Out in the rural west we're used to seeing old tractors and other farm equipment rusting aways in fields where they first ceased to function. Almost everywhere outside of cities and suburbs people are familiar with the sight of old tireless cars resting atop cinder blocks until they slowly rust away. In rural areas the fate of large objects too heavy to remove or too difficult to repair are left as testaments to a recent past that gradually fades into the distance. But until I visited Virginia last week, where I had grown up, I never realized how often this happened to the houses there. When there's enough room there is apparently little point in tearing down an old unwanted structure when the residents pass away. Too much effort. Too much cost. A new house can be built, if anyone even wants the land, on some other part of the property. And so first the weeds grow up over it and then gradually those die off as the trees take over. Driving down the country roads with the brambled cover of mixed oak and pine on either side it's easy to simply focus on the road ahead. But in winter when the branches are bare, if you take the effort to glance aside now and then, you might notice these relics lurking a little ways off, slowly folding their memories away into the growing forest.
I've an idea that these would make some fine subjects for a few paintings.
The opening of "The Northwest Experience" at the Clymer Museum in Ellensburg Washington was quite nice. The turnout was pretty impressive, the museum itself quite cool, and the bottle store next to my Motel 6 had the most amazing beer selection I think I've ever seen. All in all it was fun overnight trip.
So it was weird. Usually when someone contacts me via email about my art all out of the blue, as it were, it's usually some kind of scam. Apparently it's not too hard to soak artists of what little money they have with a promise of career boosting promotion. But this turned out not to be a little different. And now I've got six pieces available as prints or as cell phone and laptop covers. Which is kind of cool.
Turns out they saw my work on a site I sometimes follow called booooooom.com. In December they had a contest of sorts and asked artists to post their work in the comment thread. The top "comments" would be featured on the blog. So I played the social networking game, posted my piece "Barricade" (or was it "Playhouse"? I posted one then it got lost somehow and then posted the other) then got on Facebook to tell people to bump me up. So thanks everyone who did that. Guess it paid off. Booooooom never featured my work but the guy at Gelaskins contacted me after seeing it there and now, here we are.
I have to admire their business model quite frankly. It's almost like a soft scam. They find new artist to feature on their skins, the artists hype the stuff, and they get a flurry of new sales. The 12.5% licensing fee for the skins is standard for the industry but won't amount to much money for me. Still, it's kind of fun, and I'm glad to finally be able to offer some people a few prints (even better at 20%). There's always a lot more people who enjoy my work than can possibly afford an original.