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Art Leasing & Commercial Licensing


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On July 13, 2011, Spacetaker hosted a workshop for artists on Art Leasing & Commercial Licensing presented by Michele LaRocco of 360 Degrees of Art and Blakely Bering. This is the presentation that …

On July 13, 2011, Spacetaker hosted a workshop for artists on Art Leasing & Commercial Licensing presented by Michele LaRocco of 360 Degrees of Art and Blakely Bering. This is the presentation that accompanied the workshop.

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  • 1. Art Leasing & Commercial Licensing
    Special Thanks to our Presenters:
    Michele LaRocco, 360 Degrees of Art
    Blakely Bering, Bering Art Collective
    Hosted by Spacetaker on July 13, 2011
  • 2. Art Leasing
    What is it?
    Renting a single piece or body of artwork to a business for a pre-determined length of time at a pre-determined rate
    What businesses are interested in leasing art?
    Hospitals and other medical facilities, corporate offices, restaurants, city or government offices, and more
    What type of artwork are they looking for?
    Photography & mixed media does well; work that doesn’t look like any Joe Shmoe could have done it
    What doesn’t work: anything erotic, overtly political, or anything that could be potentially offensive
  • 3. How to enter the world of art leasing as the artist
    The process:
    Be honest about your work ethic, production level, and your boundaries as an artist
    Determine whether you want to approach an art lease independently or with the help of a consultant
    Agent commission is typically 10-20% of lease agreement
  • 4. If you choose to work with a consultant…
    Responsibilities of an art consultant for art leasing
    Creates the proposals and conducts the presentation to perspective clients
    Project manages every aspect of the art lease program
    Sources all works of art
    Contracts and insurance
    Delivery and installation of works
    Point of contact for client
    Responsible for taking payment from clients and issuing rental payment to artists
    Responsibilities of an artist when working with an art consultant
    Understand what your art consultant is doing for you
    Be patient
    Be able to follow a production timeline
    Look presentable when delivering your work to a client
  • 5. Understanding the difference between the types of Art Lease programs:
  • 6. The 3 C’s:Care, Custody, Control
    An exclusion common to several forms of liability insurance, which eliminates coverage with respect to damage to property in the insured's care, custody, or control.
    In some cases, CCC has been determined to entail physical possession of the property.
    In others, any party with a legal obligation to exercise care with respect to property has been deemed to have that property in its CCC.
  • 7. Understanding the difference between Retail Purchase Price & Rental
  • 8. What to include in the Lease Agreement
    Lease terms
    Straight Lease 6 – 12 months
    Lease to Purchase fixed 32 months
    Payment terms
    Monthly rent; date due and payment method
    Annual rent; date due and payment method
    Penalties if payment received late
  • 9. What to include in the Lease Agreement (cont’d)
    Security Deposit
    How much and the conditions for its return
    Ownership and Use
    The rights you grant to the Lessee
    Should damage occur, the process for repairs and costs
    Care, Custody & Control (the 3 C’s)
  • 10. Commercial Licensing
    What is it?
    Licensing is a way of generating income from your art. Instead of selling originals or selling your designs outright, many artists will grant the right (license) to use their art on a specific product, for a set time period in exchange for a percentage of sales. This percentage is called a royalty. By licensing your art, you have the potential to earn income on the same art piece or collection several times. (definition from
    What businesses are interested in licensing art?
    Big box chains and corporate stores
  • 11. What is the process of Licensing?
    Submit Art to Art Director/Publishing House (enter into a written contractual agreement)
    Wait, wait, sometimes more waiting
    Have work selected
    Have work shown to buyers
    Wait for buyer to purchase work after samples have been sent to their headquarters
    Finally your work is purchased and put into production
    Orders take anywhere from 1 week to 8 months to confirm and ship
    What happens when it gets to a store…
  • 12. What is the process of Licensing? (cont’d)
    How do Art Directors choose images?
    They study the fashion and design industry closely to be on top of the color & style trends of fashion; last season’s fashion tells you the colors for art the next season
    What is a Line?
    A selection of artwork that an Art Director pieces together from a variety of artists to create the best options to take to Market and/or to send to big box stores (after research on what is “hot” at each store)
    Where do images go once they have been selected for a line?
    They are sent to reps at various big box/corporate stores
    What is a Furniture Market?
    Annual buying opportunity; art lines the walls completely; there are 5 major Markets; High Point is the biggest (10-mile radius of showrooms)
    Who comes to Market?
    Buyers from chain and corporate stores
  • 13. What is the process of Licensing? (cont’d)
    What do buyers look for in art?
    Follow current fashion/color/style/texture trends; mass appeal; fresh/new
    Why has the market changed so dramatically in the past 2 years and how does it affect American artists?
    It has become increasingly difficult to work with China as quality control has declined (and takes longer to ship); This has benefited American artists
    How should artists think about color and style trends?
    Pay attention to trends in fashion & furniture industry, what colors are hot in paint stores, etc.
    What is regionalization?
    Being able to adapt your work to “look” like different regions; i.e. They want their stores in Texas to have Texas-theme (cowboys/boots); stores in New Jersey to have North Shore theme, etc.
  • 14. Selling Publishing Rights vs. Royalties
    What is the difference?
    You sell your work (means you sell your copyright) which guarantees a lump sum payment (regardless of whether the company ever sells your piece or not)
    Royalties offer a % of sales on a monthly or quarterly basis for the lifetime of the licensing terms
    What are the pros and cons of each?
    Pros and cons vary depending on what type of artist you are, how regularly you produce/re-produce, and whether you want money up front or are willing to wait for royalties.
    Example: Person who designed Nike swoosh sold publishing rights for $800 instead of choosing to take royalties; if she had taken royalties she could be making mega $
    What is the industry standard commission structure?
    5-12% royalties for giclees; lowest is 3%
    Purchasing outright price varies depending on what it is and who is buying it
  • 15. Artist Checklist:Self-Representation
    Contract, Contract, Contract; Question, Question, Question
    If you are going to be representing yourself in the commercial licensing world it is VITAL that you get everything in writing!
    If you send samples for review or are asked to send samples, be sure they understand what you are granting them permission to do with those samples (EX: are they for "review purposes only", can they show them to clients, etc)
  • 16. Artist Checklist:Self-Representation (cont’d)
    If the publishing/licensing house wants to move forward with you, make sure you understand the terms of use, payment/royalty schedule, commission structure, what they can and can not do with your image. Understand your rights (Intellectual and Copyrights) and if confused, ask questions or ask someone to review the contract for you.
    Ask who they typically do business with and what type of work moves the best
    See if the structure for royalty differs based on the medium used in production (EX: giclees will be more expensive to produce and therefore typically have a lower commission percentage than posters/prints)
  • 17. Artist Checklist:Working with an Agent
    Ask Questions!
    How long have they been in business? Is this all they do? If not, what else are they involved in?
    Get references. If they have happy artists, they shouldn't worry about giving you some people to contact. In some cases, artist and agent sign a confidentiality clause to ensure names are not released. Ask about this.
  • 18. Artist Checklist:Working with an Agent (cont’d)
    How many artists do they work with? What medium and style do they work in? How long have they had their clients?
    How many publishing/licensing houses do they work with and why?
    What is their commission structure?
  • 19. Artist Checklist:Working with an Agent (cont’d)
    What if I don’t want certain companies to have access to my work?
    If you are working with a publishing house, your work could be seen by any company; if you are choosy you should not enter the licensing industry
    How long will my work be licensed for?
    Standard licensing term is 3 years
    What does copyright really mean?
    Educate yourself. Good resource is Texas Accountants & Lawyers for the Arts -
    Ask for an agent agreement from them and make sure you understand it!
  • 20. THANK YOU!
    Visit for more information about Spacetaker’s professional development workshops for artists and other opportunities and resources for artists.