I am pleased to introduce to you my art licensing friend Nicole Tamarin.
We first met in person at the 2012 Surtex, and I invited her on the blog for a brief feature of her work. Of course, she is super busy doing art and caring for her family, so finally at Surtex 2013 we were able to nail down a plan for this interview. She is a very kind soul with beautiful art, but I will let her tell the story in her own words.
Please introduce yourself & describe your current work?
My name is Nicole Tamarin and I’m a Licensing Artist and Illustrator from Worcester MA. I have always loved working with my hands; from crafts, to sewing, to interior design. Sometimes it has seemed like I’ve had a bad case of Art ADD. My main medium of choice is watercolor which I’ve been creating in for over 15 years. I attended Mass College of Art thinking I’d be a children’s book illustrator but it wasn’t until I started creating art for Licensing that I realized my true passion. I adore details and decorative elements wether I am painting florals or children’s characters or original lettering. It has taken me some time to realize that it was okay to just make things which are pretty!
For which products do you currently license and what’s next?
Right now my art can be found on electronic skins, flip flops, wall art, fabric, stationary and invitations. I also have a line of greeting cards which just came out in 2013 called Gelato which will include 43 designs by the end of the year. I have gone back and forth a thousand times wether or not I wanted to create my own products or sell direct to the public but there has been something that has held me back in that area. At this point, I wish to continue to work with those who do the producing, but I would like to expand into some new product categories.
How did you get started in your area of art?
In September of 2010, I had several things happen all at once. I lost my full time employment, lost an illustration job because I refused to sell my rights and was directed to Tara Reed’s site where I listened to my first recorded call about Licensing. These three events in combination with a bit of soul searching helped me realize it was time to pursue the art career I had set my mind on as a kid. I set the ridiculous goal (not that I knew it at the time) of exhibiting at Surtex in 2012. I had no portfolio or information about the industry but it became 100% of my focus. I researched like crazy, taught myself how to create in repeat pattern and dug in on crafting a portfolio suitable for this new market. After launching my business last year, I haven’t looked back!
What do you think sets you apart from all of the other artists out there doing what you do?
My attention to detail along with the steps I take to produce work which is consistently polished. I feel very strongly about creating my art traditionally and although I don’t see myself moving away from that anytime soon, I have acquired the digital skills needed to provide companies what they need in the form they need it. It was my main goal when I started in this industry to make my traditional art as easy to use as its digital counterparts and so far, it has been well received.
What advice would you give to an artist starting out today?
Do your research but also listen to your gut. Sometimes all I would read is how difficult it is to get started and how it’s not the same as it was in years past, there is no work, there are too many artists, there are no advances, the shelf life too short and the deadlines too unrealistic. It’s not that these things aren’t true, but you have to believe you have your own path in any field. Your story is aloud to be different. Also, have good work ethics, go that extra little bit for your clients, share what you know with others, and do not go into debt to start.
What is something you cherish?
When I started my journey to pursue a career in art, I had the extreme fortune to be invited to join The Freelance Artists Network. This wonderful group of ladies have witnessed my first collection, my first Surtex right up through my first contract, along with all the messiness in between! They are a constant source of inspiration, education, and support. I truly believe that certain individuals who come into your life when you need them and this group has been that for me. I have never been around such an exceptional group of people and it is the friendships and relationships that have developed out of it are what I cherish most.
Where can we find out more about you and your art?
Thanks Nicole for sharing your lovely art with us. See you next year at Surtex!