What was I thinking?

I was very young with very little money when I had this big idea of making a coffee table book of artwork done by six musicians. While Joni Mitchell was the first person I thought of, she was the fifth artist to participate in my first book, Starart. It took me a whole year, calling Joni's manager every other week before I finally got a meeting with her. I showed her mock-ups of the first four artists and she immediately said "yes". She wanted to do something with her art and liked the idea of being in a book with other artist/musicians so she wouldn't have to carry all the pressure. Her quick decision (after me waiting a year) was a huge relief and reinforced my belief to 'never give up'.

The process of putting the book began with me taking snapshots (slide film) of all the artists works, doing their portraits, interviewing them for their story and getting captions for the art pieces. I had the film developed and arranged the slides chronologically, picking what I felt was relevant to their artistic journey. Once I knew how the pages for each artist would lay out, I'd size the slides for prints and write/type their biography and the captions, then paste all of the art and text onto paper.

I was fascinated and impressed by her artistic journey, from simplistic small ink drawings during her early folk days to the huge detailed canvases influenced by her complex jazz music. I studied every piece of art Joni created, to the point when it came time to make prints from her slides and was a bit short on funds, I decided to hand draw every piece in her 36 pages.

What was I thinking? Plagiarizing over 50 pieces of Joni Mitchell's art. Knowing that I would have to show her this mock-up and she could decide not to be in the book. Stupid move. I agonized over every piece trying to capture the details and the overall feel. I spent a lot of time on it. I think I was possessed, trying to channel her genius. After all, we were born a hundred apart in Alberta, Canada and both in November (her's on the 7th, mine on the 10th). Seriously, what was I thinking?

I couldn't have been more nervous showing up at her manager's office to meet with her. She had already seen the mock-ups I did on the other artists. You know, the ones with the photo prints of their work. I slowly pulled her mock-up out of my bag, then out of the big envelope and blurted out how, do to unexpected circumstances, I had to draw all of her work. I saw a very brief OMG tinge in her eyes and then an optimistic "wow" out of her mouth. As she leafed through her pages she couldn't believe it. She loved what I had done and said I should print my drawings of her art instead.

I knew she didn't mean that but her thoughtfulness reinforced my purpose to make the most beautiful coffee book I could to showcase their art to the world. To this day I can't believe they trusted me; this very young girl with no track record, no cred -- just an idea in my head and a fear of not following through. To this day, I am beyond grateful to Commander Cody, Klaus Voormann, John Mayall, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell and Ronnie Wood. With the loss of so many musicians last year, I am so thankful that these six are still with us. 

Here's a spread of Joni's mock-up:

If you're new to my site, check out the STARART section for photos, art and video of these amazing artist/musicians. And don't forget, you can excel in more than one discipline if your willing to put in the extra work.

HB Ron Wood!

Celebrating Ron Wood's birthday today! How old are you, Ronnie?

RON WOOD

I shot this never-before-seen photograph of Ron Wood while he was signing the Starart Limited Edition books. Which reminds me there is one brand new, still boxed, copy available at a discount for the next couple of days. Grab it while you can.

Cool video of Stay With Me...


One Week Left

One week left on my campaign for you to be a backer of the craziest project I've ever attempted.

 I took this photograph in 1989. I plan to find the location and take this photograph again.

I took this photograph in 1989. I plan to find the location and take this photograph again.

CLICK HERE OR ON THE PHOTOGRAPH TO LAND ON THE CAMPAIGN

What will you see and learn about the project when you land on the campaign page?

  • A video of me informing you about the project and how it came about
  • A video where you will learn about Lydia "Sam" Rawlings and why she is so important to the project.
  • You can read the well thought-out words I wrote about the project.
  • Photographs I have taken.
  • A listing of the reward levels, starting at $1. Every reward has a tangible value.
  • When you are a backer, you will have access to the 'backers only' updates.

I am planning a lot of interaction between myself and the backers. My goal is to build a community. If you choose to back my project, I want you to experience every facet of the adventure with me. If you prefer to be more of a bystander within the project, that's okay too.

If I don't meet or exceed my goal by May 18, I will not receive anything - it's all or nothing. If you haven't experienced Kickstarter, here's a screenshot of what it looks like.

 
 

CLICK HERE OR ON THE PHOTOGRAPH TO LAND ON THE CAMPAIGN

And to get you in a Parisian state of mind...one of my favorite songs, by one of my favorite musicians who has influenced me ever since I started the Starart book, and especially on the creation of this project.

HB Klaus Voormann

When the huge outpouring for Prince took over the internet I thought it was a shame that how we feel about the musicians we love is massively put out there after the person dies. I think we should celebrate our icons while they're still here and can feel the love.

This is why I am celebrating the birthdays of musicians I've had the privilege to photograph, and in this case, also publish his artwork in Starart for the world to see.

Today Klaus Voormann turned 78. And it is my hope that he stays around for a long, long time. Check out the video below...it's perfect for today as he's recording and mucking around in the studio with his pal, P. McCartney.

 
 

KLAUS VOORMANN

From Klaus's A Sideman's Journey released in 2009, this video is like a birthday party. Enjoy...

 
 

Pick up your new copy of the trade edition of my first book, Starart.

 
 

Or better yet, the Limited Edition Starart book, signed by the artists.

 
 

And a print of his painting, Tushe, numbered and signed or a straight print.

 
 

Coming Soon!

Breaking news... I'm putting up my second Kickstarter campaign very soon. This is me in a screen grab from some test shoots yesterday and today. There were two other locations tested but this one has the best feel and natural lighting for this particular campaign.

 
 

I'm really excited about this project and can't wait to share the news. Attention awesome backers of End of the Innocents: you will be receiving the link to the new campaign 24 hours before it goes out to everyone else. Start checking your email inbox early next week for your notification.

HB Peter Wood!

Celebrating Peter Wood's birthday today! Not only was he an amazing musician and songwriter (he co-wrote Year of the Cat with Al Stewart), he was also an excellent photographer. I took this photograph of him while he was using my second camera to photograph me taking a picture of him, etc. The shot he took of me is on the cover of Everybody I Shot Is Dead. There is also a portrait he took of me without a camera in front of my face in his section of the book.

PETER WOOD
4/9/50 - 9/18/94

Here's  a video Peter Wood on keyboards touring with the late great Lou Reed, where they actually cut to Peter several times throughout the video.

 
 

Time to buy a copy of my book Everybody I Shot Is Dead where you will see all of the 400+ photographs of the musicians I honor in the book.

Am I A Trailblazer?

I used to be up on technology. Back in the Dark Ages I bought my first computer - a Mac IIci with a 40mb hard drive, Ikegami b/w monitor and a laser printer (all for about $16,000) - so I could learn Photoshop to work on designing movie posters (when Photoshop had only one layer). When the internet came along I embraced it. I didn't learn HTML but I was designing website banners and spending time on AOL. I remember making a big move so I hit the internet searching for moving companies. There were only 5 listings.

I'm not sure when, where and why I fell behind the curve. I can't put my finger on it. I've had a website but I really fell off the horse when social media hit. I didn't have a Twitter account until everyone else did. I signed on to Instagram in the past year and change, maybe. I didn't sign up on Facebook until January 2009 followed by my photography page in July 2010. And I've just signed on to Pinterest this week but haven't posted anything. Yup, I'm really late to all these social media platforms. I did start a blog in early April 2006 to chronicle the making of my book, Everybody I Shot it Dead and in 2009 I blocked every day of the year, as I am doing on this blog this year.

Worse than being late is I don't know how to make these platforms really work for me. I am a disaster as opposed to master on gaining any forward motion for my work on social media. And this is not for the lack of trying. I've been watching my friends pounding on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with likes, comments and followers, while I'm across the street looking on and thinking WTF am I doing wrong. Were you ever the kid that got picked last?

Okay, forget I wrote any of the words into sentences up to this point. That past few days I've been on a mission...researching the internet on how to crack social media where I can reach outside my own little circle so I can get my work out there. The first portion of the research was looking for articles on how to financially benefit on social media. I ran into all kinds of articles about people making a living off selling photographs on social media platforms. It seems Instagram is big. Some guy supposedly earned $15,000 by offering a one day sale of 6 x 6 inch prints at $150 of any photo on his Instagram. So, he has 22,000 followers so maybe it's true. Then I think, how the heck did he get 22,000 followers? He's not a celebrity nor is he taking pictures of celebrities. Yes, research can be soul killing.

I was really searching all of this to find out about selling on Facebook, and within Facebook but all of the articles were from 2013 and earlier. They all said you have to get a third-party app such as Spotify or Ecwid. And they cost money. Not what I wanted - I'm not into threesomes. I wanted a store inside my FB biz page, where I could reach outside my circle of friends (they're supportive but they've already bought) through FB ads. Then searched for the best Facebook stores and found a list of the top Facebook stores. It included Coke, Urban Outfitters etc. but when I went to look at their Facebook pages none of then had a Facebook store...they just had a link to there website stores. After a day of research I only found to FB pages that could sell without the buyer having to leave Facebook. And they both looked like crap.

I was about to give up and just send my Facebook page to my website with a call-to-action button. Then I decided to click the button of no return where I thought was the point of having to hook up with one of the third party apps. Well, it didn't do that. It offered me to go straight into using my current credit card processor and then letting me add my content to sell. And it looked clean and simple. How could this be? I figured it out when I went into the help pages to see if I could reorder my items. I started reading all the questions and gripes from people looking for help. There were very few, and at the top of the help page and under every question category was "Having a shop section on your Page is a new feature being tested. It may not be available to you at this time." Then the answers provided by the community were answering as if it was dealing with third party apps. Frustrated people were wanting to find out how to delete there store. I left the help area and figured out my questions on my own. Now I think I can say this...

MY FACEBOOK STORE IS NOW UP AND THIS IS WHY I AM A TRAILBLAZER!

And I believe I am one of the first people to try this exciting platform within the FB platform. There's a huge built-in audience on Facebook and reaching them is easier and less expensive than getting people to my website. If I can find success with my Facebook store I'll be one of the first, especially for the fact that I am not a celebrity with an existing pack. This will be the first time I am advertising (I don't know why I feel like advertising is creepy) which is a big step for me. I am at peace with it now, figuring out how will people find my cool stuff if I don't reach out to them. I'm putting myself out there, as scary as that is, and hoping/praying/voodoo/whatever that I don't fall on my face.

Here's my strategy...I put up the store, I changed my banner into a storefront and now I am going to embark on some Facebook ads to reach more potential followers (people I don't know...yet) and boosting my Everybody I Shot Is Dead listing with an ad that will alert people outside of my network that the book is on sale through Cyber Monday for 50+% off at $24.95.

If you want to get in on this insane deal you will need to go to my FB page (click on my new banner below to get there) as I am not offering this deal on the website. When you get to my page you can click the "Shop Now" button or the word "Shop" in the menu bar pictured below or scroll down the page and you'll see part of my shop in the sidebar.

What else can you do? Please share my FB Store on your timeline and invite your friends to like my page. I would also love to hear your feedback - the good and the bad.

If you haven't seen this video check out Mo, Frank and me chatting about Everybody I Shot Is Dead! Warning: there is partial nudity.

 
 

In closing, if anyone reading this works at Facebook (or owns it) here are a few things you need to improve:

  • since Facebook is global I would like to sell globally, currently I can only sell within the US
  • they need to have a way to show the retail price and a sale price in the same line
  • There should be variants within an item that has two versions with different prices (eg. Limited Edition and Open Edition photographs

I'll let them know when I come up with more or better yet, they should give me a call and we can brainstorm how to build this better mousetrap.

Birthday Bash

Tomorrow is my birthday. I am not announcing it looking for birthday wishes. And I am not looking for birthday presents, per se. But if you are getting any enjoyment from my blog posts or anything else you look at on my website, I would love for you to gift something from my shop to yourself or someone else in your family or circle of friends.

So, yes, you would be gifting me and also gifting someone else at the same time. And in turn I am gifting you with a 15% discount on everything you purchase from my website between now and 11:59pm November 13, 2015. It's easy as pie - just put promo code BirthdayBash at checkout!

Please take some time to peruse my wares:

  Everybody I Shot Is Dead  :   All the musicians I've photographed who have passed away. There are 48 in the book and 6 more who have died since the book was published.

Everybody I Shot Is Dead:
All the musicians I've photographed who have passed away. There are 48 in the book and 6 more who have died since the book was published.

  Starart  :   The fine art of musicians Joni Mitchell, John Mayall, Cat Stevens, Ron Wood, Klaus Voormann and Commander Cody.

Starart:
The fine art of musicians Joni Mitchell, John Mayall, Cat Stevens, Ron Wood, Klaus Voormann and Commander Cody.

  Music Prints  :   The musicians I have shot who are thankfully still with us. This section will continually grow and change as I cull through my archives and continue to shoot.

Music Prints:
The musicians I have shot who are thankfully still with us. This section will continually grow and change as I cull through my archives and continue to shoot.

  Fine Art Prints  :   My fine art photography is available in very limited editions. I am still building this page so if you see something in my   photography pages   that you would like, please contact me.

Fine Art Prints:
My fine art photography is available in very limited editions. I am still building this page so if you see something in my photography pages that you would like, please contact me.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME AND YOU AND YOU!