Surtex is OVER baby!!!

I’m almost recovered from the thing that was Surtex 2008! I’m still sleeping more than I’ve ever slept in my life. I think my body is trying to make up for the days prior to the show where I slept an hour or two, went to eight or more hours of my day job, came home and worked on my own art until the wee hours where I snuck in a nap for an hour and then tiptoed out the door to my day job again. Luckily I managed to take off a full week of work, giving me two days before the show and one day after to try and get my sea legs again.

My mom was the lady of the hour and flew up from Hawaii to take care of me and to help out with the show. I’m very lucky to be blessed with the most supportive family on the planet. It’s so nice to have parents that don’t say stupid stuff like, “You really have to go to sleep, this is just crazy,” or “Are you sure you really want to do this show, it seems like a pretty big expense? I mean can you afford all this?” It’s a relief because that’s what I was saying to myself in the mirror often enough. Haha. The last thing I needed was for someone to reinforce my fears. In life I tend to fluctuate between alarmingly self conscious and worried to overly confident and cocky. This whole Surtex ordeal brought out both sides of my introverted-extrovert personality.

I’m going to be blogging about Surtex off and on over the next couple of weeks. Today I’m going to touch on preparatory materials. At twenty-six I’m very lucky to have a couple of distinct and set styles. Growing up in an artistic household and then attending Pratt Institute where I got my BFA taught me one very important thing:

**As an artist it’s imperative that you create work in a style that becomes you.**

If you do artwork that’s all over the place and that doesn’t have a look that can be traced to you, you can forget ever finding steady work. For this year’s show I saw my art being divided in three ways that really stood out to me:

1. Fashionista East consisting of feminine but bold vectorized black line and highly saturated flat color
2. Baby Mermaidsbright watercolors based on always sweet and often funny sketchy line art
3. No Ka Oi vectorized artwork without a solid line, driven by shape and a set Pantone color palette
–a look that a lot of my surface design is taking lately–

As an artist when you interview for a job it’s not uncommon for you to have three or four resumes. If I were interviewing for an animation position it’s likely that my background in apparel would have no place on my resume. If I was looking to work as a graphic designer it’s doubtful that an interviewer would want to know about my experience working as an oil painting instructor at Interlochen’s summer art program. I went into Surtex knowing that it was important to take this concept to heart. The last thing I wanted was for a potential contact to fall in love with my baby mermaids and get home and not be able to remember where they saw them.

I designed three separate business cards so that people could take whichever card was going to remind them of what they were interested in my art for. It turns out that this idea was pure gold and I got a huge response from people who would methodically look through the three cards and then take one for their ever growing packet of artist materials.

Here are the three business cards that I pulled together for the show:

I also had over sized postcards printed with lots of writing space and with artwork similar to the business card above that matches my blog design. That ways potential clients could write notes to themselves so that they had stuff to talk about with me later.

Since this was my first show I came into it a tad blind and a bit not knowing to expect. It turns out all the print collateral stuff was right on the money. When I do the show next year I’ll create stuff with the same design principles and sensibilities. However, I will make Hella sure that they are not sent to me via DHL shipping. I think I would have had more luck with a carrier pigeon. I actually didn’t get stuff delivered on time the way it was supposed to go. I ended up printing the first day’s print collateral on my HP 5150 – AKA ‘The Little Engine that Could.’ My mom actually had to go to the DHL warehouse to pick up the cards and everything in the wee hours of the morning on Monday the 9th, the second day of the show. It was OK because Sunday turned out to be pretty sleepy and the stuff from my printer was just fine. I was upset but everything worked out A-OK no thanks to the shipping service from hell. Seriously, never use them. Never. Ever. Never. Well you can use them if you don’t care about ever getting your stuff. At one point they had no idea where on the continent my stuff was. Just a word to the wise, Fed Ex has none of these crazy problems. DHL was the only major glitch for this mission. Surtex turned out to be very NASA-like to me and I talk about it in a kind of scientific way now that I have this first show under my belt.

Next time I blog about Surtex I’ll be talking about my booth. Rah Rah Rah! It’s nice to be back πŸ™‚

1 reply »

  1. You were way ahead of me Amber I’ve still not recovered yet! But then you haven’t blogged any more about it so maybe you only thought you had recovered. Glad you’ve been busy and the show went well for you and that you’ve been enjoying summer (like a real person) too! I’ve yet to get to that point. Keep up the great work and let’s keep in touch (when we actually do recover all-the-way?)! -your Surtex neighbor/buddy Beth

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