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.

Adrianna

I love this photograph I took of musician, Adrianna Mateo. This part of our session was only a few minutes. It was not planned. She really let go on our shoot and the results were well worth it. We started around 11am and this part ended around 6:30 because she had a gig. After the gig, she met up with me around 1am and shot for another good hour.

My creative portrait sessions are so much fun and full of surprises for me and my subject.

Thanks for this memory, Adrianna!

 
 

Here's the antithesis of the photograph...but also as beautiful...

 
 

HB Michael Georgiades

The Happiest of Birthdays to MG. I love, love, love this guy. This photograph is from the first time I shot him when The Bernie Leadon Michael Georgiades Band were touring with Linda Ronstadt. I met him after their set and we became friends. And still are. I'm talking to him on the phone right now.

 
 

Couldn't find any live performance videos but here he is singing...

 
 

If you own a copy of STARART, check out the last thank you I gave in the back of the book ;).

Missing Mike Bloomfield

Losing Michael Bloomfield was/is a huge loss to music - he was a crazy great guitar player. He was also an amazing human being (albeit somewhat tortured) - interested in everything, completely engaging and shone the spotlight on everybody else and their talents, instead of his own. He just wanted to play the blues. He didn't give a shit about being famous.

 
 

MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD
6/28/43 - 2/15/81

Check out this compilation of MB clips and what everybody says about him... there is a box set of MB music (Michael Bloomfield: From His Head to His Heart to His Hands) and a one-hour documentary titled Sweet Blues: A Film About Mike Bloomfield included (apparently this is the trailer for it). The double titling is confusing but I believe the doc is included in the music box set. I have not seen the doc or heard the set but I'm sure it's worth checking out. 

 
 

The comprehensive Michael Bloomfield section in Everybody I Shot Is Dead includes photos I took of him, photographs he took with my camera, my stories about him and a ghost story that happened while I was working on the book. All true. If you don't have a copy of my book, grab it now from HERE. Photographic prints are also available HERE.

Remembering Peter Bardens

When I shot Peter Bardens, he was touring with Camel, a band the he founded. In his early days he played with Them, and then again with Van Morrison years later. He discovered Mick Fleetwood, having heard his drums while taking a stroll. He knocked on the door and asked if he wanted a gig. The rest of his story is in my book, Everybody I Shot Is Dead

 
 

PETER BARDENS
6/19/45 - 1/22/02

Check this out...

 
 

John Ford

A rockstar in his own right. I am remembering him today, along with all the concerts I worked with him at RCA. Before I was in the picture he was touring with Elvis...wish I good have done one of those with him. Later he was heading up something at RCA in New York. I really should have kept in touch with him after I left Vancouver...he would have opened a lot of doors for me.

New photo alert...I am unveiling this shot for the first time...

 
 

JOHN FORD
7/19/40 - 10/8/14

...that's John Ford on the far right and if you don't know the musician on the far left side, go away. Or ask someone to tell you who he is. Or you can look through this page you can find out who he is and no longer look foolish.


John Ford is in several sections of Everybody I Shot Is Dead. Pick up your copy now.
Already have one? Gift a copy to a friend.