I was very young with very little money when I had this big idea of making a coffee table book of artwork done by six musicians. While Joni Mitchell was the first person I thought of, she was the fifth artist to participate in my first book, Starart. It took me a whole year, calling Joni's manager every other week before I finally got a meeting with her. I showed her mock-ups of the first four artists and she immediately said "yes". She wanted to do something with her art and liked the idea of being in a book with other artist/musicians so she wouldn't have to carry all the pressure. Her quick decision (after me waiting a year) was a huge relief and reinforced my belief to 'never give up'.
The process of putting the book began with me taking snapshots (slide film) of all the artists works, doing their portraits, interviewing them for their story and getting captions for the art pieces. I had the film developed and arranged the slides chronologically, picking what I felt was relevant to their artistic journey. Once I knew how the pages for each artist would lay out, I'd size the slides for prints and write/type their biography and the captions, then paste all of the art and text onto paper.
I was fascinated and impressed by her artistic journey, from simplistic small ink drawings during her early folk days to the huge detailed canvases influenced by her complex jazz music. I studied every piece of art Joni created, to the point when it came time to make prints from her slides and was a bit short on funds, I decided to hand draw every piece in her 36 pages.
What was I thinking? Plagiarizing over 50 pieces of Joni Mitchell's art. Knowing that I would have to show her this mock-up and she could decide not to be in the book. Stupid move. I agonized over every piece trying to capture the details and the overall feel. I spent a lot of time on it. I think I was possessed, trying to channel her genius. After all, we were born a hundred apart in Alberta, Canada and both in November (her's on the 7th, mine on the 10th). Seriously, what was I thinking?
I couldn't have been more nervous showing up at her manager's office to meet with her. She had already seen the mock-ups I did on the other artists. You know, the ones with the photo prints of their work. I slowly pulled her mock-up out of my bag, then out of the big envelope and blurted out how, do to unexpected circumstances, I had to draw all of her work. I saw a very brief OMG tinge in her eyes and then an optimistic "wow" out of her mouth. As she leafed through her pages she couldn't believe it. She loved what I had done and said I should print my drawings of her art instead.
I knew she didn't mean that but her thoughtfulness reinforced my purpose to make the most beautiful coffee book I could to showcase their art to the world. To this day I can't believe they trusted me; this very young girl with no track record, no cred -- just an idea in my head and a fear of not following through. To this day, I am beyond grateful to Commander Cody, Klaus Voormann, John Mayall, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell and Ronnie Wood. With the loss of so many musicians last year, I am so thankful that these six are still with us.
If you're new to my site, check out the STARART section for photos, art and video of these amazing artist/musicians. And don't forget, you can excel in more than one discipline if you're willing to put in the extra work.
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