Surtex 2017 Recap by Misha Zadeh Graham

Misha Zadeh Illustration & Design's second time at Surtex was a charm! We knew what to expect and what we were looking for. Surtex is the premiere art licensing trade show that runs concurrently with ICFF (The International Contemporary Furniture Fair) and NSS (The National Stationery Show) in May at the Javits Center in NYC.

This year my booth team consisted of Surtex veteran, New York-based Mia Baudry and newbie Seattleite Karen Gustafson. Their mix of skill sets and personalities was perfect, and as you can see, they complied with my requirement to model Misha patterns and/or color coordinate with the booth. We had way too much fun exhibiting together and by the end had nicknamed ourselves The Three MishKateers.

Despite attendance being down for both exhibitors and attendees, we had some terrific visitors to our booth with projects we are dying to tell you about. Stay tuned! It was nice to see some of our established clients, and to meet potential clients on our wish list as well as those we weren't familiar with before.

Location-wise, our booth was at the front of the first aisle, surrounded by agent booths, and just up from the escalator entrance to the show. I was nervous about switching locations from last year, which was right smack in the middle of the show and got great traffic, but I think we had better visibility up front.

When creating my booth banners this year I had a sudden urge to use lots of red. I think that energy and Feng Shui helped hook people in. Because we were just one aisle away from ICFF, a lot of folks thought we were wallpaper designers and wanted to put in an order. Wallpaper companies, are you listening? Speaking of booth decor, the ceramics and fabrics that I lugged across the country proved to be worth their weight and hassle, as many buyers appreciated seeing my designs already translated onto the objects they create. They were a hit.

In addition to art directors and manufacturers, we were lucky to have Allison Sloan Polish and Tara Reed from Spoonflower stop by. They gave great tips on boosting my Spoonflower shop presence, and I'm looking forward to uploading many new designs from my portfolio that they were swooning over. Bonus: they matched the booth and are such nice people. By the way, the top I'm wearing in the image above is the Lauren blouse in a cotton lawn fabric made with my Misty Bicycle print, available now through Spoonflower's affiliate Sprout Patterns.) Also check out painter and textiles designer Sarah Charlton Frank, nestled up next to my Entomology panel and looking stylish in her ensemble.

I got to cross off a bucket list item in meeting world renowned color expert and executive director of the Pantone Color Institute Leatrice Eiseman. She has such a presence, and of course her Pantone Color of the Year-inspired outfit was smashing. My crew got to meet, and be charmed by, Alan Friedman of Great Arrow Graphics. He gave us the latest updates about my new line for them which was literally on press during the show! Another fun surprise was a buyer from the neighboring Stationery Show, Daniel Goldin from Milwaukee-based Boswell Book Company. He heard I was showing at Surtex and made his way over to say hi and that he's been a fan and buyer of my Madison Park Greetings designs for years. Awwww. I taught him how to pronounce my last name (Zah-DAY) and he taught us that you don't pronounce the 'l' in Milwaukee.

In six degrees of separation news, I saw long lost colleagues from my Stationery Show days, a couple of fellow UW graduates, a buyer who also happened to be a UW graduate and who worked with a college friend of mine and is related to a high school friend of mine. Of course I loved catching up with talented surface design friends and made many new ones. Basically three days of being super social and talking about art and application possibilities (which I love).

Finally, perhaps you have read about my obsession with Ghormeh Sabzi, a delicious Persian stew made with a plethora of sautéed green herbs, red kidney beans, lime, and beef or lamb. Mia, Karen, and I were extremely honored, and humbled, to have been invited to the Brooklyn home of the lovely and talented illustrator, Kristen Balouch, for an evening of ghormeh sabzi and excellent company after the show on Monday night. Here we are in her cleverly remodeled kitchen with artists Jeanetta Gonzales, Melissa Iwai, and Kristen herself in the pink apron. Side note: Kristen's Ghormeh Sabzi was AMAZING. Honestly one of the top three I've ever had. Kristen uses Najmieh Batmanglij's recipe. Coincidentally, Najmieh (the guru of Modern Iranian Cooking) was our featured guest at the 2016 Seattle Iranian Festival. Six Degrees of Misha Zadeh. Check out Folkland, Kristen's debut fabric collection with Birch Fabrics, available in January of 2018.

I am feeling blessed and lucky to have spent the week with such great people discussing so many exciting opportunities. Here's to getting those opportunities to market!

Were you at Surtex? Are you hoping to attend in the future? I'd love to hear your thoughts below.

Misha Zadeh at Surtex 2017 — Booth 2709 by Misha Zadeh Graham

Misha Zadeh heading to NYC for SURTEX 2017 - Exhibiting in Booth 2709

Misha Zadeh heading to NYC for SURTEX 2017 - Exhibiting in Booth 2709

I'm just days away from my second appearance at SURTEX, an art licensing trade show at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC.  My team and I had a brilliant time exhibiting last year and meeting a number of art buyers in a variety of industries. This year I'm more clear on where I want to be in the surface pattern world and I'm excited to show the new illustrations and patterns I've been working on. I hope to be telling you all about some upcoming licenses very soon! Until then, wish us luck — and I hope I can kick this cold to the curb before I arrive!

See more of my info and images about SURTEX 2017:

Women's March by Misha Zadeh Graham

My mom at the Women's March on Seattle, holding my 'Seeds' sign. Jan 21, 2017

My mom at the Women's March on Seattle, holding my 'Seeds' sign. Jan 21, 2017

On January 21st of this year, my mom and 5 other friends and I participated in the historic Women's March (or Womxn's March) on Seattle. I didn't realize the impact it would have on me as a person and as an artist. There were bright and beautiful people in attendance in all directions as far as the eye could see. Predictions were at 50,000. Crowd estimates put the final tally at 175,000. Anyway, it was such a positive, hope-filled event and it gave me such a feeling of community.

Just before the March, I was inspired to create an illustrated quote of a moving Mexican proverb, "They tried to bury us — they didn't know we were seeds." I first learned of the quote a few years ago and I had such an emotional response to it. It is stirring, yet ultimately resilient and hopeful, which is the way I roll on my good days. I had no sketch, I just sat down with my paintbrush and started lettering and growing my seeds in a watercolor palette of deep blues, oranges, reds and pinks.

The signs got a lot of positive responses from marchers, as did our Pincause Pins (follow the link to learn all about this fantastic group and their amazing mission).

I submitted a vertical version of the sign to the Hear Our Voice callout by the Amplifier Foundation for Women's March posters and was thrilled to hear that it was selected to be featured out of more than 5,000 entries. You can purchase an archival, Giclee print of this art at my Etsy shop. I will be donating 20% of the sales of this print to El Centro De La Raza. You can also download a vertical version for free for personal use via Amplifier. On February 18th, the official Women's March Instagram page featured my sign as the Resistance Sign of the day and it has over 38,000 likes(!!!!). I am honored that a piece so personal to me has resonated with so many other people.

Women's March print by Misha Zadeh

Women's March print by Misha Zadeh

The night that we returned home from the march, I was moved to create another painting — this time commemorating the historic day. I illustrated 4 women of different backgrounds. Two of them represent me and my mom. Two of them are wearing Pincause pins, and they all have fabulous outfits and dos. I also added a pink cat as a nod to the pussy hat project. This piece is also available via Etsy, and I will be donating 20% of the proceeds The ACLU. Haven't they been doing amazing work recently?!

Were you at the March? Which city? And what was your experience like?

2016 UV Holiday Campaign by Misha Zadeh Graham

Misha Zadeh for University Village. On property promotional signage featuring vibrant watercolor illustrations.

Misha Zadeh for University Village. On property promotional signage featuring vibrant watercolor illustrations.

I was thrilled to work with the team at University Village shopping center on their holiday marketing campaign for the second year in a row. This year, we went with gestural watercolor illustrations in a palette of sapphire blue, lush pinky red, warm orange and inky black — which stood out against a crisp, white background. I did some hand lettering, and of course there was a fair share of quirky creatures.

It is a joy to work with a team so receptive to my work, and to promote a place where I've spent a great deal of time over the years. I have particularly nostalgic memories of days spent roaming the peaceful outdoor spaces with my little ones in a stroller — window shopping, enjoying snacks, and watching them climb on the outdoor play structure before the time they reached the age limit. It's my go-to place for creative stimulation — from the stunning, year-round landscaping on the property to the wonderfully curated shelves and walls of Anthropologie, Ravenna Gardens, Fireworks, and the Land of Nod. A visit is not complete without a tasty lunch from Pasta & Co, and of course a macchiato with chocolate covered orange confit from Fran's. Side note, I'd love to do some illustrations for Fran's!

Being a Seattle native, I've seen UV grow and change and become the hub of the neighborhood in the shadow of the University of Washington (my alma mater). I look forward to seeing what the future holds for UV.

Beyond Design: 6x6x3 Art Opening by Misha Zadeh Graham

New work by Julie Jacobson, Amy Hevron and Misha Zadeh debuting at ZINC Art + Object November 17, 2016.

New work by Julie Jacobson, Amy Hevron and Misha Zadeh debuting at ZINC Art + Object November 17, 2016.

About a million years ago, Julie Jacobson, Amy Hevron and I worked as graphic designers at a lovely Seattle firm by the name of Werkhaus. Sadly, Werkhaus is no longer around, but I feel very fortunate for the professional opportunities and the personal friendships that I developed while there. Amy and Julie are now working in mixed media painting and I am a huge fan of both of them. I proudly own one of Amy's first original paintings on wood, Darius the Monkey!

Anyway, the three of us were delighted to be invited to participate in a group show by the fabulously talented dynamo Laura Zeck at her Edmonds-based gallery and shop, ZINC Art + Object. We have all previously participated in solo shows at ZINC, but this group effort has been very special. Our only limitation was to create the work on 6" x 6" panels. I'm excited to view all 36 pieces hung together and hope to see some of my local friends and fans at the opening reception this Thursday night, from 5-8pm. The show will be up through December 12, for those who miss the opening. Let me know if you see a piece you want, but can't get to Edmonds. Some have already been reserved.

Entomology series by Misha Zadeh. 12 original 6"x6" acrylic ink paintings with gold detailing on watercolor paper, mounted on 1.5" wood panels. Each fantastical insect is paired with a positive trait like 'compassion', 'integrity', 'wit','humility'.

Entomology series by Misha Zadeh. 12 original 6"x6" acrylic ink paintings with gold detailing on watercolor paper, mounted on 1.5" wood panels. Each fantastical insect is paired with a positive trait like 'compassion', 'integrity', 'wit','humility'.

Here are a few of the images. All will be added to my licensing portfolio after the show. Contact me to see more.

 

 

The future is yours by Misha Zadeh Graham

Vote 2016 / Misha Zadeh

Vote 2016 / Misha Zadeh

I created this artwork on election day, full of optimism, and frankly a fair bit of confidence that my candidate would win. What an exhausting several few months we've been through. I experienced more emotions during election week than I have since about 2000. After a few days to process and reflect, I land at this: we are extremely fortunate to be living in a country of free and fair elections. Post election, I am realizing that the second sentence in my quote is the more important one. It is time to work for the issues and outcomes that matter to you. This was a call to action to engage in the democratic process. I have so many more feelings about this, but this is an art blog, not a political one. Choose love. Work hard. Try to be compassionate to those who don't look or think like you. Be kind. Make art.

West Elm Seattle by Misha Zadeh Graham

Exciting news: I'm West Elm Seattle's Artist of the month for October.  West Elm is a national home furnishings store and part of the Pottery Barn family. Kind of like the more modern, edgier little sister. I've been a huge fan since they opened their South Lake Union location a few years ago (2201 Westlake Ave). In addition to their own gorgeous furniture and housewares, each West Elm store carries a selection of goods made by local vendors. They also offer local artisans the opportunity to host weekend Pop-Up shops within their space –I'm doing one on December 10th, please save the date!) and they have a dedicated wall where one local artist shows their art for the whole month. Each employee I've interacted with has been fantastic, too. You must go and check out their beautiful wares — and living plant wall — and my art, of course.

My husband Ben and I hung my show (12 framed, one of a kind, cut-paper artworks) on Saturday and by Monday five pieces had already sold, so I was back today replenishing with new pieces. As mentioned, the show will hang through the end of October, so please stop by if you are in the neighborhood. Looks like there might be new pieces added weekly! The subject matter is quirky animals. Mostly owls but a few other surprises thrown in, too. All made from my own etchings and monoprints, with additional hand-drawn embellishments layered on top. Pops of vibrant color and my typical modern touch. Also, each animal has a back story and you get to read all about it once you've bought the piece. If you see something you like but can not make it down to the shop, let me know and we can arrange an online sale. I am happy to ship the matted pieces, unframed.

Buyers who email me after their purchase will receive a thank you gift of holiday letterpress cards.

Join my mailing list to hear about upcoming news and events.

 

 

Ten years of the Seattle Iranian Festival by Misha Zadeh Graham

In 2006, IACA founder Ali Ghambari worked with the fabulous staff of Seattle Center to add the Iranian Festival to their growing list of annual cultural celebrations under the Festál umbrella. I had just had my second baby and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw posters about the event around town. Growing up, the Persian community in the greater Seattle area was quite small, so to think we would now have our very own festival was quite amazing. My second thought was, who puts this on — and why am I not involved?! My family and I went to the festival, which was fun and humble and held in one of the smaller venues at Seattle Center. By the time the second festival had come and gone, I decided that professional level design work would help elevate the festival and not only entice a larger audience to the event, but would attract higher level performers and guests. I approached the IACA with my proposal, and soon found myself as the art director for the festival — not only creating the graphic look and feel of each year's festival — but coming up with the theme the majority of the time.

Design-wise, I've wanted to make each year unique in terms of theme/iconography and color palette. I have selected visuals that are universal or relatable, while still being 'Iranian'. I have managed to throw in second reads and hidden meanings some of the time. Like the rest of my work, the vibe is modern and dramatic with a bold use of color. This helps the artwork stand out in a sea of busy cafe posters clamoring for your attention. You can look through an album of posters with explanations about the meanings on my Facebook Page. Which is your favorite, and why?

By my second year, I introduced a literary component to the festival, and brought on Elliott Bay Book Company to have a prime booth and offer titles by Iranian and Iranian American authors. I also began a tradition of hosting a featured writer each year. My first was Jasmin Darznik. I went on to bring in Anita Amirrezvani, Louisa Shafia, Porochista Khakpour, Hamid Rahmanian and Najmieh Batmanglij. Hosting these talented memoirists / novelists / cookbook writers / artists has truly been a highlight of my life.

This year the festival celebrated it's tenth year. I heard numerous comments about it being the best one yet in terms of the level of performers and guests, food, as well as attendance. In addition to Najmieh Batmanglij, cookbook author and the guru of Iranian cooking who has appeared on the Martha Stewart show AND recently put together a Norooz dinner at the White House (!!), I was honored to help bring in renowned architect Hossein Amanat to speak about his stunning Azadi monument complex, the subject of this year's poster, which has become a symbol of modern Tehran, and which he designed as a young university graduate back in 1966. He is a living legend, and a truly kind and humble man. What a treat to hear him discuss the conceptual goals behind the piece — which undoubtedly led him to win the nationwide competition to design the monument at such a young age.

Learn more about this (and previous years') festivals on the IACA page.