Atlanta Market - July

Jul 21, 2009

Atlanta, Georgia was definitely the place to be last week for the gift & home industry. The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market at the America’s Mart displayed an amazing collection of products that featured the hottest colors, themes, and patterns in today’s décor. We were able to peruse the show to check out the latest products and to view our own Art Licensing artwork in these showrooms. We had a great presence at the show; many of our customers featured artwork by our talented bevy of artists and it looked great. We went in and out of showrooms speaking to sales reps, viewing their products, and getting feedback on the show.

One of the most prominent themes that appeared throughout most of the showrooms was religious artwork.  It was everywhere!  Nearly every showroom had some presence of religious imagery - some only had a few items, and others had entire sections of the showroom devoted to it.  The art was a mixture of everything from traditional religious symbols, like crosses and angels, to more modern takes on it, like decorative artwork with scripture added.  All of the work had a strong presence, which makes sense in an unstable time, and all of it was very beautiful.

Overall, the show traffic was a bit down, but people seemed somewhat optimistic. We walked the show during the last few days, and there were still buyers floating around looking for product, but it seemed that most were on a hunt for a bargain. There were many price drops and volume deals to be had in an attempt to stimulate orders.

The show was just so vast and the products were really lovely. It seemed that there was nothing that wasn’t included in these showrooms. Everything from décor and accessories to toys and gourmet foods was out on display. It truly was the largest collection of merchandise in one place and it was fabulous!

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Inspirations at Art Licensing

Jun 22, 2009

In times of uncertainty and worry, people look to inspiration to lift their spirits.  So in this unstable economic time, inspirational art has really grown and become a staple in most art offerings.  Walk into any retail store’s decor section and you’ll see dozens of images that display some kind of inspirational message.

These are the kinds of images many people are choosing to decorate their homes with.  It’s like the equivalent of a nice hot bowl of soup on a cold, damp winter day; it’s a positive message packaged in an attractive way to hang on your wall to see each day as you head out into an uncertain world.  These messages vary from ideas of love and friendship, to motivational phrases, to environmental notions, and even to political views.

Each of these ideas is embedded into a decorative style and trendy colors.  The style and color allows the message to translate from merely a phrase, to an attractive, inspirational piece of artwork.

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Art Licensing at the Surtex 2009 Show

May 29, 2009

Ah, trade show season! We’ve just returned from the Surtex (Surface & Textiles) Show at the Javits Center in New York City. This year’s show was amongst the many successful trade shows we’ve had. Overall, attendance at the show was down, but in the Art Licensing booth that wasn’t evident. Our licensing associates had back-to-back appointments each day and our booth saw plenty of traffic; the three-booth space was full of buyers who were at the show to do business. Many exhibitors as well as attendees were very hesitant as to what we could expect this year. Most exhibitors chose a smaller booth space or joined forces to fill the booth, and some exhibitors choose not to attend this show altogether. The show layout was quite different as both shows were on one floor and the Surtex area of the show was considerably smaller this year. In an economy like ours, the only buyers who were willing to go to the expense to travel to the show were those prepared to make it worth their while.

When walking the aisles of the show, there weren’t many obvious trends that stood out as being new or unique. When times are tough, many vendors opt for the safe options and are less likely to take a risk on something very different. As a result, it’s far less likely to see anything out of the ordinary. Proven colors and designs covered the walls at this show. Since the National Stationary Show ran concurrently with Surtex, many of the trend forecasts focused on the stationary industry. Within this realm, the themes that are predicted to be hot are silhouettes, damasks, lace, lattice, birds & butterflies, and animal prints, amongst others. Pattern is a growing area as well, used as both a focal point and an accent. Below are the predicted color trends by trend expert Milou Ket displayed at the show.

So overall, Surtex 2009 was a success! We went with a strong crew and had a busy booth. Now that we’re back, rested, and unpacked, the focus is follow-up. The licensing team has lists of clients that need requests filled and images sent to them. The booth looked great - full of new images from our strong bank of artists as well as our newly created “Art Wheel” that mixed trend information with product images and artwork.

We’re very pleased with the show and are sure we’ll get some strong blast of business from the many clients who came to visit us. We’re already thinking about next year’s show!

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Wildlife at Art Licensing

Apr 29, 2009

Wildlife artwork comes in many forms and varieties.  It is one of Art Licensing’s strongest categories and has been for years, as it can be used on nearly any product.  We’ve offered work from strong artists who create quality pieces of North American, Western, and African wildlife.

Manufacturers of T-shirts, puzzles, stationary, garden flags, and many more continually come to us for the latest and greatest in wildlife artwork.

Since wildlife incorporates nature and landscapes, it keeps in a very earthy color palette.  Most of the most successful pieces use various shades of green, one of this year’s hottest shades.  Browns, blues, and creams are also amongst the most popular tones used to colorize this imagery.  This palette allows the artwork to fit in with the trendiest imagery in the industry. 

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Fantasy Artwork from Art Licensing

Apr 21, 2009



Art Licensing has had a strong history with fantasy artwork. We’ve been successful in licensing this look to all kinds of products from clothing & apparel to toys & puzzles. We have several artists who’s work is used regularly on these products and are asked to continually create new imagery for our clients.



Some of the more popular product categories for this style of artwork include puzzles, t-shirts & clothing, cell phone & computer wallpaper, foil prints, mugs, and switchplate covers, as well as many others.  You may even see many of these products on the shelves of your local retail stores.



This fantasy work fits well into the current market trends as well.  Blue has been a strong color, in various shades, for some time and is used quite frequently in fantasy artwork.



Green, as well as purple, are additional trend-right colors being used in all areas of home décor.  Fantasy artwork uses these tones in brighter, more intense ways, but nonetheless they still relate to what’s current and blend well on the retail store shelves.

Whenever there’s a need for fantasy artwork, Art Licensing can certainly provide quality pieces from our talented group of artists.  They continually paint it, and we continually sell it!

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Trend-right for 2009

Apr 08, 2009

Well, we’ve begun a new year once again. 2009 snuck right up and has brought with it a flurry of change and revamping. With the current economic meltdown, a new president, and all the usual changes a new year brings, we need to position ourselves in a new way. The times are calling for change, and 2009 is just the year to do that.

It’s no secret that the slipping economy is forcing everyone to change their methods. Consumers are tightening their collective belt, which is forcing retailers to be smarter and more selective in their offerings. This spikes the competition for shelf space, making those of us in the art industry become even smarter and more selective in our artwork. We need to always be the apple of the buyer’s eye. How do we do this? Why, by continuing to produce attractive, useful, and trend-right artwork of course!

So let’s start with the basics – color. No matter what the image is, color is always key. Even the most simple of images can become a best seller if it has the right colors. The palettes for 2009 are not vastly different from those of 2008. In fact, many of the colors are still the same, it’s just the shades and manner in which they are used that’s changing. The trend shift from year to year isn’t drastic, as if a curtain drops on one palette December 31st, and opens to an entirely new set of colors on January 1st. It’s more of a morphing as months pass, and this year is no different.

The eco-palette remains much the same with one of the few changes being the predominance of blue. Various shades of blue have been a part of this palette for some time, but used mostly as an accent. Now this chameleon-like color is pushing to the forefront and becoming a main color option. Shades from powder and sky blue all the way to indigo and navy are being used along with hues that even border purple. These blues are also invading the green’s territory and creating mixes of teal, aqua, and turquoise as popular colors for this earth-friendly palette. There is also more variety rising in the green hues with newer, fresher shades emerging. Here is where we see the presence of yellow coming into focus. Along with an acidic yellow-green, we see grass green, basil, and emerald popping up. These tones are weighted and given a more earthy feel when paired with chocolate, cream, or honey. These colors are immensely versatile, being used in soft combinations for a subtle spa feel or bright and citrusy for a colorful kitchen. This palette is also where pastels can play a role – buttery yellow, powder blue and soft mint green complement the deeper jewel tones to make up striking color combos.


Spice colors continue to stay strong in the market with the dominant roles changing slightly. Orange seems to be the bigger player, stepping into the leading role that red had played for so long. Orange has gone from Halloween-like to sophisticated and trendy. Rich paprika and coral hues are growing in popularity and will remain strong for some time. Even raspberry flavors will serve as updated shades in this combination, adding some pop to the ochres that rule this palette. Tones of copper, gold and brass fit well with this palette, keeping the metallic story going into 2009. This is where the global influence fits in quite well. Metallics combined with rich, jewel toned golds, oranges, and purples make for a perfect global feel. Look for ethnic patterns in these shades, everything from African animal prints, to Asian florals, to Indian tapestry styles. These deeper tones are comfort colors, and viewed as safe and strong.



In keeping with the current trends, neutrals are certainly not to be outdone. Black & white, a popular combo about a year ago, has resurfaced a bit and is once again working well. Grays of all shades, beige, tan, and browns still dominate as neutrals. These colors make for great combinations on their own or when paired with pops of more vibrant colors from other palettes. You’ll see grays being paired with yellows and browns combining with aqua and blue as popular combos. Even standing alone, these neutral colors create sophisticated, quiet images with a softer feel. This palette is a great one for an antiqued, nostalgic look. A trend in the licensing industry is that of the Victorian era; aged metals, distressed woods, and dirty-washed porcelains. Done in neutrals, this look has an incredibly vintage look. These colors also denote thoughts of natural, organic, and pure.


Last but not Least. So let’s kick this new year off right! By staying in tune with the current trends and thinking ahead, we can be sure to deliver exactly what consumers are looking for. Art is about creating and making a statement, but in our commercial industry, it’s also about meeting the customer’s demands. We have the tools and information, and now we’re ready for the challenge!


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