New York City in January

I just got back from a few days in New York, both setting up the FRED booth at The NY International Gift Fair and visiting my agent and publisher. Those meetings went well… more on that stuff *soon* !

Upon arriving in The Big City, we checked into the W Hotel, waaaayyy way up on the 30th floor.

The first thing I saw when I looked out the window was this:

What!?! Billy Elliot is playing right there in the back yard?? This is the one play I really wanted to see. We tried to get tickets the last time we were in town. This time, GOT ‘EM! It’s one of my favorite movies, so I was really curious about how they would make it a musical, of all things. So after walking around in the -20 weather to my meetings, Eric and I went to a Belgian restaurant (carbonnade flamande!) and then to the show:

It was fabulous! They did a great job of integrating ballet/dance/singing and miners striking and swearing. One would think that couldn’t be done, but they did it. Now that I am involved in community theater here at home, I couldn’t help but look at all the technical stuff involved. How did they keep the smoke machine smoke so even along the ground? How did they fling that kid on a wire from one end of the stage to the other without him dying? And just how deep do those hydraulic stage mechanisms go into the earth? And wow, dancing pants. I didn’t expect that! See it if you get the chance!

Never been to a big trade show before? You don’t know what you’re missing! Here’s me at the Fred booth (set up the day before, you can’t imagine how hellish the show looks the day before the show!):

All nice and clean, see? All the products looking their spiffy best!

We have a big TV now that scrolls through images. Cool. Here’s me with a WineStein:

My pal Barb was set up in a different section of the show devoted to licensing artists. This is a booth that’s hard to ignore! Check out the new fabrics and lamps!

Look who was overseeing The Javits Center!

Wait a minute. What did that taxi say? Let’s try that again.

Ah, irony. You’ve got to love irony!
It really was frigidly cold while we were there, so we didn’t stay outside too much. Here’s Eric freezing in Times Square!

Here’s George M. Cohan freezing in Times Square, too. He’s always cool. Yeah.

You know what we DIDN’T see in New York?

No KISS-guys with baseball bats. No mercenary mimes. No Riffs, no subway-stalking rollerskating guys. No Warriors at all!
And only one Lizzie. Hehehe.

2009 Surtex, Stationery Show, ICFF, and Giant Rotating Lobsters

Where else but New York City! I just got back from a whirlwind 4-day stay in the Large Apple with some of my most excellent illustrating gal pals. Two of the aforementioned pals had their own booths at Surtex for the first time, and the rest of us went to cheer them on, help out, and walk the shows. Barb’s booth was bursting with licensing goodness:



And Monica’s was all a-flutter with fun freshness:



Barb and Monica did an AMAZING job of putting these booths together, they truly looked excellent! Surtex (or any show like this) can be grueling in terms of setup/breakdown, and manning the booth for the whole time. Way to go, girls, for managing this. We also got to see a bunch of other blog buddies and other illustrators, like Jannie Ho and Holli Conger. Very fun to see everyone converging in one place!

Laura and I also got to check out the ICFF/International Contemporary Furniture Fair.
Despite the name, there is no cotton candy or pig racing at this fair. You will, instead find things like this:


Lots of furniture, lighting concepts, and home fixtures of all kinds. I always like to check this show out since some of my Fred work falls into this genre of design. Speaking of design, here’s Laura in the fabulous Japanese pavillion:


Here’s one of Mary Beth’s two Louie-nominated greeting cards at the Stationery Show:


And OH! Look! Here’s Mary Beth with the actual Louie Award that she won! WooHoo! The Louies are given to the the best greeting cards of the previous year. MB’s cards were designed for the Museum of Modern Art, NYC.


Our hotel had excellent views of about a hundred water tanks!


And look at this ridiculously green rooftop garden amongst the grey. I never once saw anyone up there enjoying it!


As usual, you can never predict what you’ll see in New York.
Maybe you’ll see:
A ginormous button and needle. We couldn’t figure out the weird configuration of button holes on that button. Then we decided it was “art”.

I love this homage to the city’s immigrant garment workers!

Weeniemobiles…times three!

Giant rotating lobsta! And a chick in a bathing suit looking on. Weird.


Serious M&Ming going on at the 3-level M&M store…

Or, if you prefer your chocolate to be Hershey’s, just go across the street.

My hero George M. Cohan will gladly show you the way to any of the freaky sights in Times Square. Just be glad I didn’t take a picture of The Naked Cowboy.

One of my must-go-to-places in NYC…the giant Toys R Us, complete with Ferris wheel inside!

Life-size functional Tyrannosaurus? This is always amusing no matter how many times I’ve seen it.

Likewise insanely large things made out of Legos.

Speaking of which, look at these cool Harry Potter Lego guys in the FAO Schwarz:


To cap off the Surtex/NY experience, we went to Angelo’s in Little Italy for an amazing dinner. It was sort of like Federal Hill, but, um…more so!


We’ll be back next year to do it all again!

2008 Surtex, The Stationery Show, ICFF, and All the Wonders of New York in One Post

June 2.
Ah, it seems like only yesterday it was June 1. Which is still a couple of weeks late for me to be blogging about NYC, but here goes anyhow!


My illustratin’ gal pals and me jumped off the train and hit the Surtex and Stationery shows right on the first day.


The overview here, as modeled by Laura, gives you a tiny idea of the sheer quantity of printed matter contained within the Stationery Show.It boggles the mind.


See? See down there? Thousands of greeting cards, paper goods, collectibles, gift bags, etc., and all the fine people who’d like to sell ’em. It’s a great way (as an artist) to see who’s doing what, and where your art might fit in…but it’s not set up for that purpose, per se. Surtex, on the other hand, has a different vibe. It’s mainly artists and art reps who are showing images to license. Almost everyone we met here was happy to talk about their experiences with having a booth and/or the ups and downs of selling art (or art usage). Very interesting.

We hit the city for dinner and a little shopping. Here’s the colossal M+M’s Store:


Do you need pink, purple, and green M+M’s? I did, and by gosh, I got ’em!
Do you need chartreuse, aqua, and dusty rose M+M’s? They probably have ’em.


Here’s Janet and me dazzled by the array of choices. And stuff. And noise!
I also managed to go thru the ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair), which is very different from Stationery or Surtex, mainly because it has couches instead of paper goods. And all kinds of other highly designed, one-of-a-kind furnitury stuff. And all kinds of housewary stuff, too. My work at FRED dictates that at least part of me* be “in touch” with the world of cutting- edge design. I am sure you can tell this when you look at my bunny illustrations.

* the small but extremely hip part


After 2 solid days of show walking, Monica and I went shopping in Soho. We tried to hunt down gluten-free goodies for her, but alas, we were NOT very successful! So instead we bought yarn and fabric.
Here’s Monica at Purl Soho:


WAY TOO MANY colors to choose from! I bought some adorable fabric at the sister store, Purl Patchwork…I’ll show it sometime.

How cute is this random store window??


On the last day in the city, I was on my own. Country girl in the big city? Yeah, it freaks me out a bit.I got to meet up with my editor at Simon and Schuster, which happens to be right next door to Radio City Music Hall!


Oh, yeah! And right across the street from The Giant Metal Guy of Rockefeller Center!


Actually it’s Prometheus, ancient God of insanely fast-paced cities.
And what do you know…I was watching the Today Show with MB in the hotel room, and right outside the door practically was the ACTUAL Today Show! They were doing some kind of wedding game:


Trust me, it was exciting.
I had a bagel at the Dean and DeLuca that you can always see in the background of the Today Show.
I found this to be very surreal.


Cool, NBC of course.
Whenever I am in NYC, I MUST go to the big Toy’s R US:


It’s got a toy-themed Ferris wheel in it. WooHoo!

And a life-size T-rex, too:


And something equally as terrifying…an entire wall of My Little Pony!
My MLP lover would be in Seventh Heaven!


I went to American Girl store, too…a real destination if you are a girl, a doll, or a person with an unusual fascination for merchandising.
My 2 favorite dolls are: Molly, because she’s got a whole 1940’s world:


And Julie, because she’s got a whole 70’s world:


And here’s a typical weird thing you’d see in the city- a model in a photo shoot in the middle of traffic!


Times Square:


And of course, another thing I always look for when in NYC, the statue of George M. Cohan!


George looks pretty weird surrounded by the competing visual noise.
But even in his day, Times Square was something like this, I guess.
He liked it that way!
After the George sighting, I caught the train back home and talked to a fascinating lady from New Delhi all the way home.
I think I know everything about her now, except her name!
People can be fun.
Back to work for me!