Art 101

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Education art products such as how-to books and instructional DVDs are inspiring consumers to learn to create.

Inspired by TV programs such as Martha Stewart and DIY Network, more consumers are turning to art as a means of personal expression and do-it-yourself decorating. Consumers are learning to paint, create collages, and decorate with sponge painting or stenciling techniques. Some 76 percent of 1,011 respondents to a PULSE report survey (see chart) say they participate in DIY home decorating activities such as painting, while 48 percent do crafts such as scrapbooking. As a result, artists are teaming up with educational and publishing companies to introduce how-to books and instructional DVDs. Says Claudine Hellmuth, an Orlando, FL-based artist, "Usually crafters start out as scrapbookers and then get the art bug and begin experimenting with new techniques, such as rubber stamping."

Book Smart

Craft artist, potter, and painter Jane Davies of Rupert, VT-based Jane Davies Studios is known for her bold and colorful patterns. After studying ceramics at Bennington College in Vermont and the School for American Crafts in Rochester, NY, Davies opened her own studio in 1991. She sold her ceramics at craft shows and through galleries, before gradually transitioning into designing products for Department 56 (ceramic giftware and tableware), Creative Expressions (paper and party goods), and Free Spirit Fabrics (quilting fabrics).

Davies is the author of "A Glaze of Color: Creating Color and Design on Ceramics" and "Collage With Color: Create Unique Expressive Collages in Vibrant Color" (both Watson-Guptill Publications). Her most recent book, "Collage With Color," is set to ship in October; the suggested retail is $19.95.

Why collage? "In my own work, I often use this medium as a way to generate ideas and create images," says Davies, who wanted to share her methodology with others. "Decorating papers for collage doesn't require skills that take a long time to master," she notes. "This accessibility makes it a direct medium in which to develop one's own artistic sensibilities." The ever-increasing popularity of the scrapbooking category also generated much interest in paper crafts.

"Collage With Color," which covers decorative painting, collage, scrapbooking, and other paper crafts, targets creative types who seek more challenging techniques than what most step-by-step books offer. "Rather than prescribing all the colors and shapes, I encourage readers to experiment and develop their own creative voices," Davies says. Davies' extensive launch plan includes promoting in the craft marketplace via various publications, and possibly book signings during craft, trade, and consumer shows. Paper craft kits for hobbyists are a key area of interest for her.

Artist Hellmuth's first book, "Collage Discovery Workshop," came out in November 2003 and sold 40,000 copies. Her second book, "Collage Discovery Workshop: Beyond the Unexpected" (Northlight Books), now is available at bookstores, art supply and craft stores, and at Amazon.com (suggested retail, $23). Hellmuth also produced two instructional DVDs (Creative Catalyst Productions) on collage. Available online, suggested retail is $30. Hellmuth says she also would like to have her own line of paints or inks.

Master's Programs

In addition to inspirational painter Thomas Kinkade's vast licensing program, which ranges from gifts and collectibles to home decorating accessories, the "Painter of Light" also offers a complete fine arts and crafts line that includes paint, colored pencils, paint brushes, oil pastels, paint-and pencil-by-number sets, and figurines that can be painted.

In September 2003, Thomas Kinkade inked an agreement with RoseArt for instructional DVDs with topics ranging from paint-by-number sets to learning to oil paint. The DVDs target existing artists, as well as aspiring artists (ages 8 and up). Available in the fall at craft stores, suggested retail is $9.99. According to Vito Amato, vice president of licensing and marketing, RoseArt Industries, the "Learn to Draw" and "Learn to Paint" categories are being pursued next.

Tuning in to Art

"It has been a wild ride," proclaims Shannon Grissom of her art career, which now includes a TV show. After completing a painting class in 1992, Grissom realized she wanted to become a professional artist. By 1998 she resigned from her job as a recruiter and began painting full time. In 2003, she started her TV show and currently is the executive producer and host of Give Your Walls Some Soul, a "how-to" painting show that airs in California. The "live-to-tape" show offers a realistic painting session that aims to inspire the audience to set aside their fears and create.

Grissom's five-year plan is to expand the scope of her licensing, television work, and book publications. She says, "The earning power of an image should not be limited to a one-time sale."

Anne-Marie Esson's TV program, The Passionate Artist Painting Style, which is in development by SCETV, aims to teach beginners to cultivate their own style. Esson stresses progressive awareness in subject matter, sketch and wash, and final paint application techniques. "A painting show was the quickest way to market my brand," admits the artist, who is interested in signing on licensees in publishing and education. Both Grissom and Esson are represented by Karen Hacker, vice president of sales and licensing at Mission Viejo, CA-based TSB & Co.

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