Surtex 2015: This Time, It's PERSONAL!!

Wow. Surtex! Still tired and processing everything. So much love and respect on the floor. Overwhelmed by talent and friends. WHY DID I EAT SO MUCH CARBS AND CHEESE. A great experience once again!

If you ever pop over here to see what I'm doing, you may know that this was my second year at Surtex in NYC (hence the cheesy action movie sequel title.)

First of all,  a lot of the more logistical questions I answered in the Surtex Recap over at Happy Happy Art Collective. Jill Howarth, Emily Balsley, and Tammie Bennett showed at their own amazing Happy Happy booth and we all put together our thoughts on what we thought of our portfolios, what we would change for next year, etc., over at our HHAC blog. You can read it here.

So that leaves me to talk about some of the more personal objectives of the show. (Wow, that title is actually becoming relevant! This time it IS personal!) 

This year I felt like everything was just bigger and better in general. My portfolio was thicker, my booth decor was grander, and even our hotel stay was an improvement (My mom and I stayed at YOTEL this time around and-oh my gosh- the complimentary blueberry muffins are enough to get me back next year.) I also got to meet and catch up with several artists I know, eager students, and new talent that was showing for the first time. That included my agent Jennifer and the other exhibiting artists of Jennifer Nelson Artists. Jennifer Orkin Lewis and Monika Forsberg were showing with Cloverly Art Collective and Victoria Johnson had her own stunning booth right down the aisle from me. Jennifer was a great sport and ran between all our booths, helping out and meeting clients. Next year we will be showing in our own agency booth and I'm looking forward to it! For this year, we were all deep in our individual plans by the time the agency came together, so we all went forward with our original plans.

And as much as part of me was hoping we might scramble together last minute to do a JNA booth, I'm glad my mom and I got to do Surtex on our own again. It was satisfying to see how great Round 2 ended up, and since I won't be doing that next year it gave me a chance to really achieve that on my own. (Well, and with the help of trusty Mom, of course. Thanks Mom!) We both were really proud of how it turned out.

One of the best surprises was how my booth counter came together. When I was designing my banners, I felt like nothing really worked for the desk. There was a lot going on already. The recent demand for more black and white work made me think that it would be great to show that somewhere prominent (especially with the coloring book craze hitting and clients searching for that sort of work.) I ended up grabbing (stealing) computer paper from my husband's home office and doodling for short amounts of time each night with a sharpie. In the end I only had a few "mess ups". 95% of the drawings turned out great and were used on the counter. Plus, a handful I would love to develop into finished pieces! Not only was it an effective booth design decision, but it was a good way to relax during the final weeks leading up to the show.

Another fun what-the-heck-should-I-do moment involved my booth signage that hung over the aisles. I taped together some sheets of bristol, hand lettered my logo and added decorative vines with my trusty gouache.

I got to see many past clients and meet some new ones. My mom was very accurate to point out that many people were coming by to talk about specific projects and stayed much longer, whereas last year people kind of just grabbed a postcard, said they liked my work, and moved on after a few minutes. This year there were many more in-depth conversations happening, and I'm hoping that some of these dream projects come to fruition! 

And speaking of my Mom, she told me bittersweetly that next year she won't be coming. As sad as I was to hear that, I realize she's right: with Jennifer Nelson Artists, The Happy Happy Collective, and so many other peers there, it's obvious that I will be in good company in 2016. But who knows...she has talked about coming up with my Dad and them actually having a New York trip together! If that happened, I'm sure they would swing by the show for a couple of hours. So hold onto your butts, because you've met my Mom, but you've seen NOTHING until you've met my Dad!

Happy Happy Preparing their booth!

Happy Happy Preparing their booth!

Cloverly Collective was busy busy!

Cloverly Collective was busy busy!

I got to see my friend and fellow illustrator Tracy Mattocks!

I got to see my friend and fellow illustrator Tracy Mattocks!

Blooper!

Blooper!

Other friend and fellow illustrator Eloise Narrigan stopped by two days, each time wearing adorable clothing featuring her great characters (they are mountain goats in this one!)

Other friend and fellow illustrator Eloise Narrigan stopped by two days, each time wearing adorable clothing featuring her great characters (they are mountain goats in this one!)