedies, they will be entitled to recover their attorneys’ fees and costs!

While there may not be exactly comparable statutes in your state, I still strongly recommend the use of Certificates as a way to both inform people about your prints and impress them with your business acumen.  The client who brought me his multiple customized his Certificate and made it a collectible in its own right.  (See above.)  However, the form of the Certificate can be quite simple and straightforward, including the following information, which you can copy and paste:

Compliant with California Civil Code §1744

Title:    _____________________
Artist/Photographer:    _____________________
Signature:    Each print is hand signed.
Release:    [December] 201_
Copyright:    © 201_ ___________________
Description of Edition:    Limited Edition of ____ [11x14] prints plus Artist Proofs.
Print Date:    [December] 201_
Print Size:    [11x14]

A few words about this image:

This is to certify that all information and the statements contained herein are true and correct. I created this fine art multiple from [photographic matter]. [This image is printed on archival paper, and with proper care your artwork should last over 100 years.]
___________________________        ___________________
Artist                        Date

So, make your holiday Limited Edition print gifts even that more desirable by providing a Certificate of Authenticity.  Especially to your attorney! 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is not intended as legal advice. Because the law is not static, and one situation may differ from the next, we cannot assume responsibility for any actions taken based on information contained herein. Also, be aware that the law may vary from state. Therefore, this website cannot replace the advice of an experienced attorney. Receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. MJ Bogatin, Bogatin, Corman & Gold,


Friday, December 18, 2015

Behind the Scenes of Waterways Art Collection - Muted Colors

Happy Friday Creative Souls!

I have done a few post where I let you in behind the scenes :-) For this post, I am focusing on muting the images in Photoshop for a yummy twist! There is a link under the second photo to a similar post, so you can see how I paint a bit backwards in order to get a lot of icons to play with in an art collection. (click images to view larger).

I always start with sketches, some I color a bit with color pencil. In the end, I have 21 icons and 8 paintings. For example, the lighthouse above is a painting, the anchor is an icon. I also painted 2 backgrounds: An ocean/sky background and a background of circles.

Here are some progress photos of one of the paintings. Most of the time I paint the 'icon' first (in this case the sailboat) and scan it in, then finish the painting and scan the finished piece. If you want to see more of this process check out this post: Behind the Scenes: Building a Painting in a Collection.

I didn't like the large cloud! :-)

SO, to add a twist I soften the colors in Photoshop. I chose a simple way to do this. In Photoshop, open up the original painting scan. In the file menu, click on 'image', scroll down to 'hue/saturation'. Turn down the saturation to mute the colors.

Now I need to set up some repeat patterns and product mocks for this collection!

How many paintings do you paint in a collection (or central images :-) ? More? Less?
Thank you for visiting, commenting sharing on social media - this is a fantastic community of artists we are apart of!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Agent Spotlight - Jan Draheim, Painted Planet Licensing Group

I got to know Jan and a couple of her team members at Surtex last spring - What a treat! - NOTE, click images to view larger.


How long have you been in business and how did you come to be an agent?
My family founded an arts and craft supply distribution company, Viking Woodcrafts, Inc., 35 years ago. The timing was perfect, as my husband and I had recently moved back to Minnesota from Illinois so I became the first employee. Eight years later Viking Folk Art Publications was formed, a new division focusing on publishing decorative painting books. My husband and I purchased the publishing division in 1996.

Our company published books for artists from all over the world –from Canada and the UK to Australia, Argentina and Japan. Our knowledge and understanding of color and the process of reproduction led us to the exciting world of art licensing, giving us another service to offer our artists. Painted Planet Licensing Group was formed in March of 2004, and today we represent 21 talented artists from around the world. I thoroughly enjoy being surrounded by such beautiful artwork on a daily basis and watching our business grow and evolve.

Do you have help/employees?
We are fortunate to have a great multi-tasking team to assist our artists and licensing partners. Leah Cochran is our Licensing Coordinator. She works hard at matching our extensive library of artwork with the right manufacturer, along with keeping our licensee and contact databases up-to-date. Alyssa Christian serves as both the Public Relations Coordinator and Account Manager, promoting and branding our company and artists via numerous outlets (check out her blog on our website!), while also handling record maintenance and royalty payments. My husband, Larry, is our part-time Accountant.

What do you look for in a manufacturer?
Currently we have strong, long-standing partnerships with manufacturers of various different products—from burton + Burton, who produce gifts for all occasions, to Leanin’ Tree, an industry leader in greeting cards, to tableware manufacturer Certified International and fabric forerunner Red Rooster. We’re always looking for new manufacturers to partner with. Our artists represent a wide variety of styles, allowing us to satisfy the needs of a diverse range of companies.

Quality of products, good communication and willingness to promote the artist’s name or brand are some of the key elements that we look for in a new manufacturer. Establishing a good working relationship is critical to everyone involved. There’s always a risk involved when signing a contract with a company we’ve never worked with before but we’ve found that some of our most profitable ventures and strongest partnerships have stemmed from taking that risk.

Do you prefer royalty deals? Flat fee?  
Typically we prefer royalty deals versus flat fee but there are times when a flat fee can be the right route to take. If the production run is small, sometimes the guaranteed flat fee is better. Also, there are some card companies, and companies that print for non-profit groups, that will only pay a flat fee. It’s important to weigh all factors of the specific situation when negotiating a fair payment. Whether signing a royalty or flat fee agreement, we advise our artists against selling their images outright in order to allow them the flexibility of licensing the same artwork again in the future for different products.

How do you market artists? Who pays for this? Anything different for new artists?
One of the most substantial ways we market our artists is by exhibiting at Surtex every year and occasionally at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas. We also meet with art directors year round—at their offices, twice a year at the Atlanta Gift Mart, at the Houston Quilt Market and usually a specialty show such as the Chicago Housewares Show. We’re in constant communication with existing and potential clients, responding to hundreds of callouts a year and submitting artwork to companies for consideration on a weekly basis. We frequently send out mailings and e-mail newsletters to promote new artwork or a new artist.

We’ve recently revamped our website, making it easier for art directors to navigate portfolios and stay up-to-date with new artists, upcoming shows we’ll be at, etc. Our new blog, Painted Planet Perspective, features a monthly “Artist Spotlight” interview. We have an ever-growing social media presence, marketing our artists daily via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. We also encourage our artists to maintain their own personal websites, blogs and social media, which we link to from our website.

When we sign a new artist we assume all costs for exhibiting at shows, portfolios, advertising, etc. We recoup our costs by sharing any royalty revenue 50/50. Because of our initial investment, the decision to sign a new artist is very deliberate and well thought-out.

What do you look for in an artist?
When considering a new artist, we want to make sure that the artist is bringing something new to the Painted Planet family. We look for artwork that is fresh and on trend, and styles that complement yet don’t compete with what we currently have to offer. We also take into consideration our current licensees to determine whether the artist would be a good fit for them.

Equally as important when considering a new artist is their willingness to put in the necessary hard work and treat this as a job, not just a hobby. Licensing is a commitment, and an artist should be prepared to meet deadlines, be asked to make adjustments to their work to meet a client’s needs, and create new artwork on a regular basis. It’s also extremely helpful if an artist has certain software experience, such as Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator, and has the capability of creating product mockups.

Any advice or other information you would like to share?
My best advice to any artist considering licensing is to take a shopping trip and look at how artwork is being used on products. Can you envision your artwork on similar products? We receive submissions from some artists who produce amazing fine art but the licensing possibilities are too limited. Don’t become discouraged if your first submissions to a licensing agency or manufacturer are rejected. If licensing is truly something you want to pursue, do the research, ask the questions, be flexible, and keep refining and working on your artwork.

I feel very fortunate to be able to sit in my office, look around, and see the fruit of all our years of hard work adorning the walls and shelves. I get just as excited opening a new box of samples now as I did opening the very first one over 10 years ago.

You can find Jan:

Phone:  (507) 835-8009

I REALLY appreciate all of you that help spread the word about my blog. Happy Holidays!

Do you want to be spotlighted? Send me an email:
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Friday, December 4, 2015

Artist Spotlight - Kimberly Baxter Packwood

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self-taught?
A little bit of both actually.  My aunt taught me how to stitch at the age of seven and my paternal grandmother taught me how to hand sew and use a treadle Singer sewing machine at the age of nine.  I continued to seek out different crafting techniques until the 1990’s when I switched my degree from Chemistry to Art Craft Design at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I’m a Mixed Media Fiber Artist and have recently started licensing my designs.

For the past twenty plus years I have worked with natural dyes, rust, earth pigments, and oxides on fabric which I then further embellish with hand and machine stitching.  My work depicts the prairie and plains both in ancient times and in modern times with corn as the unifying theme.

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
I gather inspiration from where ever I am at the moment. My favorite place to visit is a natural marsh and native prairie north of Ames where migrating birds come to nest and feed every year.

I’m intrigued with the microscopic world of lichens, mosses, and liverworts; these lifeforms inform the base texture of each piece I create.  I spend a lot of time studying birds, cows, bison, corn, native plants, and the wind, which figures predominantly in my work. 

What are you working on now?
Currently I am taking an online drawing class which has been a wonderful refresher, given that my last drawing class was some twenty years ago now.  It has caused an intense need to re-examine my work, the corn, crow, and bison pieces, so I’ve been drawing a lot recently exploring these subjects in a way that stitch doesn’t allow due to time and material constraints.

The other project I’ve been working on is mastering Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop so that I can digitize my original art into repeat patterns, and designs for fabric, paper, household goods, and the gift market.

Any great advice for our readers?
Advice No. 1:  Don’t be afraid to go back to the fundamentals of art.  Take a beginning drawing, painting, lettering, or design class.  There is much to learn again and now you will see it through the eyes of experience.

Advice No. 2: Observe.  Be still, listen, what do you hear, smell, taste, see, or feel?  All of this information informs your artwork, study it and your work will reflect this valuable information.

Anything else you would like to share with us?
Don’t give up! If at first you are told no, just keep asking!  It took two years from the time I submitted my first design to the time I saw my first royalty check.  Don’t give up, these things don’t happen overnight!!!

Are you an early riser or night owl?
I’m a Night Owl and have been for the better part of thirty years now, my best works occur late in the evening/night when there are no distractions like a ringing phone.

What is your favorite food?
My current favorite food is Sushi and Raman bowls the real stuff not the stuff in the package.

You can find Kimberly:  
You can also find me on facebook, twitter, flickr, linkedin, instagram, and youtube @kbaxterpackwood

"Fear is an addiction to failure". - kbaxterpackwood

I REALLY appreciate all of you that help spread the word about my blog <3

Do you want to be spotlighted? Send me an email:
Make my day and follow this blog :-D Don't want to miss the good stuff? Sign up for my newsletter ;-)

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