my 2015 SURTEX recap

tammie bennett at surtex in happy happy art collective booth

i thought i wasn't going to be ready to blog until june 1, but it appears i can't contain my thoughts about SURTEX until then.  so here you go.  (i'm thinking this calls for bullet points because it will help me put some semblance of organization to this mess in my head!)

  • it's not the best idea to visit the dermatologist and have something removed from the tip of your nose 2 days before the show begins.  trust me. 
  • showing in a collective is way better than exhibiting alone!  last year i was in a booth by myself without helpers for 99% of the show.  this year, i exhibited with emily and jill and we were with each other 99% of the time for 4 days.  and it was awesome!  during the busy times, we were all busy collecting information from potential clients.  and during the slow times, we were able to bounce ideas and observations off each other.  
  • this year was all about publishers!  i don't think i saw a single publisher last year, but this year we saw SO many.  i think that mostly has to do with the booth decor, which lent itself perfectly towards books, especially children's books.  last year i had mostly surface patterns on my both walls and saw lots of children's apparel and home decor.
  • i need to refine my portfolio even more.  i brought too much stuff, some of which didn't make my heart jump for joy and i should've listened to that.  (on a very related note, i'm reading the life-changing magic of tidying up which is changing my thoughts about so.many.things.)
  • i have no regrets about doing SURTEX at this early stage in my career.  i read lauren's post about waiting to do SURTEX until you have certain experiences under your belt and i totally respect and understand her point of view.  but i feel differently.  i think this is a super short life and i know waaaaaay too many people living in limbo, wishing they had the guts to do something daring.  i'm the type that leaps towards a big fat dream and just trusts that the safety net will be waiting.  i'm learning as i go.  i'm learning TONS every single day.  might i make a less than stellar first impression?  yes.  do i think potential clients will forget about that first imperfect piece of art when they come back and visit next year and see something new and great?  yes.  i realize i may sound totally naive. and that's okay.  because this is just how i do things.  i've spent too much of my past reading and reading and preparing and preparing and researching and researching, waiting for the perfect time, waiting to feel confident in moving forward.  and now i've decided to move forward and learn as i go; improve as i go; have fun as i go.  and the best part of all?  i've gotten some great feedback on my work, i have some amazing clients that i enjoy working with, i have several great licensing deals in place, and i'm successful enough to keep coming back to SURTEX.
  • lots of people were interested in how our collective works.  we talk about that briefly on the FAQ page of the happy happy art collective site, but i'm thinking of doing a blog post on that soon!
  • next time around i will start creating art for the show much earlier.  i will make sure to play around with different media and have fun creating just for the sake of creating.  on the other hand, i will also have pieces that i created with specific products in mind.
  • i sent postcards out this year and i had at least three visitors to the booth from those postcards.  but next year i will amp up the promos i send out after being inspired by emily's!  
  • things really begin after the show.  i heard many artists in the weeks before surtex saying, "ahh, after surtex i can relax."  yes, you can relax but better to do that after you do all your followup.  i feel like i have so much work to send out and people to email.  
  • surtex is visually overwhelming.  and now i feel so inspired to create!  but i am also inspired to weed out things i don't enjoy spending time on and to reduce the clutter in my creative space.  i want to have laser focus on creating new work that makes my body hum with excitement.  
  • i met soooo many other artists, some of whom i've admired for years.  i really love being part of this community where people share their love for what they are blessed to be able to do each day.
  • i'm totally open to selling my work outright.  i used to think i only wanted to license my work no matter what.  but i sold a couple pieces at this year's surtex and was happy to do so.  i'd say we were asked by at least half of our visitors if we only license or if we also sell outright.  

i'm sure i'll have more thoughts in the days ahead, but those are my raw first impressions of my second time exhibiting.

this was our booth before the show put down the carpet in the aisles.  we had SO much fun creating this together!!

this was our booth before the show put down the carpet in the aisles.  we had SO much fun creating this together!!