SURTEX: Beyond the Art - Surtex

On the Surface

SURTEX: Beyond the Art

by Jeff Grinspan Grinspan & Co

SURTEX: Beyond the Art

by Jeff Grinspan
Grinspan & Co

Every May, SURTEX helps hundreds of attendees jumpstart their art businesses with a wide range of educational opportunities, ranging from simply walking the show floor, attending the Trend Theatre, and participating in the three-day Conference Program.

Our seminars yield a slew of questions from dedicated, curious, and committed show-goers, all hungry for advice and direction on how to build vibrant, profitable operations from the licensing and sale of their art.

This new On the Surface column will endeavor to answer a wide range of questions spawned during and after the SURTEX seminars.  We hope these additional details will help fill in any blanks regarding the who, what, where, when, and how of monetizing art.

Q: To use —  or not to use — an agent is entirely up to you as an artist. Consider the pros and cons:


  1. You have more time to be creative and concentrate on developing your art;
  2. You take full advantage of all the contacts and relationships agents have developed over the years;
  3. You have a third-party source who can feed you information on what to create and provide valuable feedback on the development of your art;
  4. You have someone who will handle  all the business details, including, but not limited to contracts, monitoring royalties, and sales.


  1. You give up 50% of all royalty revenues;
  2. You have to work with a person who will now tell you what to create;
  3. You have to share the spotlight with other artists your agent represents;
  4. Not every agent you might want is interested in representing you.

Q:  How helpful are product mockups?

A:  While mock-ups can signify that you understand a potential partner’s products, most manufacturers will tell you they are not necessary because that’s what ‘they’ do.

Unless you are proposing some new shape or function, straight 2D renderings are perfectly acceptable. However, flowing your art into the geometry of product (circles, squares, rectangles, ovals, verticals and horizontals) is always a big plus.


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.