And… that’s another year almost put to bed. Truth be told, it’s one I’ll be glad to see the ass end of (I briefly considered titling this post “Kiss My Ass 2012″ ).
Definitely a BIG year for me, by any standard, and one of constant change. When we went to bed in the wee hours of January 1st, I had pretty concrete, definite ideas of where 2012 would go. For better or worse, though, very few of those ideas came to fruition.
It’s interesting to view it in comparison with the previous year. 2011 started badly, marked with illness and drama. But every month after that was better than the preceding one, culminating in December – which, despite certain difficulties, was easily the happiest month of my entire life.
Which only made January of 2012 even shittier in comparison, as everything bottomed out on me at once.
By the time that month was over, everything that had been good about December was gone.
And I was done.
Each of the next three months had some further catastrophic event to add to the trauma. But fortunately, lots of work was happening, and my creativity never waned. So I kept painting, kept working, and kept my head above water.
Since then it’s been up and down.
It’s only in the last month or so that things feel like they’re coming together again, and my bruised ego finally put in an appearance again. So let’s focus on that, shall we? Who had the most positive, supportive impact on my life in December?
The roll call, in no particular order:
My family, Cynthia Griffiths, Jocelyn Aspa, Greg Lexiphanic, Brendan Moran, Lori Kittelberg, Pardeep, Ceci Graber, Terry Burns, Louise Perrin, Allison Vincent, Donna-Jay Crowe, Donna Jaggard & Dan Udey, Christine Warner, Lindsay Bayne, Alex Stewart, Dan Parker, Candice Roach, Bryce Pugh, Jewel Staite, Mike Watson, John Watson, George Smeltzer, Amanda West, Jaime Lee Purgavie, Rochele Potter, Andrea Waters, Geoff Seymour, Jennifer Juniper, Lyndsey MacEwen, Cathy Browne, Cindy McShane, Mila Pasco, Felice Lam, Chantal Michaud, Geoff Gauthier, Bon Bahar, Annie Friesen, Lynn McIlwee, Tawna Taylor, Jenn Ashton, Lisa Jarvis, Jackie Teel, Kevin Meyers, Jonny Warkentin, August Wiled, Nicola Proctor, and Victoria Pattison Denault.
I thank you one and all.
Disclaimer: if I missed you, you have my sincerest apologies. And I’ll keep editing names in as they occur to me.
I’ve had a pretty stellar year, artwise. Amazing things were accomplished within this narrow timeframe, and I received an absolutely stunning amount of support from people far and wide. People who bought my art, pimped it to their friends, inspired and encouraged me. Great people, in short.
So as a thank-you gesture, I’m having a studio open house at my place next Friday. There’ll be lots of art on display, refreshments of some sort, and I may work on a painting or do some sketching during the process.
Come by and say hello:
3:00-7:00PM, Friday, Dec. 28
503-1101 Pacific Street in Vancouver (buzzer 503)
Thank you, thank you.
So yesterday’s sale was a smashing success. I commandeered the studio at Imagemaker Photographic Studio , lots of good, fun people showed up, paintings and prints were sold, and a good time was had by all. The show wasn’t even started before several prints were already sold, and with the guidance of a few friends, the momentum kept going as we turned the sale into a bit of a Twitter event (#BretsBigArtSale).
(Photo courtesy of George Smeltzer – GSCameraworks )
I was really touched by how much effort people made to promote the sale. Plenty of mentions, retweets, photos and link sharing on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Right off the bat, I should thank these fine people:
John & Chrissy Watson, George Smeltzer, Lori Kittelberg, Patti Catroppa, Ceci Graber, Brandy Trudeau, Jeff Hornby, Donna Jay-Crowe, Adam Carlson, Ned Tobin, Nikki Cruickshank, Nicola Rueschmann, Richard Finch, Adé Win, Vincent Ng, everybody at Cosca and Novo, Nicola Rueschmann, Yvonne Milroy, Matty Sadorf, April Trasy, Valarie H., Kimli, Stephanie Insixiengmay, Anthony Wittrock, DaDe Art & Design Lab, Vancouver Vantage, Carly Fryer, BC Berrie, Lora Jean, John Bell, Jenn Ashton, Lola Frost, Louise Perrin, Ashley November, Steve Kubien, and of course my family.
Sold a set of 6 bourbon prints, a Jack Daniel’s print, the Crow’s Funeral painting I did in tribute to my good friends Lisa and Paul in Mojave , etc. etc. I was sort of sad to see this one go, but at least it went to a good home:
(Photo courtesy of Brandy Trudeau)
In the midst of all the wining and dining and wheeling and dealing, I managed to get a little sketching in:
(Photo courtesy of Tess McCann)
And of course, adult beverages were provided to keep spirits up (see what I did there?). There’s still a bit of wine left in my fridge, but the tequila didn’t survive:
After 6 hours we packed up the paintings and called it a night. Only thing left to do at that point was celebrate with vodka and poutine.
Thank you one and all for a stellar day. Let’s do it again sometime soon.
P.S. Thanks to everyone who put up with my twitchiness and general neurosis on the days leading up to the sale. Apparently I’m always going to be a bit of a mess right up to the point where a sale/show starts.
So here we are, almost at the tail end of another year. It’s been really up-and-down for me, but for our purposes here let’s focus on the pros and not the cons. I met an astounding number of new friends, both locally and worldwide. And among other things, these friends (as well as the ones who’ve been with me for years) have bought and/or promoted my art everywhere .
I’ve been interviewed, profiled, reviewed, you name it. I was in two very successful shows (the second of which was my first solo show, and let me tell you, brothers and sisters, that there was no small amount of anxiety in the days leading up to that one). I’ve had many commissions, a handful of which are nearing completion as we speak.
So without further ado, here’s the roll call for 2012. It’s loosely organized into categories, but there’s so much overlap that I’d rather not get too specific about what those categories are. Here we go:
My family, Dan Udey, Jenn Ashton, Patti Catroppa, Nicole and Todd Cruickshank, Ceci Graber, Lori Kittelberg, Donna Jaggard, Lisa Jarvis, Mario Loubert, Joe Clark, Karina Halle, Scott McKenzie, Regan Taylor, Devin Oickle, Jeff Murphy, Mike Seymour, Geoff Seymour, Susan Burzynski, Cynthia McShane, Lola Augustine, Jenny Burzanko, Linda Kat Spencer, Domenick Bartuccio, Geoff Gauthier, Anthony Wittrock, Jennifer Davis, Kit Knowles, Randy Bishop, Blair Pritchett.
Colin and Cameron and P.J. from the Tipper, Franziska San Pedro, Lori McNee, Lindsay B., K. Myles, Ned Tobin, Mike Hoffman, Cathryn Salter, Crystal Kwon and Karm at VanCity Buzz, Sati from LiveVan, Vincent Ng, Bahaneh Grewal, Matty Sadorf, Lexy Stabbs, Meghan Low, John Lee, Ian A. Martin, Rheni Tauchid.
John Watson, George Smeltzer, Gary Bolt, Tina Power, Stephanie Young, Jaye Frisina, Pól Rua, Mike Watson, Donna Jay, Jeff Hornby, Anthony Smith, and everybody at RedBubble, Imagekind, Blurb, MOO Cards and ABC Photocolour.
Robert Genn, Alyson Stanfield.
And obviously, Tess McCann.
I thank you all.
(Please note: if I left you out, it’s not a personal slight; it’s just the effects of my insomnia. In which case, drop me a line and I’ll correct the oversight ASAP.)
One of the things that makes being an artist so fulfilling is the feedback I get from people. Another big one is knowing that my art is in so many people’s homes and offices. Ideally I’d like to have something of mine in every Canadian province and U.S. state (among many other places).
Off the top of my head, there is art of mine in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. That only leaves Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In the U.S.: California, Ohio, North Dakota, D.C., Pennsylvania, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Virginia… obviously I’ve got a long way to go there. I’ve also sold prints, calendars and t-shirts in England and Australia.
What really floats my boat, though, is seeing the art in context – hanging on someone’s wall, where people see it every day. It’s kinda mindblowing sometimes to think that people are spending their time looking at my art that way. A handful of people have even been kind enough to send me photos:
Honestly, this does my heart good. Thanks, everybody.
Just a quick report: the show with Mojave was a smashing success. Sold all but one of the pieces I had for sale, and sold them in the first half hour or so. Had a nice talk with the owner, and it looks like I’ll be putting more art up for display/sale there in the near future. And I still want to put on a full-fledged gallery-type show before the end of the summer, and it should be possible to book the room we used last weekend for that very purpose.
Based on the responses I’ve been getting to my art lately, I want to explore three very specific directions for my painting. To that end I started six new paintings today, though there’s not really anything to show at the moment.
I also ponied up the hundred bucks to buy a platinum membership at Imagekind. That gives me added galleries, a custom storefront (which I’m still tweaking), and most importantly a lot more info on sales – detailed figures, and info on where the buyers are and what they bought. Turns out I’ve made a pretty decent chunk of cash over the last year and a half with Imagekind.
I’m pretty pleased with Redbubble, too. I’ve recently added t-shirts to my online merchandise, and those are slowly starting to move. Thinking about postcards next.
There’s probably more stuff I’m forgetting, but it’s late. So I’ll just leave you with this recently-completed commission:
P.S. Special thanks to Lisa & Paul, Dan Udey, Susan Burzynski and Mario Loubert.
Just a brief end-of-the-year post. I’ve gotten an overwhelming amount of support for my art over this past year: invaluable creative input on many fronts, inspiration, commissions, and print sales. I can’t begin to express how important this has all been to me. I’m starting to have an actual art career , and I couldn’t have done it without that support.
Hell, why don’t I just list some names? In no particular order: Cynthia McShane, Regan Taylor, Chad Horwedel, Berkley McLean, Lori Kittelberg & George Smeltzer, John & Chrissy Watson, Joe Clark, Mike Watson, Brandee Brown Barker, Genina Dovale, Ben Lipman, Rob Cooper, Nicole & Todd Cruickshank, Linda Kat Spencer, Cathryn Smith, Holly Morrison, Brian Cronin, Jason Williams, Eric & Jennifer Davis, Don Lloyd, Gus Lindgren, Tina Power, Neil Ford, Asa Ellerup, Alyson B. Stanfield, Paul Sizer, Lola Augustine Brown, Gary Bolt & Morna Tudor, Sean Parrack, Mike Rooth, Jeff Hotchkiss, Donald Milliken, Jason Light, Chris Nowlin, Ray Rivard, Gene Gillespie, Robert Genn, Amber Mac, Eddy Crosby, Wes Thompson, Jeff Clow, Jessi Sensabaugh, Kevin Bungay, Laura Whaley, Pól Rua, Thom Taylor, Jaye Frisina, Lisa and Rev. Paul from Mojave, Matt Osepchook, Paula McCloskey, Lief Peng, Mordechai Luchins, Daphna Luchins, Mystery Shopper, the gang(s) at CBR, deviantArt, WetCanvas, Whitechapel, Flickr and Motorburg…
… and most of all my extended family, without whom none of this would even be happening.
Thank you all so very, very much.
P.S. If I forgot to mention you, it’s a headcold-induced oversite on my part. No offense intended.
Today the UPS guy dropped off an amazing present:
You’ve heard me rave about the Liquid Mirror before, so I won’t give you that spiel again (let’s just say that a bottle this big is a pretty extravagant gift). But the Sludge is one of the smarter products I’ve heard of – basically it’s comprised of the leftover gunk from the normal paint-making process. Leftover gunk (both solid and liquid waste) that would otherwise have to be disposed of somehow. You can read more about it here , but it’s a pretty impressive and ecologically-friendly product.
Thanks, Rheni. I’ll try to use it wisely.
It’s been an interesting month or so. I think I’m finally building up a decent body of work for sale, and forming a bigger, better network of friends and potential clients (do I dare say “fans”? It seems a mite pretentious).
I’ve sold a few calendars, prints from the Imagekind store, and I’m working on 4 commissions at the moment. This has easily been my best year yet – by the time the year’s out, I’ll probably have sold three times as much as I have in any previous year. Hard to believe – especially in this economy – but this art thing might actually work.
I know, I know. I’m still kind of in shock myself.
And I really should say a word or two of thanks for all the support – financial and otherwise – I’ve gotten in recent years. I really couldn’t have done it without you folks. Thank you.
Let’s talk about Bob Peak today, shall we?
Bob was a legendary illustrator – another one of those whose names you might not know, but whose work you have definitely seen. He got his start in magazines and advertising, back in the days when you could still make a living as an illustrator in those fields. His work from that era is amazing – incredibly dynamic, bold, adventurous, full of movement and all sorts of visual excitement. His work appeared in (and on) Time, Newsweek, Cosmo, TV Guide, Vogue, Sports Illustrated, Boys’ Life, Esquire, Look, the Saturday Evening Post, McCall’s , etc. etc.
It’s his move posters that you’ll recognize, though. Apocalypse Now, the Star Trek movies, In Like Flint, The Spy Who Loved Me, Superman, My Fair Lady, Funny Girl… he revolutionized the whole artform. He jumped into acrylic paints when they were a relatively new medium, and inspired generations of illustrators and painters.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Okay, you’re back? How was that? I could trawl through those images all day, personally. That art, regardless of topic or client, is just something to see, and it’s really inspiring me to get my Bob Peak on.
Well, here we are – another chronological milestone. I have to admit, I was so caught up in my own day-to-day crap that the end-of-the-decade aspect didn’t even register with me until a few days ago. Ergo, I haven’t really been sitting around feeling nostalgic or retrospective.
But I will say this: this past decade was the one where I finally got serious about art. In the 80s and 90s I took a few extended breaks from art, and each time I came back I had to take a few steps back to reassess. In the 2000s things were a little different; I didn’t really plunge back in till late 2001, but once I did, I never let up. Since then the depth and breadth of my ongoing school-of-hard-knocks art education have been pretty substantial. Each year it feels like I’m learning more than I did in all the previous ones combined. Which only makes sense, I guess – each year I’m starting with a much bigger knowledge base.
So, time being of the essence, I’ll wrap this up with a list of people who challenged, inspired, taught, or otherwise helped me with my art over the last decade. And again, this is all off the top of my head, so if I accidentally left you out, it’s really nothing personal.
Thanks to: my family, Robt. Williams and Juxtapoz , Bill Sienkiewicz, Glenn Barr, Jimi Hendrix, David Mack, Dave McKean, Jim Mahfood, Chris Bachalo, Patrick Blaine, Kevin Meyers, Jaye Frisina, Anthony Smith, Howard Cowdrick, Rheni Tauchid, Anthony Dunphy, Eliza Ollin, William Wray, Jeff Hotchkiss, Tim Kupin, Ray Rivard, Benoit Leblanc, Mark Crater, John Watson, Paul Whitt, Chris Nowlin, Pól Rua, Kristen Northrup, Laura Whaley, Rob Cooper, Kurt Mitchell, Jonah Weiland, Morna Tudor, Gary Bolt, Joshua Burt, Brian Cronin, Lori Kittelberg, George Smeltzer, Matt Anderson, Jewel Staite, Joss Whedon, Scott Robertson, Frank Quitely, Adam Hughes, Danijel Zezelj, Milo Manara, Eduardo Risso, Sebastian Krüger, Mordechai Luchins, Jason Light, Jason Williams, the Beastie Boys, Lyndsay Malchuk, Kelley Averill, Rick Diehl, Lisa and Paul from Mojave, Jessi Sensabaugh, Gus Lindgren, Robert Genn, Matty O, and the incomparable, irrepressible fly on the wall.