Friday, July 23, 2010


Heading back to the DMV today via USAirways; while I was gone Stephen "Thor" Strasburg won another game for the Nats.
Stephen Strasburg as Thor

The book cover

Now that the 100 Washington Artists book is nearly done and almost shipped to the publisher, I am going to try to convince them to use just one image on the cover, instead of a set of handpicked thumbnails of images, as they'd prefer to do.

My idea is that a super strong, interesting representational image with an eye-catching subject would make the book stand out and attract a little more attention in passing. Layout designers tell me that color is always better than B&W, so sorry to all the grayscale artists. I am also told that titles with numbers in them attract more attention (who knew?) and that the title should be centered on the top of the book cover with the number "100" larger than the "Washington Artists" line underneath the "100."

So I've selected 3-4 images (from the 700+ images that are to be submitted to the layout gurus) which I will send to the publisher to see if I can convince them to pick one of the images for the cover of the book.

And if you think that the list of 100 artists was controversial, imagine now trying to whittle down the 732 images to one.

Selecting the 3-4 images was a difficult process. I started by eliminating all the artists with whom I've had/have a commercial art dealer relationship, now or in the past or future. It is unfair to them, but too bad. Then I eliminated all the abstract artists; this is also unfair, but layout gods tell me that a strong, interesting representational image is what is needed. And let's face it, we're trying to hawk some books here.

Then I nixed all the black and white artists, screwing Ben Tolman's powerful imagery ("sorry, no B&W," said the layout gurus) and several photographers in the process. Then I had to nix all the nudes.

That really pissed me off, but the layout gurus tell me that some bookstores and libraries would not carry the book if it has a nude on the cover; welcome to 21st century America.

That still left a significant number of images, and now I looked for the images that were interesting enough; that had something unusual and eye catching... something that would raise an eye-brow and make a person pick up the book.

That was still hard. In the end I had 3-4 images. Three are by three of the DMV's best-known artists; one is by an emerging artist who is making a lot of waves in the artsphere already. Let's see what the publisher let's me do.