American Inspiration

Blaylock Originals, the licensing company for the art of Ted Blaylock, is betting that patriotic images and nostalgic American scenes will be popular in the next few years.

Best known for his Old West images, Blaylock focuses on nature and wildlife. A self-taught artist who began a full-time career as an artist in 1965, Blaylock opened his first studio and gallery in Collinsville, Ill., in 1969. The artist's move to Arizona in 1972 provided more inspiration, and for the past three decades, he has been creating original art that is purchased by collectors across the country. He also licenses his images to manufacturers in a variety of product categories.

While his rustic train scenes and patriotic eagle images remain his most popular works, Blaylock also creates inspirational images. Harold Blaylock, director of sales and licensing at Blaylock Originals and the artist's son, says his father continues to add new images to his portfolio. "The new 'Spirit of the Flag' series reworks familiar themes in Dad's distinctive style," he says of images such as a smoking locomotive and an eagle with a flag in its talons. "We've seen an increase in the popularity of eagles much like we saw after 9/11. It may be because the country is feeling like something new is on the horizon."

Blaylock has also been working on a Spirit of Christ "I Am" series. "The series is seven to eight images that are close to our hearts," says Blaylock. "As far as licensing goes, it's a niche area for Christian bookstores, and we've licensed the art for T-shirts and puzzles. It's done well for us."

The company, which has had a strong licensing presence in categories such as collectibles and puzzles, is targeting bed and bath, as well as other segments of the market. "We've worked with the Franklin Mint for 10 years and with The Bradford Exchange on plates and collectibles for the past seven years," says Blaylock. "Bradford has done a great job with the product. The cuckoo clock we did in 2008 with the company did extremely well. It was such a high-quality product at such a reasonable price that it flew out. You can provide a great image, but if the product isn't high quality, it doesn't sell. Bradford gets it right."

Moving into the home décor market with Bradford has been a good step for the company. "In addition to the clock, we did eagles on plastic crystal and a Tiffany-style lamp that have allowed us to push into an area we'd like to move further into in the future," he says.

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