Sunday, August 3, 2008

just a thought

I thought I'd put this out there since it's rolling around in my brain currently. In fact, I've been wondering about this for a while now. Anyhow, there are quite a few good books out there compiling and showcasing street art sketches and drawings and the like. Not that this has anything to do with street art, which I think is kind of oversaturating the art book market now currently anyway. Anyhow I was pondering how a book compiling this project, which I think is somewhat of an extraordinary project, could very well become a reality, if everyone would be willing to be a part of it. Yes, you've got your zillion other Moly X groups going on, but this one stands out, with the larger-scale sketchbooks (as opposed to the accordian style of the Moly X groups). I was particularly inspired by the recent release of the 1,000 Journals Project book, and now film (out soon), and the way it went on to explain the idea behind the project, and how the art was showcased throughout the book.

Anyhow, this can be pitched to some major publishers or we can go the self-publishing route through online publishing groups like Lulu and Blurb. Perhaps we can even get a sponsorship from the Moleskine company. I don't think the reality of this kind of endeavor materializing is in any way out of reach, judging by the quality of work and the nature of the project. We, as artists get more exposure, Moleskine gets more exposure, plus, it would be just plain cool to hold an actual book, in material form (beyond our own sketchbooks), and seeing all our work inside.

I know this project is Andrea's baby first and foremost, so I'd love to hear what she thinks. I also know of the hard work and dedication everyone else involved has put into this and would be curious as to what everyone else might think. So please, give some feedback here when you can folks.

19 comments:

ian russell said...

will we have to, at some point, dress up to get noticed? like the Village People?!

steve said...

Of course Ian! Only if I can be the cop.

Rrramone said...

I am very willing to be a part of such a project, pending details of course. I agree there is some pretty cool stuff in these bad boys. :-)

ian russell said...

Oh good. Honestly, I don't know how it works not being involved in either the art or publishing business. I'm assuming money is exchanged somewhere, Steve (?). I'd like to know a bit more about how you go about it.

steve said...

Honestly, I wouldn't know much either Ian. Truth is, I don't think much, if any money will come to us from this. Two good friends of mine are getting an art book published by a "major" company, and they were offered two options in their contract - either take a single, fixed sum or continue to collect royalties (with a smaller, sum, paid up front) for as long as the book is in print. They (wisely, in my opinion) went for the royalties, even though the initial sum might have easily paid off their personal debt, etc. In the long run though, as long as they continued to make the effort to successfully advocate and push for the sell of their book, they would generate more income. Still, at least from my perspective, the money, as nice as it would be, isn't much of a concern. I just think it would be cool to have a real, actual book, compiling our work and vision. It could inspire and influence many others all over, who might not have stumbled upon this via internet.

Just yesterday I was in this massive Barnes and Nobles, looking at all the art books out there, and thinking, shit, why couldn't we have one? Some of the content in the books was pretty "book worthy", while some of it was kind of crap (still, with art, opinion can be subjective). The bottom line is, someone made the initial effort to simply do it.

I don't want to pressure anyone or ruin the somewhat leisure vibe of this project. I say, keep doing what we've been doing and then get some of it made into a book. Why not?

ian russell said...

ah right, I was thinking we had to pay to have it printed and then find a way of moving them ourselves. your way sounds better!

Andrea said...

Steve, I think your idea is brilliant! It is not just my baby, we are all in this together. I could not have done this without all of your willingness and vision. I would love to have any of my art in book form, and would love even more to see all of your art on the shelves in a bookstore. I am willing to put in whatever work needs to be done!

Johnnynorms said...

I think it's a fab idea, but I for one don't want to let it change my approach - I mean I don't want to pile on more pressure thinking about working towards a book.

If we did self-publish on Lulu or somewhere, we would have to work out a way of fairly distributing profits between 11 - I think on Lulu you don't make anything til a number of books are sold (30?)

Just thinking further aloud, I like the idea as a way of giving our project a second life when it's all over.

steve said...

Great Andrea and Johnny!

I definitely understand what you mean about changing one's approach Johnny. Don't let the possibility of a book change how you work. Like I said, just keep doing what you like - keep having fun with this. If we don't get a book out of this, it's ok. Still, its definitely worth a shot.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I'm back to my old worry of "not being good enough" but I am assuming if we were to do such a book, the best pieces would be chosen, since they prolly all couldn't go in. Some voting process or Andrea chooses or?

There are venues where we would PAY to have such a book put together, but I like the idea of not having to pay.

I definitely worry that it would increase the pressure a little but am willing to sign on anyway.

Johnnynorms said...

I not definitely saying yes, but intrigued enough to give it thought.

Would we do it if not all 11 agree to? Like the jury in 12 angry men! 11 reasonably mellow artists. Unless someone's angry that I called them mellow.
Anyway..I would say each artist has final veto over something going in a book or not. I'm sure we all take that as read.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

The book could be made from the work of those wishing to participate.

Mike Kline said...

Just back from Possum Kingdom Texas "the other great lake." I am very excited about Steve's proposal! What an awesome idea. I am in...

steve said...

So good to see some feedback from people here. I know we are all busy individuals and have lives to live, so it's much appreciated!

Mary, please don't worry - your work is your work and it works just fine! Check out some of the stuff in the 1,000 journals book (sorry I don't have a link right now) - it's raw, it's candid, etc. It doesn't have to be the Mona Lisa. What is great about this group is the variety of styles and subject matter. Of course we would all have say as to what we want in the book and what we don't want. I know that when dealing with a professional publisher, there might be some requested changes, for whatever reason, but I'd never go with a company that would ask for too much compromise.

I've yet to check into any fees or costs to have a book published through online publishers. That's something most professional publishers don't require at all. The good thing about Lulu or Blub is we would have total control. The good thing about the pros is having our book out there, in bookstores, etc. So there are trade-offs. Again though, not to be too pessimistic, but I don't see much money being made from this project, if it materializes, either way, and that's not the reason why I put this idea out here.

So, in the meantime, keep having fun, experimenting, drawing, painting, collaging, writing, whatever. I just know this is something that has some potential to, as John put it, "give our project a second life when it's over". As far as i know, there aren't any Moleskine books out there yet.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Publishers do love new things, if they think there's any kind of market or interest. And there is a surge of interest in this sort of thing. Andrea could write briefly about how she started the group for other people who'd like to do it too.

steve said...

Yeah, definitely Mary. I find things like this - these sketchbook exchanges and the like, counter to what people were predicting about the internet - how it would alienate people and whatnot. While that is true in many cases, look how it has also made people get creative again, as well as connect with folks all over the world, at least in some small way. I tend to take projects like this for granted, and the fact hat we can do this. I wouldn't have imagined this kind of thing being possible even five years ago. It's pretty remarkable when you think about it.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I think it's a fab idea and we should do a little research and maybe create a little proposal if people are interested.

Jess said...

I'm affiliated with Hacker Friendly Publishing (run by my friend Rob), who does all the printing through Lulu. (Lulu page, website) You can see Hacker Friendly has published a couple fun/low-key art books.

Rob is very, very smart and knows a lot about the publishing industry. I'm willing to approach him with our book idea, provided we can get organized enough first. We would need to be the driving force behind the project, and very self motivated/organized. As far as what's actually needed for the book, I think it's just high quality photographs or scans of the artwork, someone (or a team) to do the professional layout and design of the book, and someone (or a team) to write any copy we need.

The benefit of doing self publishing is that we wouldn't have to come up with a considerable sum of money between us to pay for the first run. Also, we don't have to be counting on a target audience to buy lots of the books, since it's print-on-demand.

:)

steve said...

Thanks Jess! This is indeed an option, and I'm glad you know some folks involved. I was just talking to a friend, while out hiking today, who is getting his art book published professionally. He said we'd basically need a letter of intent-something that introduces the group and or vision/concept (about a page long). he also said we need a "market analysis" which really isn't as complex as it sounds--just a mention of the related books out there on the market currently, and how our book would be unique, etc (again, nothing too lengthy). He also told me to be willing to submit about thirty pages of examples. I was surprised to hear that all publishers what it all done on paper and sent to their offices--no e-mails or cds, etc. He's willing to help me out with that.

I say we go big first--go for the pros. I'm willing to do what it takes, and my friend didn't have to pay any fees to get the book published. He suggested (and it was something I've considered) contacting Moleskine and see what they can do. I actually correspond via e-mail with someone from the company, but she'll be on vacation until late August. If you look at the 1,000 Journals book, it's actually in the form of the exact same journals sent out around the country! There's a forward and then the rest of the book is basically pages from the journals, with smaller thumbs at the end, and credit given to the many people whose work was in the book. It was a very simple and brilliant set-up. What if we could get the book printed in the form of our Moleskine sketchbooks? We'd have and intro and forward at the beginning, then pages featuring our work inside, then at the end, short bios of everyone, with thumbnails of our images used in the book.