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February 08, 2009

Art Licensing, how to begin...

Wow, the idea of "renting out my images", for a year or so and never losing the original, certainly is an enticing venture worth trying. What I have going for me is that my iridescent acrylic on black etch paper work is really unique. To think that no one in the world works quite the way makes me want to share more of it, not hide it away in my flat files at home....

At the moment I have work for sale in the flat files at Metaphor Contemporary Art, and Pierogi 2000 Gallery, both in Brooklyn. But to be able to mass produce and sell my favorite images at affordable prices would be ideal.

I got the book "Licensing Art 101" on Amazon and am starting to take in all the options of how to get my work out there. Recently I went to a gift show in NYC and watched as people tried to sell their shiny new products to buyers from all over the world. It was wonderful to see how sellers created different ways to package, capture and entice buyers to their booths. It is a very costly endeavor for artists to undertake on their own, $3,000 to get a share in a booth, if you can find a company to let you in on their turf. I can not even begin to tell you how much work goes into these booths and how exhausting selling for three days straight can be, but many do it and find it very worthwhile.

Which brings me back to the idea of licensing my art. My day job pretty much keeps me strapped to a desk five days a week, eight hours a day, so little time is left to create art, much less sell it. So licensing seems a good alternative to the cold sales approach. First I need to find my niche of product, should it be notebook covers, greeting cards, or textiles? The options are actually endless, like my images could be used on puzzles, or made into wall hangings to name just a few options out there. So the next step is to find a company that sells "like work", where my visuals would fit in. Then approach that company with 10-12 samples so that they understand your body of work. If they are interested, you should have a body of work that is about 24 pieces for them to choose from.

Now it is contract time, and I can not even begin to advise you except - hire a "intellectual property lawyer" to assist you. Your contract should include a royalty fee, many companies try to just pay a fee upfront to use your work for a certain period of time. You could lose out on some big money if they do a second and third run of your work and your contracted was a one time fee to use your work for a period of time. Be smart, hire a professional in helping you to understand how this all works.

I will end here, for this is where I am about to begin. Happy painting! Callie