Yeah… It’s been a busy few weeks at LebenArt. I got my book published, conducted a successful Kickstarter campaign, delivered one of my pieces to a survey show of Michigan artists, and cranked out hundreds of limited edition prints for upcoming art fairs.
I’ve been working on this book, “Amy and the Tortoise,” for a couple of years. I just got a shipment of 100 hardcover copies from BookBaby last week… First Editions. The book looks GREAT! It is an apocalyptic fable for kids (and adults) about Global Warming. The book is lavishly illustrated with the digital paintings on environmental topics that I’ve been doing for the last 10-12 years. In fact, it’s the paintings that ultimately inspired me to write the book.
After I wrote the book and started searching for a publisher, I produced a 15 minute movie of the same title. The movie is animated with the same digital paintings. The narration comes directly from the words in the book. I recruited my 9-year old grand daughter, Audrey, to play the part of Amy and narrate the movie. She turned out to be the STAR of the movie. I used the movie to try to attract an agent and a publisher, but I also distributed the movie worldwide through film festivals. The movie became a hit, and has played and won awards all over the world. In an unusual move, I decided to include the movie, via a QR code link, in the pages of the book. So, people who buy the book, also get the movie.
You can buy the book at BookBaby.com, Amazon, or any number of online book sellers for around $30. You can also get a book, signed by me (the author/illustrator) at the LebenArt Gallery in Douglas, Michigan for $30. You can order the book online at my website, LebenArt.com, but it will cost a little more than Amazon. To make it worthwhile to order from my website, I also include an open edition ‘note card’ collector’s print of Amy, the hero of the book, adapted from my limited edition painting, “The Promise of Tomorrow.” The note card includes a discount code on the back that you can use for a 20% discount off the purchase price of all my limited edition prints.
I took a gamble when I sent the book to the printer and publisher. I paid around $3700 in advance to print the book, create an eBook version, purchase the ISBN number and list it with book sellers. Then, I mounted a two week Kickstarter campaign to recover that investment. I actually raised around $4700 through the campaign, offering signed copies of the book as well as prints of my paintings as rewards for pledges.
Lowell Arts Council All Michigan Show
I entered my painting “Ghost Tree,” into this prestigious survey show of Michigan artists. I was delighted to have my painting accepted into the show. Lots of great art hanging in Lowell’s beautifully renovated exhibit space. There is still time to see this show. It runs from March 5- April 16.
Art Fairs - 1st Up: Main Street Ft Worth (Texas)
I have a full line-up of art fairs coming up this summer, so I’ve been busy creating inventory to sell at these shows. The first one is in Ft. Worth Texas, coming up soon, April 7-10. This is one of the big ones. This will be my first time at this show, but other artists have told me great things about it. I expect to sell a lot of artwork to the people of Texas. Participating in one of these big shows is very expensive. Booth alone is over $1000 and hotels are not cheap in downtown Ft. Worth. With hotel/travel expenses, inventory and booth fees I have almost $3000 invested in this show. And… I’m very anxious about it. Marcia and I are both vaccinated and boosted but we’ve been nervously tracking the spread of the new COVID variant. If Marcia or I get it, kiss much of the $3000 investment goodby. Also worried about Texas weather. Those tornados last week would have decimated the art fair.
Art Fairs - 2nd Up: The Other Art Fair in Chicago
This one is new for me too. And it is also very expensive.
The Other Art Fair is a new kind of ‘hybrid’ show that is run by the big British gallery, Saatchi. I say ‘hybrid’ because it is a cross between those big, expensive gallery-intensive art fairs that cater to rich people and collector’s, and the kind of local street art fairs that I usually participate in. It is for artists, not galleries. Saatchi has been running these artist-centered art fairs in major cities around the world for the last 6-7 years, including Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Dallas, Melbourne, London and Sydney as well as Chicago.
The venue for this show is indoors at the Fulton Market in Chicago. Dates are April 21-24. Unlike a conventional art fair with tents outdoors, this show is in a “museum” type setting with hard walls. I will have 20-feet of wall space to hang my work on, costing me around $1800. The all British Saatchi team in Chicago has been doing a great job of promoting this show in Chicago, so I have high hopes. But, this one is new to me, so I have no idea what to expect. Just hoping it pays off.
Art Fairs - Summer
I have a fairly ambitious line-up of art fairs this summer. I’m kind of pumped about it because COVID has kept me out of the art fair circuit for the last two years. Here’s where I’ll be this summer:
Belleville, lllinois (near St Louis) - May 13-15
East Lansing, Michigan - May 21-22
Cincinnati, Ohio (Summerfair) - June 3-5
Old Town, Chicago - June 11-12
Des Moines, Iowa - June 24-26
St. Joseph, Michigan (Krasl Art Fair) - July 9-10
Naperville, Illinois (Riverwalk Art Fair) - September 17-18
Peoria Art Fair - September 24-25
State College, Pennsylvania - July 14-17
St. Louis, Missouri - September 9-11
Louisville, Kentucky (St. James Ct) - Sept 30 - Oct 2
LebenArt Gallery in Douglas, Michigan
In mid-April we will begin keeping the gallery open every day instead of the limited hours we had during the winter months. The LebenArt Gallery is one of seven art galleries in downtown Douglas. We all market our galleries together under the umbrella, Art on Center. We have gallery stroll events scheduled for the summer when all the galleries will open new exhibits and welcome art enthusiasts. Dates are May 14, July 16, September 10 and October 8.