Archive for March, 2011

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!



Artist of the moment….. Gustavo Acosta…

There is one clip on youtube but it doesn’t work when you cut and paste it so I assume whomever was trying to give the artist publicity, doesn’t really want the artist to get any so I won’t mention the clip. Save time and your money, go find an artist that is easier to find.


this artist mainly works in acrylics and does works on a large scale, mainly of landscapes.   Some of his pieces are as long as 7 feet. The artist was born in Havana, Cuba in 1958. The artist studied at the National School of Plastic Arts and also the Institute of Art both in Havana.


Stateside he has one major show in 2001, but I read about the artist in an art magazine, his career must be progressing nicely.

The artist has works in collections in Mexico, Cuba, and the United States.

Look what can be done with acrylics, although it takes some time to learn how to manipulate soft edges you could easily make in oils, the result is well worth it. Notice the wonderful use of perspective the artist uses when painting something like  a ship.








Artist of the moment… Romuald Hazoume..


this artist is from the African country of Benin and currently has a large show going on at the Queensland Museum. His work consists of sculptures made from found media. The artist was born in 1962.

His most famous piece is titled La Bouche Du Roi. The artist took the slave ship known as Brookes and redid the image.

The artist is a feature in the great art collection of Jean Pigozzi, whose father was a founder of an important French car company. The link for his collection is listed below.

a brief bbc report on the artist


find inspiration to work every day and work everyday. Its that simple!



Artist of the moment… Paul Morrison




this artist is from the U.K.  He works mainly with acrylics, but when he uses leaf he uses both gold leaf and white leaf. Having never seen white gold leaf I certainly look forward to seeing this artwork in person.

The artist was born in Liverpool in 1966. He eventually studied at the Goldsmiths College of Art in London graduating in 1996.

The artist has been in shows in America and Europe. He is most widely known for his magnificent large botanical works. The works catch the viewer off guard because the objects are so large in scale compared to their real size. Also the lack color makes the viewer think of the color that should be in the picture. The artist paints with 2 coats of acrylic paint, scans the pieces into a computer, then rearranges and changes size of all things. Huge trees shrink, tiny plants grow thousand times normal size. The term for this type of image is cognitive landscapes.

below is youtube clip showing the artist works at Cheim and Reid a New York City Gallery

try a colorless flower today, pretend you are etching it. Pay attention to thick and think lines.



Artist of the moment…. Banksy!



This artist is very relevant to anyone who watched the Oscars. He goes by the public name Banksy, but no one knows his true identity. He is based out of London, England but has done work all around the globe.

Very little is known of the artist. Supposedly the artist was born in 1974 in Bristol, Englan. The artist was trained formally to be a butcher. Banksy got caught up in the street art aerosal boom in 1980.

Some of his influences seem to be Blek le Rat. At this years Oscars a movie titled Exit thru the gift shop was up for an Oscar nomination for best documentary movie but lost to Inside Job.

The themes of this artist’s work are anti-government, anti-capitalism, and anti establishment.

The artist had his first Los Angeles show in 2002. The artist has in the past painted Queen Victoria as a lesbian and the Kate Moss picture was done as a tribute to both Marilyn Monroe and Andy Warhol. His highest price piece is the last picture titled Space Girl and Bird. It went at auction for more than one half million dollars in England.

I enjoy this artist for his creativity and his boldness of course being a recluse! A perfect artist and great also for spreading art to the average person who might not otherwise see it.



and another clip of the artist doing work in palestine

If you are a painter I would suggest doing some stencil type work to give your work more structure.




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