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...


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.

 
 

#tbt with Merv and Friends

This goes way back to when my first book came out. Not bad for a young girl who just self-published her first book (Starart) and managed to get herself on The Merv Griffin Show, with such illustrious guests. The feet on the far left belong to Melissa Manchester. I remember walking on the set and pretty much running into the glass coffee table trying to get to my chair.

I'm proud that my younger self was braver than she was scared. 

 
Bob Mackie, Merv Griffin, Cheryl Ladd, Jay Leno, Me

Bob Mackie, Merv Griffin, Cheryl Ladd, Jay Leno, Me

 

There's a bit of my appearance in this Starart footage...

 
 

I only have a handful of Starart books left.
If you would like to own a copy of this collectible book, now's the time.
The price will increase end-of-day tomorrow.

Prints and Limited Edition books are also available for purchase.
There is only one LE copy of the book available at the current price.
It will increase by $500 to $2500 after the next one sells.
Grab it now!

How It Used To Be

I had been in Los Angeles for less than six months when I came up with the idea of doing a coffee table book of musicians who were also excellent fine artists.

 
Photos by Marian or Maria

Photos by Marian or Maria

 

And this one too. 'How am I going to get Joni Mitchell?'

 
I got this t-shirt from Shelly Siegel of Mushroom Records. They released Heart's first two albums.

I got this t-shirt from Shelly Siegel of Mushroom Records. They released Heart's first two albums.

 

That little idea became Starart. A coffee table book focused on the art of Joni Mitchell, Klaus Voormann, John Mayall, Cat Stevens, Ron Wood and George "Commander Cody" Frayne.

As it turns out, nothing has really changed since 'How It Used To Be'...well, maybe I'm a few years older. But I am still creating projects as an artist (photography, filmmaking and writing). There are several in the works.

First thing tomorrow I will be launching a very special Go Fund Me page that I'm putting together for a friend of mine. We just finished the video seconds ago. If you are on my mailing list you will be getting notification no later than tomorrow morning. Watch for it.

Commander Cody

Today is the Commander's (aka George Frayne) birthday!

Not only is he an amazing musician...he is also an accomplished artist. He was the first artist who signed on to be in my first book, Starart. That was huge for me and my future.

Here's one of the photos I took of him for the book.

I first shot him in concert when he opened for the Grateful Dead in Vancouver. The list of bands he has toured with is a who's who of rock'n'roll. When I moved to LA I shot him at the Palomino Club in North Hollywood. The last performance I shot of his was a year ago on June 10 at The City Winery in NYC. Here's a photo from that gig.

 
 

It was an amazing show. Like a fine wine, Commander Cody continues to get better with age.

Here's a video from 1989...check out this line up on this stage...

 
 

Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen

I have known Commander Cody (aka George Frayne) for a long time. I first photographed him and the Lost Planet Airmen in Vancouver close to a million years ago. The first 8 photographs are from roll 32 and 33 of my rock 'n' roll photography. So maybe the 17th show I shot. The next time was a couple or few months later when he came back touring with the Grateful Dead. That was film roll 62.

Commander Cody is also a brilliant artist, as in painting and sculpture. He was the first artist I asked to be in my book, Starart, and took a chance on me that I would make it happen. During that period I saw him play and photographed him many times at the infamous Palomino Club in North Hollywood. Hoping I will come across those negatives at some point but I think they might be in my lost boxes.

I lost touch with the Commander for several years but then connected with him on Facebook a few years ago. And finally last summer I had the opportunity to see him play in New York. The last couple of photos are from that show.

So, today I am celebrating Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen with a few photographs that have never seen the light of day since I took them so many years ago. I am so grateful for the influence the Commander has had on me, and appreciate him being in my life. I hope you like these photos, George.

 
Commander Cody and

Commander Cody and

 
 
 
 
Cody07.jpg
 
 
Cody06.jpg
 
 
Commander Cody

Commander Cody

 
 
Commander Cody 

Commander Cody 

 
 
Cody03.jpg
 
 
Cody02.jpg
 
 
Commander Cody - New York City, June 10, 2014

Commander Cody - New York City, June 10, 2014

 
 
Commander Cody - New York City, June 10, 2014

Commander Cody - New York City, June 10, 2014

 

Can't leave you without a performance of Hot Rod Lincoln.

 
 

*I will be fill in the captions identifying the rest of the Lost Planet Airman soon.