Tara Reed Designs

Tara Reed Designs

1 2 3 12

heading to SURTEX…

New York or bust!  This is the 12th year I’ve been organizing, creating and working towards exhibiting at an art licensing trade show in New York City.  I’ll be packing up my portfolios and banners and setting up in Booth #416 at the SURTEX show.

If you will be there – please stop by and see what I have or email me and set a time to meet.

Surtex 15 banner


Surtex 2015 postcard

Need something new for your walls?

I’m excited to have partnered with Roaring Brook Art as my exclusive wall art publisher! One thing that is tricky with what I do is that I often can’t tell people where to find products they love with my art on it. Many of my designs are in and out of places like Home Goods & Marshalls and it is truly hit or miss for consumers. I do my best to help you locate the things you love.

I am elated to report that my wall art prints are all available at FulcrumGallery.com and FramedArt.com – prints are at FulcrumGallery.com and if you prefer a fully framed and ready to hang piece of art, head to FramedArt.com

wall art samples - Tara Reed Designs

Right now there is a Q&A on the Fulcrum Gallery site – maybe you’ll learn some things about me you never knew before…

Q and A with Tara Reed - FulcrumGallery.com


Professional Artist Magazine

I am beyond honored to be included in the December 2014 / January 2015 issue of Professional Artist Magazine.  The magazine has a lot of great advice for artists of all kinds – from revamping your artist statement to acing your next art show… Writing a strategic plan, how to hire an art coach and more.

Professional Artist Magazine - Tara Reed

My article about art licensing includes contributions from Paul Brent, Jennifer Pugh, Jane Shasky, Stephanie Burgess and Alicia Dauber of Licensing Liaison.  If people look at you and scratch their heads not understanding what it is you do or are trying to do – you can hand them the article and get them up to speed.  If you are new to the concept, grab a copy for yourself!

I’m excited to read the rest of the magazine – I have yet to fully understand what an “Artist Statement” is quite frankly – my marketing degree is showing again!

I found a copy at my local Barnes & Noble.  You can check other bookstores or find it online at ProfessionalArtistMag.com

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Shopping at Big Box Stores Support Small Businesses Too…

It’s the week of Thanksgiving here in the US and that means lots of food, family gatherings and shopping.  Thanksgiving Thursday is followed by Black Friday – the day retailers hope to “be in the black” – as in, making money.  It’s to official kick-off of the holiday shopping season.

small business saturdayThen comes Small Business Saturday… Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express corporation.  There are lots of images floating around Facebook… like this one. (I couldn’t find the original creator or source of the image – it isn’t mine, no copyright violation is intended)

While I like the basic concept, there is definitely some black-and-white thinking that I feel compelled to address.

Specifically – “Let’s make sure our money goes to individual people and not multinational companies.”

Well… multinational companies aren’t just nameless, faceless money funnels.  They need a lot of people, resources, etc to survive.  And many, many small businesses are helped when you shop at places like WalMart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Lowe’s and more…

THIS small business owner, for example.  And many of my friends and clients.

I am ONE PERSON, working out of a home office, making a living, paying my bills and taxes and contributing to my community.  I do art that goes on products that are primarily sold in large chain stores… so if you boycott “multinational companies” – this artist is going to be in a world of hurt.

Many of my clients, who are vendors to the big stores, are US based small businesses.  Their livelihoods are also tied to big stores.

I’m not saying don’t go to that craft fair or locally owned hair salon – don’t get me wrong.  But I think the message is getting a little too cut and dry – David vs. Goliath if you will.  Goliath supports a lot of David’s in this new world economy.

How about we all “mix it up” this holiday season?  Don’t ONLY shop at WalMart but don’t avoid it out of principle either.

Napkins at Walmart - 2014While we are on the subject of WalMart, if you do find yourself in there, look for these cocktail napkins – designed by me.  Manufactured by a company in Philadelphia.  Moved around to all the locations by trucking companies who bought gas, food and probably coffee, all across country.   If your WalMart has canvas wall art for Christmas, you might be supporting my friend Jennifer Pugh – another one-woman artist business out of Utah.  Her family thanks you for your support as well.


If you find yourself at HomeGoods or Marshalls, check the coffee mugs.  I have a lot of designs in those stores as well – my logo will be on the hangtag so you can feel good about supporting a small business.

Just some food for thought – BIG doesn’t necessarily mean BAD.

Have a very happy holiday season – wherever you choose to shop!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  Don’t forget about Cyber Monday either – that’s when you will find the deals for online shopping. 😉

Adventures of an artist at the Atlanta Gift Show

Once or twice a year, I take the trek across the country from Oregon to Atlanta for the Gift Show in Atlanta.  The biggest show of the year is in January, and the next best thing is July. (Not a lot “next best” about the hot and humid weather in my opinion… but I do love what I do and sometimes you risk the elements to do it!)

I just got back and thought I’d share a little bit about what it’s like. One thing I love about going to Atlanta is the public transportation – for $2.50 I can get from the airport to the show at Peachtree Center – and it only takes 20 minutes. Much better than the taxi lines and cost of getting into Manhattan for SURTEX in May!

The show is held in three HUGE buildings – each 14-22 floors, with space for both permanent and temporary show space.  I spend most of my time in Building 2 – where most of the gift companies are that I license my art with or hope to work with in the future.  There are lots of escalator rides and crammed elevators.  One fun bonus of all the up and down on the escalators is that you run into artists and agents that you know and get to catch up and check in.

AmericasMart - July 2014

I spent 2 1/2 days talking with clients, seeing my products in showrooms and getting a feel for what is up and coming in retail.  Get ready to want big letters, words, arrows and more made from metal with light bulbs for your home – they were everywhere!  Like the marquee signs from the movies – pretty sweet!  Chalkboard styled art is still going strong as in Chevron… which makes me happy because I love both!

By the end of the day I was exhausted and my brain was both overwhelmed and buzzing with inspiration.  It gets pretty hard to turn off so I grab a pen and start writing, and sketching and capturing all my ideas on paper – hoping that helps my brain relax enough to get a good night’s sleep and start again the next day. (sometimes yes, sometimes no)

Ack!  The “Who do I think I am?” attack!

It is also quite common to have some serious episodes of inadequacy at these shows.  You just see showroom after showroom of products with art and design and you begin to wonder who you think you are to think your art should be included.  Part of the key to success in my industry is to know that (a) this is completely normal and (b) how to overcome it and release it as quickly as possible when it hits you.  It’s not a good state of mind to be in when you are looking to find partners for your art!  If you don’t believe in it – why should they?

AmericasMart - Tara Reed Designs - July 2014

I think it was well worth the time, trek and money spent to go.  I had some great appointments, got to connect with some great clients and meet some new ones – if all goes well. The added bonus of this trip?  I got to have dinner with my niece who happened to be working in Atlanta the day I arrived and an unexpected plane delay during my connection through Kansas City allowed me to escape the airport and have dinner with my friend Kim Beasley on the way home!

Now for the follow up and time to create more and more art.  Such is the life of an artist in art licensing!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  if you want to learn more about how art licensing works – I teach that!  Head to ArtLicensingInfo.com and learn more.


SURTEX 2014 is a wrap!

My business year is pretty much from SURTEX to SURTEX.  I’m either doing follow up from one year or planning for the next… it’s the biggest single investment of time and money in my business and the biggest source of leads.

So what is SURTEX?  It’s the premiere trade show for licensing and selling art and design and it is solely focused on art.

While the Licensing Expo (held each June in Las Vegas) has an art & design section, it’s primarily for movie, television, sport and big brands… with a little part for art.  At SURTEX, manufacturers and retailers come to the show in search of art to put on their products.

This year had it’s ups and downs as any trade show does.  Getting there was fun and included an extra 5 hours in the Chicago Midway airport due to fog and weather in New York.  Thankfully I did arrive, got a cab and made it into the city.  My luggage looked like it went into the river before I got it but I was able to hang things around the room and get them to dry out before set up day on Saturday.

Extra bonus this year – my son joined me!  He is going to school in Boston (BU) and his summer term started during the show so he came down for the weekend to check it out and help me set up.  It was great to see him AND to have help setting up my booth!

My niece also came up for the weekend with my sister who always helps in my booth (and is never allowed to stop!).  Saturday night we went and saw Mama Mia! which is fabulous no matter how many times you see it.  Kyle was the only one who hadn’t seen it at least once…

I participated in a conference session and was the artist without an agent on a panel whose topic was AGENT OR NOT?  Offering the pros and cons of going it alone or working with an agent in the art licensing industry.

The show was great – I think most exhibitors were more excited about the connections and potential from the show than they have been since before the recession in 2008.  Yeah!  Now it’s time to get organized and turn those connections into cash!

Here are a few photos from setup and the show… now I better get back to my follow up!

– Tara Reed

Surtex 2014 - Tara Reed Designs Surtex 2014 collage - Tara Reed Designs


The annual pilgrimage to SURTEX

For the tenth May in a row, I’m about to print my boarding pass and head to the big apple for the SURTEX show.  SURTEX is a premier trade show for artists who license their art to manufacturers to put on products – which is what I do.  My business year seems to go from SURTEX to SURTEX… the ebb and flow of following up from the show to preparing for the show.  It’s a BIG DEAL.

It’s a BIG DEAL in that it is an investment of time, creativity and of course money to exhibit.  There is the emotional roller coaster of “am I ready? – am I good enough? – will it be worth it?” that each artist goes through.  So why do I do it?  Because it works.  SURTEX has played a key role in my ability to build my business and live the creative life of my choosing.  It’s pretty amazing really and sometimes I don’t stop long enough to take stock of how far I’ve come!

Power of Choice - Art & Design Licensing Sourcebook 2014I was quoted in one of the art licensing trade magazines – the Art & Design Licensing Sourcebook – and it really sums up why I go.  Exhibiting at a show allows me to meet and interact with a lot of people in a short amount of time – that gives me choices.  Choices about who I work with, what projects and art I work on and more.

So on Friday I will be catching a plane and heading to the Big Apple.  As always, I get to see my sister who so graciously (and expertly!) helps me in my booth each year!  Added bonus: my son will be joining me Friday and Saturday to help set up, to visit and to get a taste of the show he’s heard about for half his life.  Extra bonus: my niece (my sister’s daughter) will also come help for the weekend so it stands to be a great time on both a personal and professional level!

If you are an artist and you want to learn more about how I do what I do – I teach about it!

Here are a few of my websites that are a great place to start:





If you are at the show – stop by and say hi if I’m not talking to manufacturers – I’ll be in booth #513.

If you are a manufacturer looking for art for your products – come see me!

I will be in Booth #513.

– Tara Reed

Tara Reed Designs will be at SURTEX - May 2014

Jungle print kitchen storage available for a limited time on Zulily!

I’m back on Zulily!  I’m thrilled that this time it is through a client and I don’t have to do any fulfillment personally. 🙂

If you love jungle prints and great deals you might want to add a touch of wild to your kitchen!  These products are only available at these prices Friday, April 25 – Sunday April 27, 2014 on Zulily.com

What are you waiting for? Go grab yours before the deal is extinct! 

Zulily - Animal Print Kitchen-Tara Reed Designs

Hop on over to Lowe’s for a fun two-sided flag for Easter!

I’ve been designing garden flags for several years now… this most recent flag was an artistic challenge that was worth the result!  I was asked to create the “back side” of the Easter bunny and chicks that were selected so the flag could be two sided.  While I normally don’t have to do that and make sure everything lines up, it was an effort of trial and error.

But now that I have this flag in my front yard it makes me SMILE every time I leave the house or return home. (Honestly, I think I’m more enamoured with seeing their little bottoms when I head out the door than their smiling faces when I return!)

Easter is quickly approaching (April 20, 2014 – are you ready?) so if you want these cute characters in your yard too, it’s time to hop over to your local Lowe’s and put them in your basket!

Happy Easter Flags at Lowes - design by Tara Reed Designs - 2014

– Tara Reed

Easter is coming! Celebrate with my new Easter Chick paper party goods!

One of my favorite little animals is now on paper plates, napkins and more from Unique Industries!  Bright greens and yellows dominate these party products and honestly make me want to have a party. 🙂

Easter Party Goods - 2014 - Tara Reed Designs

Of course one of the tricky things about what I do is that while I know these fun products are out there, since I don’t manufacture and sell them myself, I don’t know everywhere they can be found.  I found some on OrientalTrading.com and am told they are also at Party Zone.  If you see them somewhere else too, let me know so I can spread the word!

Wishing you a bright and happy Easter!

– Tara Reed

1 2 3 12