The Artwork of Bee Sturgis
Our guest today is Bee Sturgis from the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. She is a licensed artist and designer. She creates art to sell to manufacturers that produce products to sell directly to consumers. We have conducted an interview with Bee.
What is your favourite style of designing and creating a mixed media piece of art?
I have several favorite art mediums, one of them is a mono printing technique using Golden Open paints. By layering natural objects on the printing plate, like leaves, weeds, flowers or branches a detailed, interesting pattern with visual depth is created. I also enjoy using Alcohol Inks to create brightly colored ink patterns. The inks are very spontaneous and the color vibrancy is very intriguing. The inks are applied with a dropper on synthetic watercolor paper or ceramic tile. I import into Photoshop where I digitally manipulate layers of pattern, color, texture and images.
Which various different uses are your prints, patterns and designs chosen and used by manufacturers?
I have a partnership with a licensing agent, Julie Newman, President of Jewel Brand Licensing. She and her team of agents promote my art in a variety of ways. Manufacturers can login in and search the website database of Jewel Brand Licensing by theme or artist. (http://www.jewelbranding.com/designers-and-brands/item/bee-sturgis/) They also meet with potential licensees at the art trade shows, like the one in Vegas at the Licensing Show, or at SURTEX in New York. Once a design is chosen a contract is signed by all parties. The design is then used to create products, like fabric, greeting cards, home decor, rugs, wall art, etc.
How do you replenish and recharge your creativity?
I like to travel on vacation to recharge my creativity. I find that being in a new environment with new people, new sights, new sounds, new smells help me to tap into my creative right brain. When I am truly relaxed it allows my mind to open up to new, fresh ideas with no pressure to immediately create.
Was it difficult to obtain a quilt fabric licensing contract as a starter?
I was very fortunate to receive a contract with Cranston Printworks, an established high-quality quilting fabric manufacturer in New York. Early in my career I worked with a company that purchased high end quilting fabrics and I learned what most quilters look for in fabric design. It was this experience in the industry that helped me gain a fabric contract.
How do you describe your success in getting your designs out into the market?
I view my agent as a partner. A partner that does what I cannot do, which is sell my art and manage the contracts and financial details. My agent and her team work very hard to promote me and the other artists signed with Jewel Brand Licensing. JBL agents have long term relationships with manufacturers in many industries. They use their experience and expertise to show artwork that is relevant, on-trend and timely. This allows me the freedom to be creative and design the best artwork possible.
Why is a long term view of licensing important?
A licensed artist creates a portfolio of art before it is shown or sold. Much upfront time and effort is spent on creating an art portfolio that is current and marketable to show to manufacturers. The time it takes to create a big enough portfolio and the long turn-around time from a design being chosen to when it is manufactured and ultimately sold to the consumer can be a year or more. The licensed artist works for a royalty percentage of the goods sold. So they are not paid until the product has been on the market and has had a chance to sell. This means that they must keep creating new art all the time to feed into the pipeline for future sales.
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