On the Surface


It’s been called the week-end MBA, the SURTEX Conference Program that lays out the dos, don’ts, and how-tos of the art and design industry for “first-graders” and “grad” students alike.

With 10 sessions led by key insiders and top professionals allied to the industry, the conference offers in-depth information on critical aspects of the business, topics that range from monetizing one’s brand to protecting copyrights and working with an agent — or not.

Special in-depth sessions will get close up to specific categories, among them, paper products, home decor, tabletop, and textiles.  Oh, and did we mention current trends — how to spot the latest, how to embrace them — and when to ignore them.

Here’s the overview of the 2015 Conference sessions. Click here for details and to register. Early Bird Rate deadline is April 6th.


9 – 10:30am — Monetizing Your Art I: Licensing, Selling & Beyond  
What exactly defines art licensing? Is it right for you? Can you make the jump from creativity to commerce?  This A-to-Z presentation tells how to get started, how to evaluate your art business ‘personality’, and how to manage your business to success.

11 – 12:30pm — Monetizing Your Art II: Advanced Business Strategies 
Once you’re up and running, learn how fuel your business in all areas, from marketing, promotion, sales, presentation, trade shows and portfolio management.  Evaluate the wisdom of licensing vs. selling work. Do you need an agent? An attorney? What are the right ways to position yourself for the challenges ahead?

1:00 –  2:30pm — Contracts and Agreements: Licensing & Sales
No art licensing business can proceed without an iron-clad legal contract for each licensing deal. Understanding the essential language is imperative. The session dissects a basic agreement from top to bottom so you leave contract-savvy and aware of your rights.

3 – 4:30pm — Get Me an AGENT!
Evaluate your comfort level in going it alone — or being represented by an agent, who. can become your strongest advocate, motivator, confidant, and salesperson, handling the details of selling, contract negotiation, and royalty monitoring to free you up for doing what you do best – creating!


9:00 – 10:30am — Category Close-Up: Tabletop & Home Décor
Our panel of industry experts in this highly productive and profitable category provides an exclusive inside look at what makes their businesses successful, revealing how they identify winning looks, how they review and evaluate art, and how you, too, can be noticed — and signed.

11:00 – 12:30pm — Category Close-Up: Paper, Greeting Cards & Gift
While many paper product companies purchase art outright, some key players continue to license great art. Gift manufacturers present an entirely different set of challenges. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of how these category experts seek out and review art. Learn their submission guidelines and see the kind of designs that work for their lines.

1:00 – 2:30pm — Category Gurus: Textiles & Home Fashions
Said to be among the first product categories to be driven by art for product, textile and home fashions companies often set the tone for style, color, and trend for all other licensed categories. Our exclusive panel will provide their take on what they will be looking for, how they want to see artwork, and when and what the typical lifecycle is for art applied to fabric and home products.

3:00 – 4:30pm — Understanding Copyrights & Protecting Your Art. 
From the supplier and retailer point of view, how do you make certain that products are properly credited and protected by the creator? This key seminar shares the mechanics of copyright registration, tells who can use what when, outlines the resources and remedies if your art is being used improperly, and lays out the essential steps to controlling your creations.


9:30 – 11:00am — Trendspotting: From Insight to Execution. 
Every artist wants the crystal ball that reveals what coming trends will be hot and how to translate them into saleable art. From urban contemporary art originating as graffiti and tattoos to the runways of Europe and the nuances of social media as trend catalyst, this seminar investigates where and when trends originate, how long they last and how you can hone your skills in spotting them.

11:30 – 1:00pm — Art Business Boot Camp Review
This one-on-one with artist Lisa Congdon, SURTEX exhibitor and author of Art, Inc. The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist, answers your questions about the business of art from all perspectives. Her recent book covers the details of building and maintaining a vibrant and profitable art business.