Three-ring circus: Part I

 April 16, 2015

Preparing to exhibit at Surtex for the first time is a grand plate-spinning act, and the closer it gets to the actual show, the more plates appear.

I decided to exhibit at Surtex 2015 in November of 2014. I knew that was a tight window given that I had NO portfolio for licensing. I had exactly 10 pieces - 6 large botanical drawings of fruits and vegetables and 4 smaller ones. I had sent those images to 6 art licensing agents, expecting an enthusiastic response as I had in 2002 when I sent out my portfolio of floral images to 12 publishers. The response? Crickets. So, what would possess me to think exhibiting at Surtex was a good idea?

I was going to be in New York in May with my partner - he had a conference to attend - so I knew I would attend Surtex at the very least. When I thought about walking through the aisles, looking at other artists' booths, I knew I would regret not being one of them. So I decided to go all in.

I started with an online search of agents and artists that I found on the Surtex website of previous exhibitors. I quickly realized that art licensing had changed rather dramatically since I had submitted that first portfolio. I had gotten an immediate, positive response from a third of the publishers I approached based on individual images of botanical subjects. There were no coordinating patterns or borders or holiday images.

I came across Tara Reed's website ( and decided to take her licensing course so I could get up to speed on how to approach the licensing market 12 years after my first foray. Her course provided the structure I needed to get back in the game.

Thank you, Tara. You are generous, knowledgeable, and inspiring. Looking forward to meeting you in NYC!