Friday, January 29, 2016

What I learned from my trip to the AmericasMart in Atlanta

I recently met my agents in Atlanta at the AmericasMart. I didn't stay very long. I was there Thursday afternoon and left Saturday morning. I only saw parts of building 2 where there were a lot of gift manufacturer's show rooms. There are 3 very tall buildings in downtown Atlanta that make up the AmericasMart. If you are looking for trend information - scroll down to the link for Joan Beiriger's blog post, under "Humongous!"

People are just People - The importance of chatting.
I do SO MUCH of my business through email. It is great and efficient. BUT there is value in sitting in on a meeting and hearing a manufacturer's perspective. You can read about it on blogs etc. but listening and watching really brings it home. In my short visit in Atlanta, there were 3 times when I went into a show room just to admire their products and I struck up conversations with the person who approached me asking if I needed help. (Note: I let them know I am an artist and didn't want to keep them from a sale). We swapped business cards and have now sent them art to consider (Julie, my agent sent it :-) . That doesn't happen as easily in a sea of emails.

My agents works their butts off!
We met with a manufacture on Thursday afternoon and I got to see Julie & Mary Ann in action :-) They also let me sit in on a couple of meetings with other manufactures the next day. That day, Julie had back to back meetings. I am very grateful for the opportunity to sit in on meetings and have a much greater appreciation for all that she and do! You just can get a sense of that kind of commitment through email updates with each other.

I think I have been to Surtex 3 times (art licensing show in NYC). It is expensive to go to Surtex! My hotel in Atlanta (near the airport) was only $72 a night. I used Uber for the first time and loved it. A ride from the hotel to AmericasMart ranged from $15 - $18. Depending on how heavy traffic was. That is half a cab ride! I tipped, but it says on their website that tipping isn't necessary.  I like the door to door service, but you could catch the train (MARTA) for even more savings. There is a MARTA station across the street from the AmericasMart.

For a bit I was frustrated that I wasn't staying longer in Atlanta. I realized I just wasn't going to be able to see much of the show. Then it dawned on me - there is SO MUCH to try to see, that taking it in and only seeing a much smaller chunk was so much better than day after day of show room looking and overload. No way I could absorb it all. --Joan Beiriger has a wonderful post if you are interested in market trends here.

Good for the soul
Friday night in Atlanta I hung out with several artist in a nearby hotel bar. I had a diet coke because I was pooped and in serious need of caffeine! :-D I realized that I need to find or start some sort of artists hangout group in my city. It is great to hang with people who don't think it is weird to discuss a certain shade of a particular color. ;-) I am already thinking of going to Atlanta again this July.

Do you go to trade shows? Were you in Atlanta? How was your experience?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Artist Spotlight - Dari Design Studio

Be sure to scroll down and enter to win one of 4 Dari Design Studio mini-journals!

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
Well yes, both! Dariela: If there is one thing I’ve never doubted in my life that will be the fact that I wanted to be a designer. Actually I was already designing anything I could think of by the age of 9. I would draw, paint, make stationery sets and make name stickers for people to keep. By the time I was ready for college Graphic Design was a relatively new career in Venezuela. I never felt I belonged more than how I felt in those classes. It was as if the curriculum was made for me.

Dariana: Everything I know about design I owe it to my mom and my sister. My mom for exposing me to it, and emulating it to me. My sister for patiently teaching me and answering all of my questions for years. That being said I am a self-taught designer. I never went to design school. I hold a BA in Marketing and Advertising. Yet, I am a confirmed eternal student. Addicted to all sort of courses, classes, summits, conferences there could be for creative entrepreneurs.

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
We work in several mediums including both traditional paper and also digital. Our surface pattern designs are a blend of hand-drawn and digital motifs. Dariana has a special love for illustrating with watercolor and watercolor pens. Dariela is a photographer as well as a designer and illustrator artist. We both use Adobe Photoshop, a lot, and Dariela uses Illustrator too.

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
We get our ideas and inspiration from a variety of sources. Dariana: In general I'm inspired by nature, especially animals and flowers. I love to be inspired by patterns and bright compositions. The mix of vintage and modern and all sorts of eye candy gets me really high into creative skies. I got used to working with an inspiration board where I mix some or all current trends I like.

Dariela: I am inspired by design, art and photography and by everyday life's moments. Sometimes I see a design draw itself in my mind just by watching my kids play or after admiring how the light comes in and shines on some objects, on some flowers or on people. Sometimes a delicious treat I'm eating inspires me to appreciate the moment so much I feel like designing with that treat as a subject.

What are you working on now? 
That’s a great question! We are finally back to making art. For the last couple of months we’ve been focusing on the launch of our new website and all the associated marketing activities. That’s a big achievement for us and we were happy to celebrate it, but it’s also exhausting and we are both ready to create new work for licensing!

Also, we are putting the wraps on a new guide for artists to celebrate the empowering effect of kindness in the creative process. It’s called "Standout! – An illustrated and actionable Digital Guide for Artists.” We asked several industry experts to collaborate by providing tips and we are creating beautiful illustrations and actionable steps to accompany their tips. The guide will be available from our licensing website ( later this month. To get all the news about this project and receive this guide and more collaboration projects you can sign up for our mailing list here.

Any great advice for our readers?
This might not be a piece of advice but more a perspective of life that we think is worth sharing. Practicing mindfulness and awareness into our creative journey has brought pleasant results to our quality of life. Because when we manage to be aware of what’s happening, we are the observer and not the judge (that judges others or ourselves). We noticed something special happens when we are able to judge less and instead notice or stay curious more by embracing the observer role. Our creative juices and ideas stay handy. The creative process flows better. The passage through the “unknown dark phase” inherent to the creative process suddenly doesn't feel so uncomfortable.
Mindfulness can be practiced in many ways. I started by just searching for the word and finding plenty of information and exercises to include in my daily practice.

Anything else you would like to share with us?
Dariana: I would love to be your friend on Periscope and on Snapchat. I’m looking to connect (my word for 2016 is connect) with more creative entrepreneurs, artists and all kinds of caring and loving people this year. If you would like to get in touch with me just to say hi or to share something fun send me an email at

Dariela: I also have a blog MamiTalks where I love to share my family life in English and Spanish. This is something that started when I had my first born (I have 2 kids now, the oldest is 9 y/o).  I love to keep it, through the years it has brought me friendships, new experiences and even new challenges in design and photography. MamiTalks is like my other casa in the world wide web!

Are you an early riser? or night owl?

Dariana: I am an early riser, but I used to be a night owl until 2 or 3 years ago.
Dariela: I am a night owl but I like to rise early too, LOL! I like to wake up early but not super early. Usually before all my family is up!

What is your favorite food?
Dariana: My favorite food is a good vibrant salad. I also love the traditional food from Venezuela.
Dariela: I love breakfast food! A good omelet with lots of veggies, toast with peanut butter.

You can find Dari Design Studio:

You can reach us through our new licensing website at, or via email at We are on lots of social media channels, check out our About page for links to those, we’d love to connect with your readers! Also sign-up for our mailing list here for our design studio news and here for our licensing news!

New Year Giveaway! Starts Friday January 22. Ends Friday January 29th 2016. Tell your friends!

You can enter once a day, I will post the winners after they have been verified. Must be 18 years or older and United States resident. See terms below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 January 29th, 2016. Winners have been notified. Several didn't respond. Faye M & Jenn N. won! Thanks to all of you who entered :-D

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

Do you want to be spotlighted? Send me an email:
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Terms and Conditions: Giveaway ends January 29thth, 2016 at 12:00 a.m. CDT. Open to Residents of the US only. Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes. Winner will be selected by and be notified by email. Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Please note that and Ann Troe is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. I have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. I will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 30 days for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you. The product provided for the review was free of charge from the company. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Blogger, Instagram and Google+ or any other site are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone. I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Bo's bLAWg - The California Resale Royalty Act

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!


Since it is in the news and an issue dear to my heart, I wanted to comment this month on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this week to decline to hear the appeal of last year’s Ninth Circuit decision striking down part of the California Resale Royalty Act (RRA). (See CA Civil Code Section 986: )

This unique California statute provides for artists to be paid a modest royalty (5%) on the re-sale of their artwork at an increased price over the re-seller’s purchase price. The statute was one of several that benefit artists that my organization, California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA), helped get passed in the late 1970’s.
California is unique in having passed this statute, although it is common in Europe. At its core, it is intended to compensate visual artists for the appreciation in value of their previously-sold works, which appreciation is the result of the artist’s wider acclaim, usually earned through hard work over the years. If the value of the artwork has not increased in value, no royalty is due; if it has, only 5% is to be paid over to the Artist by the Re-Seller. Until recently, the statute applied only on re-sales of fine art in California or by a California Seller.

The RRA came under legal attack in 2012 in response to a lawsuit filed against the major auction houses (Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and eBay) by Chuck Close, the Estates of Sam Francis and Robert Graham, other established artists based on the fact that they were not being paid their resale royalty on out-of-state sales of artworks owned by California Sellers. There was a concerted effort by the auction houses to have the RRA deemed unconstitutional as violating the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This clause reserves to Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. A Federal Judge agreed with the auction houses and an appeal was taken.

On appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a split ruling, it was decided on esoteric grounds that part of the RRA that applies to out-of-state sales violates ‘the negative grant of power to Congress under the Commerce Clause’ (The “Dormant Commerce Clause), to restrain the authority of individual states to impose regulation of commerce in other states. In short, even if one party is a Californian, imposing the royalty obligation on the auction house in a New York sale would violate the Dormant Commerce Clause. The ruling left intact the right of California to impose the resale royalty on California sales, but the damage was done. It was this Appeals Court ruling that the artists and CLA sought be reviewed by the US Supreme Court, that the Supremes declined to reconsider.

While disappointing, this is not the end of the matter. There have been attempt to pass a Federal Resale royalty Act that would apply to all the states and provide such royalties to all artists.  Although the statute has been proposed three times to Congress, it has yet to get a hearing. Perhaps with the publicity around this decision will cause artists to become more vocal about their right to such royalties. After all, if composers can continue to earn royalties on the public performance of their works, why shouldn’t visual artists?!?

Or, artists can do what I recommend: Put a resale royalty provision in your art sales contracts. It need not be limited to 5%, either! My sales contracts require re-sellers to pay 15% on the profit of their re-sale, and to pass on this obligation to the purchaser of the work of art so the same obligation applies on future re-sales. You want to see the provision?  I’d be glad to share it with you. Just let me know!

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, January 8, 2016

Artist Spotlight - Gail Green

(Click images to view larger.)

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
I have been drawing my entire life, starting when I was old enough to hold a crayon. As a toddler, I was absorbed with color, especially combinations and patterns. Although my first unofficial wall mural was drawn on our freshly painted staircase wall before my 3rd birthday, my formal art training began at 10 years old when I was awarded a scholarship to the Junior School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I attended classes there for many years followed by University of Illinois (School of Fine & Applied Arts) and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.

My grandmother was also one of my "influencers" ...and a big part of my life. She was such a master with skilled pattern making, genius design and sewing skills, all the Chicagoland dressmakers  would come to her for advice and help. Her clientele included the wealthiest of patrons from the NorthShore.  My grandmother could look at a garment draped on a mannequin and with just a few notes and a primitive sketch, she'd create a pattern and improve the designs to come up with her own original creations and patterns. I absorbed a lot from her growing up but the rest of my creative skills as an artist and maker have been self taught.

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I have always loved watercolor and ink and have paired medium and substrate in a unique combination to develop my signature look.  I began in publishing (my first and forever love) but later fell head-over-heels in love with stamping and the craft/hobby industry.  It is there that I landed and feel most at home. Although my original plan was to be a book illustrator, I wound up instead developing a passion for product illustration.

I begin my creative process using traditional methods but it is in Photoshop that I do my magic.  I think like an animator and a stamper, so I create all my art components in pieces and assemble them digitally.  Once I bring everything into the computer space, I can move elements around endlessly, create surface design patterns and multiple color ways at lightening speed and transform objects, such as turning flamingos into swans or leaves into abstract backgrounds. That is my "happy place" because digitally the possibilities are truly endless.

And...I can literally work on everything all at once in my starburst thinking working style. I usually work on multiple files ( and often multiple collections ) simultaneously. It's the only way I can manage all the ideas.

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
LOL!  I recommend reading the article in Scientific American on "cognitive disinhibition" (click here). It explains how the advanced creative mind works and how it  absorbs what non-creatives refer to as "inspiration". Since I basically have no filters in what I take in visually, inspiration is literally everywhere. I can walk down a crowded Chicago street and see a color story in a building's patina or instantly envision an entire art collection by spotting children playing under an umbrella on a quiet suburban front yard. I'm always jotting ideas and observations down in my phone Notes app, although that is sometimes challenging with my two Border Collies on the other end of the leash!

I create art in a wide variety of themes and styles. This is partly due to client and product variances but also affected by many other influencers. For example, if I am working on a specific  crafting technique involving specific materials and a very appealing outcome, I may be inspired to bring those textures or color combinations into a new art collection based something I experienced on a walk the day before that was relevant to a specific theme or request. My thought process is like a salad bowl...lots of ingredient combinations being tossed around at all times!

I am mostly known and recognized, however, for my animal art and my signature brand Sweet PETatoes. I've always loved animals and have been drawing and painting them my entire life. Birds and dogs have especially been a huge part of my life and I currently live with 3 border collies, a cockatiel and an Eclectus parrot. You can even follow their adventures in one of my blogs, listed below.

What are you working on now? 
I have been prepping for weeks for both the Atlanta Gift Show AND for the annual Craft & Hobby Trade Show (CHA Show). In fact, depending on when people read this, I may actually be at CHA, being videoed, presenting new inky techniques and art collections and, of course, soaking in ALL the creative energy with my industry peeps! I'll also be previewing the new additions to my rubber stamp line with Impression Obsession ( ) and setting up my awesome project in the industry Trends display case.

Any great advice for our readers? 
The one piece of advice I'd like to share is about purpose. When we create fine art to satisfy our inner creative spirit and express our soul, no one can say what we create is right or wrong or need changes It is purely our artistic expression. The main focus is satisfying our own need to create. Art licensing, however, is a business and the art we create for art licensing needs to be created with that in mind. Of course, create your art to the best of your ability not get too emotionally connected to it.

Creating art collections for licensing is a actually a collaboration. It's purpose is to make money and enhance product.  As artists we need to work within the needs of that purpose. If a potential client requests changes, it isn't a negative commentary on your work or your ability.  It's business.  Our art sells a product.  It has to be spot on for the specific market and consumer. Be cognizant of product formats, production needs and specs as well as focusing on current trends and color palettes. For example, I LOVE the color green and will use it instinctively, but just because I love green doesn't mean it is always appropriate. It is all about business and, as such, art for licensing should be created with an end use in mind. Conversely, stay true to your style or unique way of expression. Just remember to temper that vision by listening to what clients and potential vendors request.

Although it seems like a lot of extra work, I encourage taking the time to place art in progress into product templates or shapes.  This exercise not only gives the the potential client a clear vision of how your art will enhance their product line, but will also help you develop your collections so proportions, color palettes and various elements work on a variety of products.
And don't take rejection personally. These are business decisions being made by business people. It isn't commentary on your artistic soul.

Any other special interests or skills?
I am also a skilled writer with 5 published books and hundreds of magazine articles. Writing comes very naturally to me…especially for information articles or step-by-step instructions. Little know fact about me: I spoke in complete sentences before I was a year old. This unusual ability was further reinforced by conversing daily with another child the same age who was also gifted with early speech.

Anything else you would like to share with us?
Working as a solo creative can be very isolating and at times, overwhelming. I'm very grateful to be part of a creative community. Between the craft/hobby industry and the art licensing communities, I never feel alone. There is always some one to answer a question, bounce ideas off of, etc. There is always someone who understands what this creative life is all about.

Are you an early riser? or night owl?
I'm an early riser…a little too early some days! I've been an early wakening insomniac my entire life.  I drove my parents crazy wandering around the house as a child and lost college roommates because of my dawn rising habits..  However, I was perfectly suited for attending to my babies when they were sick or having nightmares!

Seriously, I don't have the problem consistently but I often do a lot of creative problem solving at 4 am!  I am a true lark in that I am fully awake the second I wake in the morning and my brain goes instantly into high creative mode.  I'm at my very best creatively from early morning  through mid afternoon. I will usually save less creative work for later in the day when the right side of my brain takes a break and allows the other side to take over.

What is your favorite food?
Lettuce. Actually, pretty much all vegetables…and fruit. I was born a rabbit, surprising everyone who watched a 2 year old devouring veggies instead of wanting cookies. I'm still not into sweets although I do love rhubarb pie and super dark (86-92%) chocolate. I'm also a tea drinker and LOVE anything Chai. My family thinks it's funny that I will procrastinate going to the grocery as long as possible if I can still make a salad.  Once I run out of lettuce, however, it turns into a high priority emergency run!

You can find Gail:
Gail Green
Gail Green Licensing & Design

For a glimpse inside the artist behind the Sweet PETatoes brand, visit my blogs: 

For licensing queries and a preview of my art, please contact my licensing agent Julie Ager  (Artistic Designs Group) at or

Thanks Gail for all of your insights!
Do you want to be spotlighted? Send me an email:
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Friday, January 1, 2016

Art Licensing Newsletter - Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone! 

I am giving you a look at what my Art Licensing Newsletter looks like ;-) Click this link to see past issues too!  I have been known on occasion to give away stuff - newsletter subscribers are the first to know!

If you want to guest post or be featured on my blog, send an email to info@anngraphics and let's chat :-)

Wishing each and every one of you the VERY BEST 2016!

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