Artist of the moment… commercial and fine artist Heather Cooper…




today I wanted to talk about commercial art. If your gallery sales are down after the economy, how about turning to corporations looking to purchase art forpackaging, or in this case gift wrap. I am fortunate to have access to really creative artists, but all chose to pursue a career in only fine art. In this day and age its important and can be very lucrative to do both.

If you have a second please check out if you visit the contact us page you can find where to send artist submissions.

Here you can view some different styles of gift wrap and see if you can develop a style for it. Abstract, floral, christmas, hannakuh, bat or barmitzvahs the list is endless.

This artist was born in 1945 and I found out about the artist whilst reading an issue of the magazine Communication Arts from 1988. The lives and works in Toronto, Ontario in Canada.  She is most known for creating the Roots symbol pictured with the green beaver.

Having never seen this magazine before I was most intrigued by it. Personal accounts from artists working in the field of commercial art, how they conceived the idea, and how it was executed! Awesome. She spoke of doing an oil portrait that turned out very well for an edition of posters for a Shakespeare Festival.

What caught my attention was the Ruby Street packaging product. This company was based in Chicago and in 1980 the artist signed a contract to do a series of cards and gift wrap that shared some of the same embossed or printed designs. She did not like the fact that the customer wouldn’t see the 2 items next to each other, the customer would have to cross to the other side of the store to get a card after getting gift wrap.

Despite this handicap her line sold very well. In most cases the artist will get a fee for the idea, and then royalties of 5 to 10% of sales or profits. These can really add up. If you have money coming in from tshirts, postcards, posters, calenders, and etc. you won’t be as reliant on a gallery to push sales and you can take more time to develop as a fine art painter. I say do BOTH. It has worked for Takasha Murikami and Andy Warhol, even Damien Hirst to some extent. Everyone loves art  at some level, some are just willing to pay more for it than others.

In addition to doing work for the Ruby Street company gift wrap, the artist also helped design packaging for Crabtree and Evelyn and their line of jams and jellies. Painted works turned out great, but in reproduction the idea was lost somehow. Its great to hear of artist success, but just as important is the failures one has to overcome to achieve a good product and end result. She had to totally change the concept of the add from stencils to paintings. Just fun to hear of the changes.

Its important when submitting work to keep and open mind and always know that the person whom you contacted knows more about the product or idea than you do, and what results have worked greatly in the past.

Roots is a clothing retailer located in Canada.

I could not locate a gift wrap design I was sure  was made by the artist as the magazine was from  1988. The artist does extremely rendered portraits now.

Always think HOW CAN I MAKE A LIVING FROM MY ART. Art is philosophy because there isn’t a right or wrong answer in most occasions.

The artist also has a book out from 1987 titled Carnival Perpetual.

Try to think of some gift bag or wrapping ideas and patterns you never know what you may come up with until you try!



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