I Did It! My First SURTEX Experience. {part one}

I’m still pinching myself. I can’t believe that I only decided to do the SURTEX Art Licensing show for the first time at the end of March. It was the beginning of April when I really got going on my preparations for the show. It was a whirlwind of hard work—but I made it happen. I wasn’t sure I could!  I’ll save “how I did it” for another blog post. But for now I'll tell you how it went!

The three days of Surtex brought many new faces into my life. I made new friends, met online friends, spied a few “celebrities” (well, celebrities to me!) and most importantly made valuable contacts with people who really responded to my artwork. I was so thrilled to have people stopping by my booth and really loving my work. I'm extremely excited!

So, in this post I’m going to tell you about my days in a sort of diary style. Hopefully you’ll find something that might help those of you who decide to take the plunge in 2015.

There’s a few pics of my booth too!

Kim Moulder ~ Here I am in my booth at SURTEX on the first day.
I gave these pens away ~ some were glitter pens!

Saturday ~ May 18, 2014
Living only 1-1/2 hours from NYC has it's perks. I drove there on Saturday arriving around noon. I had no nerves whatsoever on the way. Even when I got into the city and was searching for a parking spot for the day (having never driven in NYC on my own)—no nerves. I was ready. I was not scared.    But when I walked into the Javits center and saw all of the lovely booths already set my stomach started doing flips as I walked past them all the way to the back of the floor to my space.

I had packed everything (including lots of heavy antique glass for my table) into one
large suitcase and rolled that thing two big blocks from my car. My banners were in long boxes that stuck out the top and the whole thing was bungee corded so that there was no chance of a zipper popping and the whole thing falling open. It was heavy. My arm was aching. And I was feeling behind and alone. .

I found my way to my booth and walked past Bari J’s booth which was diagonal to mine. Oh my! Swoon! It was by far one of the most beautiful in the show. It was Bari's first time at Surtex too—but I learned that she has done Quilt Show several times, and I know that they go all out in their booths—so that girl knows what to do! Be sure and read her blog post with very smart tips that I will be sure to follow next year. I soon introduced myself to Bari and her husband and they were so kind—and willing to answer my questions about “command strips” etc.
{Bari J and her beautiful artwork}
Once I knew what I was doing— I got to work. By the time my friend Jean got to town around 2:00, I knew I needed more command strips. So Jean kindly went to Duane Reed on her way and bought some more. I was so happy to have her there to help me and I'm sure would not have finished if she'd not arrived. We finished the banners and I set my table and we were done. I was pleased. It looked great. The panels looked great. You could see my booth from far away and the colors were beautiful.

We left the Javits, got our cars and sat in traffic to get to my hotel. I stayed in The Hampton Inn at Madison Square Garden. I wasn't sure about hotels and had never done the apartment thing that some people do. So this seemed safe to me. It’s where I always stay and I knew it would be clean, comfy and offer a free full breakfast every morning. Just what I needed since I tend to get distracted and skip over lunch. So, after we checked in and freshened up, we took a taxi to a wonderful little tavern over in the Hell’s Kitchen area. It was a nice laid back place and we enjoyed dinner drinks and conversation. I cannot say enough how great it was to have that support and friendship. I think that my confidence would have waned if she had not been there and I had been eating alone that night. So thank you Jean. You are the best.

Jean and myself on day one.
Zoe (yes "won the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search—that Zoe!) 
stopped by on Monday. It was such pleasure meeting her! She is lovely!

Cutting up with Zoe!
Sunday ~ May 19, 2014
Sunday surprised me and was very busy for most of the day. Jean was fantastic standing out in front and speaking to everyone that walked by. She would ask “What kind of business are you in?” or “What types of products do you manufacture?” or “Have you met Kim Moulder? She’s the artist who created these beautiful designs!”  . . . . {blush}

And almost every time, the person would stop and take a look. And they would always be surprised at how much more I had to show them. I know I got many of my first contacts this way—and they would have walked on by if she hadn't attracted their attention.

Monday with Tina—she came to help on Sunday and stayed over. She was a big help and—we had fun!
I think that being on the end near the café has it’s perks, but also I think it can be a problem when people are in a hurry on their way somewhere else—they don’t even slow down to look or they might look another way as they go by and miss it entirely. But for the most part I think it was great exposure and I could be seen from every angle and all the way across the floor, from the café as well as the trend theatre!

Jean went home around 2:30, but then Tina—another great friend arrived a few hours later.  Both of my friends are artists and have shared a studio with me for the past year or so. {see Christina Peckham’s art here} Tina stayed until Monday afternoon. She was just as good at getting people’s attention as Jean was and I made many more connections that afternoon. That night we went to dinner near our hotel and had great food and fun conversation.

 

Chocolate is good. This is my second bowl!
See my portfolio books and postcards. . .

Looking out over my desk. I can see to the other wall!
That's part of the café behind my booth.

I liked the wrap-around sign I printed at Staples! (others printed at 4over.com)
Monday ~ May 20, 2014
Tina stayed with me Sunday night and we taxied in on Monday morning after a good breakfast. It was busy most of the day and slowed a bit after she left around 2pm. Then I was on my own Monday afternoon and all day Tuesday.

Monday night I went out with 30 or so of my mats friends. It was SO amazing to meet these wonderful women that I've been talking with online for over a year!! I love every one of them and enjoyed meeting and talking with them for hours at the most amazing restaurant in Greenwich Village.

Tuesday ~ May 21, 2014
Tuesday was slow for most of us, but I still got some good contacts and found it worth the time. By myself was different but I was happy to have artists stop by occasionally to chat — which made me feel good. A little encouragement from friends goes a long way with your confidence!

It took me two hours, by myself to breakdown and pack up the booth and then I caught the last free shuttle bus just in the nick of time and went back to the hotel. Boy was that big suitcase heavy! Glad I didn't have to walk more than a few blocks with it.

As I started writing this post, I was sitting alone in Waldy’s Woodfire Pizza and Penne in NYC after an amazing three days of exhibiting. I rewarded myself with a delicious slice of pizza, a glass of Chardonnay, and the most delicious, moist, chocolate brownie I've ever tasted.

I deserve it.

walking to dinner ~ hello empire state building!
Waldy’s on 6th ~ Awesome pizza!!
My Take Away
I think I have never in my life worked so hard. And as a result I feel so positive about the direction my career is taking. I am really proud of myself. For being so brave. For trusting in my work and going for it. For not waiting anymore but doing it now. And for making something happen that a year ago, I only dreamed of. And two years ago, I didn't really even realize could be my dream. It is the first time I've ever really had a dream—one this concrete. One that I—on my own—can make a reality.

on my way home. . . Good bye NYC!
my contacts. . . Thank you SURTEX!!






stay tuned-next up: More about Surtex—the nitty gritty ~ {part two}
next: How to know if you are ready for Surtex
then: How I prepared for Surtex in less than 9 weeks






9 comments:

  1. Kim... Thanks for the wonderful post! Your booth looks fab, love your work... I look forward to reading your next installments! I hope 2015 will be my 1st year!

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    1. Cyndi, thank you for reading it! And for your kind words. I peeked at your blog and saw that you are in the midst of the mats class. It will change everything. It is very intense, but my advise to you is to allow yourself to try new things while building on those little quirks in your work that make it yours. But really watch her reviews and incorporate her advice into your own work— it will grow you and you will start to see a change in your work. It's all about growth and everyone is at their own place in the journey. Just inhabit that place and keep moving forward. Ps: My brother lives in Lawrenceville, Ga. I grew up near Snellville and Stone Mountain!!

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  2. Beautiful post, and booth. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you Kim!! And, thanks for reading! :)

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  3. Hi Kim, I really enjoyed reading about your journey so far. It sounds amazing and intense. Love your work and I can't wait to read more about how you pulled it all off! I exhibited at Surtex many many years ago when most work was painted by hand. Life took me in different directions since then (family, handpainted textiles, opening an art/craft gallery, web/graphic design ...) but I am now about to take the plunge back into surface design and am looking forward to the fun of combining lots of techniques (hand and digital). I was wondering if the MATS class would be suitable for artists who aren't as whimsical as most of the work I have seen from designers who have taken that class?

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    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read about my experience! I totally understand about life taking us in different directions! I have come to this career choice in a round about way for sure—and very late for that matter. Your experiences since exhibiting last have, I'm sure, greatly prepared you for getting back to it. I feel that being an experienced fine artist and adding the graphic design on top of that is such a big plus for being an artist in this industry today. It has changed so much with the ability to create using robust software on the computer. But, don't believe that it means that the industry only wants digital imagery. On the contrary—I think that more than ever they are looking for traditional artists who can also transfer it to the digital realm with ease.

      MATS was an amazing experience and life changing for me. I took it last year—A&B, the first two classes that Lilla taught. It was hard and very intense—took up all of my time while I was taking it. (Keep in mind that I pick up my kids from school every day at 2:30pm.) I'm not sure what your artwork is like, but I don't see my work as all that whimsical and I definitely don't think it compares in that particular category of work to the other amazing artists that were in that class. But, I was able to take what I learned there and expand on what I already was doing. I grew as a result. After getting over the "My work doesn't look like that and I can't make it look like that :(" I started looking at each project as: ok. How do I do this, applying what I've learned, working the way I like to work, and still have it be uniquely me?" I would recommend the class without hesitation—but you have to go into it knowing that you aren't doing it in order to look like a "Lilla artist" but to grow yourself into the artist you want to be—the one that looks like YOU. And—it will certainly help to prepare you for a future Surtex showing. You will learn how things are done now (as opposed to years ago), because things have changed in a short time. :)) Hope that helps you!

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  5. Beautiful work Kim, thanks for sharing your experience. We were in the same MATS class last year. Glad to see you making a bold leap and wish you great success !

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    1. Hi May!! Of course I remember you and your "Happy Dino Land!" :) Thanks so much for reading and for your kind words!!

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