Surtex 2014: Return of the Backpacker

May 29, 2014 § 1 Comment

As always, it starts with a backpack. And a plane ticket. And an oversize dream:

leahhoelscher_surtex_bag

Me and my backpack are a compact – but PACKED – package with a lot of ideas. Nearly full to the brim but still saving room for extra adventures and last-minute detours. It took a lot of hours to pack this baby – to make the things, polish them, pick over everything and find the best stuff – only what’s really worthy – and print them and roll them tight. That part got to me a little bit…it can be stressful feeling like so much is on the line.

And then I took that sucker on the plane, and the bus, and the subway. And then I unpacked it – and there is no better feeling than letting it all roll out and expand and breathe:

leahhoelscher_booth

You might not even guess all that was in a 60L backpack, right? And this year was a little more complicated than last year. I brought some paper and fabric mock ups to flesh out my collections:

leahhoelscher_surtex_marketday

leahhoelscher_surtex_canopywalk

I liked the paper mockups because they felt really “me” – and it’s fun to create a little illusion once in a while. I felt like they were at the right intersection of “realness” and playfulness for my art.

leahhoelscher_surtex_vases

Another new/improved thing this year was branding – last year I was totally new at the business and hadn’t had time to really consider branding, and how that would affect how (or if) people remember my art – this year it came together more for me and I realized that I actually am building an audience and relationships with companies. Several companies remembered me from last year, or from my web presence. I got to see lots of exhibitor and artist friends and meet many new ones. Best of all, this year I had great support from Smashotron Scott, Jee, and Madison:

leahhoelscher_surtex_team

Surtex for me this year took on a huge importance – for most of the past year I feel like I’ve been on the cusp of gaining traction with my business, and I’ve felt that a good showing was the key to moving forward. And honestly, yes, I think it was a great show – we were steadily busy, talked to several dream clients, and had better location, portfolio and displays over last year. But as anyone who’s exhibited knows – no one really knows how well it went until a few months down the line.

So for now, I’m still hiking down my own art licensing trail!

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