I always think about the kid’s poem – “This little piggy went to market… this little piggy stayed home…” whenever I head to the Gift Show in Atlanta.  It’s called “AmericasMart” and when you are they, it is referred to as “the market” or “the mart”.  Or… “Wow!  This is overwhelming!”

Anyway – this little artist went to market and did a whirlwind day and a half of walking, looking, talking, meetings and collapsing rather exhausted each night.  It was definitely busier than last year – but no one was sure if it was because of the economy or the weather.  (Last year there was a snow/ice storm which pretty much paralyzes Georgia.)

The showrooms seemed overflowing with new products and people excited to see new designs.  One thing I always do at the January show is check the fashion status – in years past there have been tons of people wearing lime green, another year had a large showing of turquoise and last year – animal prints.  This year was all about knee-high boots with black tights and black or gray knit dresses or skirts – many on the short side.  As I walked along in my signature black pants and good-for-my-feet-if-not-super-cute Dansko shoes, I felt very out of it. 🙂

It was great to see so many artists that I only see at shows and catch up.  Even better (no offense!) to meet with current and potential clients to discuss new art and new products.

One interesting but not unexpected comment from a manufacturer was in regards to computer skills –

It’s great that you have good computer skills.  There are a lot of artists who don’t and they are being left behind.  Even without thinking about the cost of hiring someone to manipulate art, I don’t have the time to hold their hand to get it right.  I need to be able to share my ideas with the artist and have them get it set for me so we can make some great products.

This is one of the big shifts in recent years, in my opinion, in the art licensing industry.  When I started in 2004, having computer skills was like icing on the cake.  Now it’s becoming a required ingredient.