This video sums up how my life feels at the moment…

Lots of things to do, deadlines to meet, opportunities to investigate… lots of plates to keep spinning in the air so I can do what I love.  These acrobats have been going around in my head a lot lately – with SURTEX approaching and exciting things happening with clients, it is a balancing act for sure!  But you know what – I thrive on it!

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So what plates do I have in the air, you ask?  A friend who isn’t in this business recently asked so I thought I’d share it with some artists who are new to the concept of art licensing.

Plate 1: SURTEX prep!

The most important trade show of the year for my business is in less than 2 months.  It is a BIG undertaking and honestly – it could account for all the plates in the video.  Finishing art I want to have at the show, making appointments with manufacturers, designing my booth, show marketing and more…

Plate 2:  Creating art collections.

As the very  experienced, successful and wise Paul Brent has said, “You are only as good as your last collection.”  Art licensing is not an industry where you get to rest on your laurels – you must always be creating new art, new art, new art!

Plate 3: Office stuff.

I’m pretty much a 1-woman show.  I’ve tried outsourcing some of the clerical / basic promo stuff before but didn’t like it.  It took me as long to explain what to do as it did for me to do it… and I like the variety.  So for now – many will call me crazy – I do it all myself.  Accounting, filing art in the studio, filing copyrights, negotiating contracts, dusting…

Plate 4:  Marketing stuff.

I don’t have an agent because (a) I love working directly with my clients, (b) I couldn’t find one at first and discovered I enjoy this part of the job too and (c) I have some control issues. 🙂  So it’s up to me to make contact in whatever ways I come up with – phone, email, website, social media, morse code… ok, not morse code.  Success in this business involves keeping your ears open for opportunities and your name and art in front of the right people…

Plate 5:  Current client work.

Gone are the days where the months before SURTEX were spent creating art to take to SURTEX.  10 years in I thankfully have clients requesting art!  So I’m trying to do what I want to do for the show and respond to opportunities with clients I’ve met at past shows…

Plate 6:  Art Licensing Info.

Keeping up with this blog.  Working on projects. Collaborating… all the things that are rolled up in the information and education side of my business.

Plate 7:  The rest of my life.

Of course there are things OTHER than work.  Family.  Rest.  Fun.  New TV obsessions…

SO… if you think art licensing is a quick and easy way to make money, think again.  It’s great if you enjoy every day being a little different, doing a variety of tasks and have the ability to adjust and adapt your schedule and work flow.

I love it and so far, I’ve broken very few dishes.  Now I’ll knock on wood so as not to jinx myself and get back to it!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

P.S. The “wise” Paul Brent I quoted is the next Ask Call guest on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 – the week after SURTEX.  Go to for all the details!