Flocking Together

One of the mega reasons I look forward to my show every year is the opportunity it affords me to catch up with my friends, mentors and peers. It’s such a treat to be in the company of such vast talent, and nicely enough I’ve found that Surtex exhibitors tend to be genius and kind and witty to boot.

You’d be hard pressed to find a better support system of people who actively care about one another and admire the work of their friends. It’s amazing that the competitive nature of the show never sinks in. Exhibitors far and wide from aisle to aisle, squeal to see each other again, offer the kindest insights, and genuinely wish everyone well at the start and end of each new show.

Karen Embry’s booth was a rainbow vision of fresh air. Karen’s designs are so cheery you can’t help but smile every time you see them. Karen’s a breath of fresh air herself and so much fun. It was sooooo nice to have her in the perfect pathway from the show’s entrance to my booth. Karen always gives me pep up time on my collision course to and fro.

Last year, my amazing and talented friends Breanne and Jeremiah were in my booth like superheros, there to stand on chairs, hang art, gab and gallop and have an ecstatically silly set-up time while coming to my rescue.

Over the last year they’ve been building their own very, very classy company and portfolio. This year their gorgeous lines made a smashing debut at Surtex. I missed them in MY booth, but was oh so happy stopping by THEIR booth,to chat and steal chocolate and gush about their color sense.

Louma is so fashion smart and fun and her booth was totally in charge. Keeping up the stereo type that all Canadians are overwhelmingly nice, Louma’s Pokidots Studio booth had such a warm vibe. It was fun to finally catch up in person!

This year, wonder of wonders I was invited out by one of my favorite people, to go meet new favorite people. Beth Logan, who I always and forever speak about in hushed and hallowed tones, and to in squawks and giggles of delight, took me under her wing (i think Beth is a flaming cardinal to my awkward flamingo) my very first year at Surtex. She has been my go-to-guru ever since.

Her friendship and mentorship constantly and forever make this art-life-licensing experience a treat among treats. Beth is my favorite. She should be yours too.

This year she let me tag along to ‘special fancy art dinner’ um… i think that’s what it’s called. It’s what it should be called. On Monday night we tripped our way down Mid-Town along with people who I hope among hopes will soon be my besties too.

Beth is on my right we are BOTH left handed. I was going to try to swing that into a ‘Princess Bride’ reference but I am tired and on vacation and I’m going to let opportunity waste 😦 <–lame face.

Next to me is Jill Seale, who I liked that evening because she was warm and fun, because she had a wicked humor that wasn’t dirty but was wonderfully cheeky and because her name kind of rhymes. We all know that next to name alliteration, it doesn’t get any better than name rhyming. Once I had the chance to check out her work I realized that she is her work, cheeky, irreverent, and delightfully fun.

Behind her is Andrea Mistretta who I adored for being ‘so real’. The minute I met her I felt like she just ‘got it’. She made all the stress of the day melt away. Andrea is one of those people who’s countenances just shine. When I got home and found her New Orleans’ centric art I realized that she too is her art. The glowing skin of her Mardi Gras girls and the contagious smiles on their faces are completely Andrea! At this point I was still too dumb to catch on to the lynchpin of this group.

Next to Andrea is the wildly successful Sue Zipkin. Sue flew around all evening making sure that everyone was as comfortable as could be. She wanted to make sure that our tables were just right, that our waiter was attentive to everyone and that every single person had a good time. It’s remarkable how her designs have something to offer everyone. Sue comes through them, making sure they suit you just right, whether you’re in need of that perfect baby shower design, or something to warm your home over the holidays.

Chris Chun is on Sue’s right. I wish we would have had more of a chance to talk, but he was in high demand all evening. He had a beautiful voice and the few times I did catch a snippet of his conversation he was full of insight. While many of us were screaming and laughing as loudly as could be, Chris was peaceful and attentive. At this point it should come as no surprise that his work is ethereal and calm. A commodity it would most likely bring those feelings to your home if it had his work upon its walls.

Linda Jacque is next to Chris. It is my hope that this summer will find the two of us gallivanting through Brooklyn. If I had to describe Linda the description would probably come closest to sounding like a fairy. Her laugh just makes you smile. She and I hit it off immediately. Then we found out that we’re both Pratt Graduates. Then we found out that we both rock. Just add water, insta-friendship. Linda is blithe and that’s that. OF COURSE Linda’s art is all joie de vivre too!

Across from Beth, and to Linda’s right you will find Jane Shasky. Jane is gentle, calm and a friend I hope to get to know better. She is quiet, but always looking, and quick to take everything in. Her work will bring a slow smile to your face. It’s the kind of art you could sit comfortably with forever and still want to have around. It is quiet and breezy and very knowledgable – the shear attention to detail is astounding. In those ways, Jane’s art, is just like Jane.

This show brought many a young artist to my booth. So many people came to soak up information and to find out how they should proceed. I know there is no way to ever understand everything that goes into the licensing business, but this show I figured out one very important detail.

One of my favorite professors in college used to say “Be true to your art, and your art will be true to you”. These licensing geniuses that I was so “pinch me” lucky to be able to join on Monday night, and through the show, are true to their art. Their art embodies them. They’ve found their key to success. They make their living creating art that’s meant to be used, and meant to sell but at the end of the day, they make art that is true to their souls, and you can tell that it’s not a lie, and it’s just another part of them. If only we could all learn that.

Gathered around pasta and wine, the vibe of camaraderie among this gaggle of glorious artists was touching. It was my deepest honor to be included among them, even if only for one night of perfection. πŸ˜‰

4 replies »

  1. Amber.. I just love your take on people, art, and everything all around you. Your insight and writing is wonderful to follow and I feel I have a real take on everyone there. I hope you had an awesome show!! XO

  2. OMG
    you are SO insightful about every single one of the others – as for me, crap.
    Talk amongst yourselves, I'll give you a subject.
    We are all lucky you didn't top it off with a Princess Bride reference, that may have pushed me over the edge to totally balling my head off like an idiot.
    I must repeat myself (again) you rock girlfriend.

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