August 12, 2020
My best friend, the late, great, Charlie Waters, advised me not to buy True West magazine with this logic: "Do not buy yourself a job. There must be a better way to get your artwork published."
Well, I loved the guy, and I trusted his business acumen, but this particular advice wasn't true for me. My partners and I bought True West magazine in the fall of 1999 and thus began a long run of publishing my artwork on the pages of this magazine. For one thing, my artwork was free so our company didn't have to pay anybody. You'd be surprised how far that can take you.
For the record, I have done 45 covers (including the next one, October), and we've published over 200 Classic Gunfights with at least six original illustrations in each one from me. Plus, many times when a random department needs a piece of art guess who gets the assignment?
Now, I have to admit, more than a few of these illustrations have been clunkers and I cringe whenever I'm looking at a back issue and see them. But here's the sweet thing, who's going to fire me? Or, stop giving me assignments?
All of this madness and creative wonder was created out of a storefront in Cave Creek, Arizona, that we like to call The True West World Headquarters.
The brand new True West Building
and staff, 2002
But as the shy Beatle liked to sing, all good things must pass. The reason all of this is on my mind is because the True West World Headquarters has been closed since the March 13 quarantine, and more than half our staff is happier working remotely and—long story short—our lease is up at the end of September and we are not going back.
L to R: Christine Lake, Rebecca Edwards, Jenna Link, Ken Amorosano, BBB, Carole Glenn, Greg Carrol, Samantha Crowley and Dan Harshberger
We didn't know it would be the last shot at the time (the above photo was taken in January during the launch of the Geronimo book and art show at the Scottsdale Museum of the West).
But as the pandemic wore on, we realized something had to change.
I spent this morning taking down all of my artwork off the walls, which included some 95 paintings and scratchboards (okay, I kept a dozen). Ken Amorosano got the bright idea to do a digital art show to offer these office paintings to our readers as a historic piece of the old homestead. You will be able to peruse and buy them, online, real soon. I have kept the prices as low as possible because I want them to have good homes. So if you want to own a piece of the True West World Headquarters, stay tuned.
And just to reiterate: the magazine is doing fine, but like everyone else, we need to get lean to move forward.
"One door closes, another opens."
—Old Vaquero Saying