Discover Your Licensing Future at SURTEX

Discover Your Licensing Future at SURTEX

If you can imagine seeing your artwork on dishes, linens, gift wrap or wallpaper, then consider whether licensing your art is a viable pursuit. There’s no better way to become immersed in the art licensing market than to attend SURTEX®, the only B2B trade show dedicated to art licensing, and considered to be the source for original surface design. Taking place May 20-22, 2012 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, and now in its 26th year, this marketplace boasts more than 300 exhibitors from around the world, as well as programs for creative inspiration, in-depth education and unparalleled networking/business opportunities.

Some 6,000 manufacturers and retailers will flock to the booths of individual artists and studios to discover the new work of more than 1,000 designers presented by the artists themselves, design studios and agencies that license and/or sell original artwork for product development for both consumer and institutional markets. The industries represented include apparel textiles, home textiles, decorative fabrics, wall coverings, floor coverings, stationery, greeting cards, gift wrap and other paper products, plus tabletop, housewares, giftware, toys, ceramics, packaging and publishing.

For many who license art, SURTEX is the crystal ball of the next big trends. In one location, international licensees and art buyers can discover trends in color, texture, style and pattern for their markets and, as manufacturers and retailers, make the designs reality for the coming seasons. Of note, outstanding surface design will come from Canada, France, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.

For an intensive introduction to the ins and outs of licensing, register for the popular SURTEX Conference Program. There are 10 educational sessions in three consecutive tracks, each geared toward different levels of expertise and led by artists, agents, attorneys and other professionals in the sector. Fundamentals of Art Licensing, Operations (including legal issues) and Insight, which addresses the impact of the digital world and the evolving retail scene on the art licensing arena, will be information-laden classes. (See “SURTEX—Up Close” sidebar below.)

Registration for these must-attend courses is available by track, full conference package or by individual session through the show’s Website,

All parties around the licensing table will also be eager to attend the SURTEX Trend Theatre on the show floor. “In 2012, for the first time, SURTEX participants can be inspired by nine world-renowned forecasting companies who will share their visions through daily multimedia trend presentations,” says Penny Sikalis, VP of GLM and Show Manager. “By attending some, or all, of these complimentary, exclusive to SURTEX 30-minute sessions, attendees and exhibitors alike can capture the pulse of what is trending ahead… from consumer attitudes and street happenings to color, design and theme directions across multiple categories.”

SURTEX extras include on-site private meeting rooms and early morning VIP hours for exhibitors and key customers to get together, an on-floor café with streaming SURTEX news, plus a ReSource HuB comprised of tools that enhance a designer’s role, including software, trend services, publications and more.

“SURTEX is unique, bringing everyone in the art and design business to one location for the world’s best and most original surface design,” says Sikalis. “The connections forged here will generate countless new licensing deals around the globe for months to come.”

Marty Segelbaum, president and founder of MHS Licensing, concurs: “We either attend or exhibit at over 20 trade shows a year and SURTEX is by far our most important show,” says Segelbaum.

For complete SURTEX information, including the Conference Program and Trend Theatre schedules, plus online registration to attend SURTEX, visit For further information, contact GLM Customer Relations at (914) 421-3329 or



The SURTEX Conference Program is comprehensive and addresses the key issues and most recent business and legal developments in the licensing market. Here are summaries of three of the most popular courses:

In Basics of Art Licensing Part I, Suzanne Cruise provides the perspective from both sides of the licensing table. An accomplished artist and former Hallmark Cards illustrator, her agency Cruise Creative represents top-selling artists. Co-taught by artist Debbie Taylor Kerman, the session focuses on key factors a designer or illustrator needs to understand how licensing really works and how to evaluate work for its true licensing potential. Cruise and Kerman will outline a step-by-step process, so artists can better understand what licensing is all about and the meaning of the terms that are frequently used. Learning how to avoid the mistakes and pitfalls in licensing that an artist can easily make and how to find and approach potential licensees, are also reviewed, with many more topics. “This session will provide key information that designers simply cannot get anywhere else, or that they have to pay an arm and a leg to learn. We cover a tremendous amount of ground in a short period of time, and the responses from the many prior licensing seminars I have given have always been highly favorable,” says Cruise.

Licensing agent Alicia Dauber and designer Tara Reed teach the Basics of Art Licensing Part II. In their presentation, artists will get in-depth information about the artist / agent relationship. Starting from what agents do for the artists they represent to questions to ask potential agents, artists will leave with a much better understanding of how to decide if they want to represent themselves, or look for an agent in the industry. In addition, there will be an overview of art licensing contracts, followed by a discussion of marketing techniques and what the manufacturers who license art are looking for. “This is a great class for those new to licensing or artists wanting to better understand how the industry works and how to put their best foot forward,” says Reed, who has published a book and led Webinars for SURTEX exhibitors on these and related issues.

Attorney Jeanne Hamburg and Web marketer Tom Shapiro will address Opportunities & Challenges in the Expanding Digital World. One of the key paths to business success is to get the word out. For artists, it is all about the art itself and for retailers, it is their inventory. For manufacturers, the issue is how a product can resonate and stand out by using strategies that rely on the power of the Internet to build awareness and consumer support. The ever-expanding role of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, which drives traffic to websites and brick-and-mortar stores, offers unique opportunities to communicate with others, raise awareness and spark action to buy. Online activities can also help gather market intelligence, leads, support and shared insight. Together, this digital exposure creates greater challenges in protecting art, maintaining brand exclusivity and projecting a message. Hamburg and Shapiro will cover all aspects of protecting brands and creative works while engaging in marketing and selling goods on the Web.


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