A Market for the Masters

Andy Warhol talked about everyone having their 15 minutes of fame. But if Fusion Licensing and ArtMerchandising & Media AG have their way, Salvador Dali will have a lot longer than that.

Dali is widely recognized as the father of the surrealist movement, and his works have a high worldwide recognition value. Much like Wahol, what makes his art even more interesting is the artist's persona. "It's not just art, but art by Dali," says Joshua Romm, president of Fushion Brand Marketing & Licensing.

The Culver City, Calif.-based strategic and brand licensing company has been chosen as the official North America representative of ArtMerchandising & Media AG. Fusion will develop new business opportunities to feature a portfolio of worldwide well-known artists, including Dali, Erte' and Charles Fazzino.

Dali's work is perhaps the best known. "If you look at the personalities of the artists themselves, Dali is ... a definable, charismatic person that people can find a connection to," says Romm. "You can picture Dali's reverse handlebar moustache."

With three current and upcoming motion pictures to be released in the 2009–2010 window, there should be plenty of interest in Dali's life and work. "It is our understanding that Robert Pattinson [star of Twilight] portrayed Dali in the film Little Ashes, and that Al Pacino has been cast as Dali in the upcoming major theatrical release Dali & I: The Surreal Story, and Antonio Banderas will tackle the role in the biopic, Dali," says Romm.

The attention is always good news for a license. "When we learned about the three movie releases and how much buzz was beginning to stir around Dali, we realized how truly relevant this license is now," says Romm. "This is the right time for this license."

Romm says Fusion will be pursuing licensing agreements in intuitive categories, such as home décor, jewelry and apparel, but will look to new opportunities in categories such as fine art supplies. "We have surprises in mind for these artists, such as licenses with fine art brushes and paints," he says.

Fusion also will be handling licensing agreements for works by Erté, recognized as the founder of the art deco movement, and Charles Fazzino, known for 3-D pop art works. "Charles Fazzino defined a style and has been commissioned to do works for very high-profile events, such as the Grammys, the Super Bowl and the Country Music Awards," says Romm.

Artist Arlen Schumer, also represented by Fusion, will appear with the company at the Licensing International Expo. "His dramatic comic art covers everything from storyboards and contemporary art to finished illustrations," says Romm. "He has produced works for notable clients such as Coca-Cola, Exxon, Forbes, IBM and MTV."

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