December 7, 2007
For months we've been anxiously preparing, editing and
proofing. Then suddenly, "beep, beep, beep," a truck is backing
up--and there we are, cases and cases of "Love Letters to Art."
Getting the actual book in our hands and a few tears in our
eyes, we hit the wine. It all began last Friday at Mayberry
Fine Art in Winnipeg, Manitoba. On Sunday at my solo show I
signed dozens of them. We were giving them to active collectors
and selling them to others. At no time was there a lineup, but
for five hours business was brisk. We've included a few photos
of the event and the book in the current clickback. See URL
A coffee-table book, apart from being a beautiful thing in
itself, gives people an insight into an artist's comings and
goings, his passions and mindset. Autobiographical,
self-published and beautifully printed, this book gives me the
opportunity to show my work and processes dear to my heart.
Based in part on some of the Twice-Weekly Letters, the text
gives artists and collectors an idea of what I'm up to. The
foreword, written by a friend who just happens to be a
significant collector of my work, gives an insight into the
shortcomings of my character. It's all a lot of fun. I
recommend the catharsis to all creators.
"By and large books are mankind's best invention," said author
Ursula K. LeGuin. In all deference to the Internet and
Electronic Readers now coming on the market, there's always
going to be a need for a handsome thing you hold in your hands
and leave out for your friends to see. While books are
conversation pieces in themselves, they also give enduring
evidence that we walked on the planet. I've always thought of
books as a kind of spiritual connection to all other humans.
And every reader takes a different spin. While the book has
only existed for a couple of days, some folks have already read
it. An email comment this morning said, "Your writing is fine
but your work is so-so," followed by another who wrote, "Now I
begin to understand what makes artists tick. This is the best
book I've ever read."
Like the art we create daily, a book is a personal conception.
But while a painting can take place in a matter of hours, even
minutes, a book takes months and involves a committee. Some on
the committee you never get to meet in the flesh, but they are
all true artists. Working with these artists, making this
beautiful thing, has been such a privilege.
PS: "I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of
library." (Jorge Luis Borges)
Esoterica: Once a book is between its covers, some authors
desert it. I snuck a look and checked for truth, interest,
information and amusement. It's not bad. Stephen Jarislowsky
writes in the foreword, "One Sunday morning Robert showed up at
our door. Emerging from his mud-spattered motorhome--his mobile
studio--Robert was ragged and dirty, his wild beard matted with
dead mosquitoes. Gail and I saw to the washing of his clothes
and drew him a bath. I lent him one of my better jackets and we
took him out to a high-end restaurant and fed him." Composing
myself after reading this, I realized that all literature must
surely be fiction.