Tuesday, July 08, 2003

July 8, 2003
Finished the big Vera at 7:30 this morning. Worked on it yesterday at lunchtime and then again when I got home last night. Not great, but when you’re riding a jackass, you take what you can get.

Good day in office yesterday. Read Jana’s “eat crow” piece on the Charlie Smith letters. Really strong. She is absolutely the best.

Went to lunch with Bob Brink and R.G. at Tonto. Went over a mailer from a certain cable channel that wants to rent our subscriber list. Interesting offer (they have to fax you their entire mailer for approval). I was really impressed with some of the offers and come-ons, but Bob has seen this a thousand times and he just shrugged. Ha.

Robert Ray has finished the first phase of the Bob Boze Bell website. It has my life story (as if you wanted to know) and about a third of the artwork you have read about. Check it out at Bobbozebell.com. I’d like your feedback.

Art and commerce: speaking of my artwork and getting paid for it, I have had a very interesting journey. I started out doing a comic strip called Honkytonk Sue (actually visually based on the cowgirls of the twenties like Vera McGinnis). It was first published in National Lampoon in 1977 and I got paid about $1,000 for six pages. Not too shabby. Then I ran the strip in New Times Weekly and got $25 a week for it (get to the end of the line, kid). Then I sold the movie rights to Columbia Pictures for $30,000. Then I landed a deal with New Times to produce a doubletruck cartoon spread every week and got $750 a week for that. Then I sold a freelance cartoon to Playboy and got $6,000 ($1K a page, my biggest payday). Then I got commercial art assignments doing cartoons for a certain beer and got $1,500 a strip. Then I switched gears and decided to do more illustrative art and got an assignment at Arizona Highways to do 21 “sketches” of Prescott, Arizona. For that I got about $2,000. Then I decided to do an illustrated book on Billy the Kid and approached Suzanne Brown about doing an art show to coincide with the publication of the book. I told her to price the paintings (80 or so), and when I walked into the opening I was shocked. Some of the paintings were down around the $175 mark (get to he back of the line, kid). I think the highest was $800. Well, by the time you pay the framer ($75 to $125 a picture) and split with the gallery (50-50), well, let’s just say the framer made more on the show than I did.

Now add to this a famous artist friend of mine (not Ed Mell) who sells his prints of the O.K. Corral gunfight for $600 each. Prints! And he makes about $30K a year off the Scottsdale gallery that sells those prints. He also has a gallery in Jackson Hole and somewhere on the east coast. Envious? Jealous? Hell yes!

Check out my prices on the originals and see if you think it’s a bargain. Or not.

“In art and dream may you proceed with abandon.
In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.”

—Patti Smith

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