SURTEX: Beyond the Art, by Jeff Grinspan Grinspan & Co - Surtex

On the Surface

SURTEX: Beyond the Art, by Jeff Grinspan Grinspan & Co

SURTEX helps hundreds of attendees jumpstart their art businesses with a wide range of educational opportunities…including three days of Conference Sessions aimed at demystifying the business of surface art design, licensing and sales.

This On the Surface column is the second in the series based on questions that arose in the seminars regarding the who, what, where, when and how of monetizing art.

Q: What is the one critical success factor you need in this business of art licensing?

A: It’s almost impossible to distill success factors into one critical element for licensing your art. But here are three to get you started:

Realistic expectations. It usually takes twice as long to accomplish what you set out to do and you make half as much money. Also, it takes at least 12-18 months to see any revenue from your licensing efforts. With that in mind, you need a 3-5-year plan.

Be prolific. You need a lot of art on a regular basis in order to respond to changing trends and to fuel your archive pipeline. Licensees don’t stick with art that is unproductive. They are also quicker to respond to retailer requests than in the past.

Be adaptable. Remember this is a you business, not a me business. You need to find out what agents and/or manufacturers really want and be willing to produce to their requests, never mind what your family and friends find ‘so beautiful.’

Q: How do you know you’re ready to exhibit at SURTEX?

A: It’s not inexpensive to display at SURTEX, for sure. In addition to the booth space, accessories, and your displays, there is travel, hotel, and food. The first sign that you are ready to exhibit: you have allocated the budget you need. Not just for a single year, either. To make it work, you need to be prepared to attend two or three shows. Next, you need to have researched the appeal of your art. Is it right for licensing? Do I have enough of it? Is it in the correct file format? Am I prepared to interface with show attendees who stop at my booth? To get and file their contact information and follow-up quickly and thoroughly? Finally, refer to Question 1, above re: realistic expectations. Ready to accept them?


Jeff Grinspan is an independent art licensing consultant who works with individual artists on their ‘art nutrition’ to achieve a vital and profitable art business. Questions from readers are welcome. Please email, subject line SURTEX: Beyond the ART.