Hello friends. I’ve been hunkered down in my apartment working on the finalization of my Michael Jordan art book. It’s called #ProjectMJ23.
A brief synopsis of the book would be this: What started out as one painting of an Air Jordan One shoe in 2014 somehow became an organism that grew its own legs and started running. Similar to a snowball on a steep Himalayan cliff after a snow storm, it became an avalanche of michael jordan art content. So one shoe painting became 4 shoe paintings and then that lead me to the virtual obligation of transforming the whole thing into a 23-piece Jordan dedication series.
For three years I set upon a long journey to get all 23 done. Up to this point i had nothing written and never once thought of turning the art series into a book with poetry. That happened on its own after some crazy shit on the 14th painting of the series called Apophenia 85:86 | 87:86.
This painting, as much as I cherished it after completing it, really blew my mind a few weeks after it was finished. I was in my living room late one night, completely smashed, and all of a sudden I get this idea to count the rungs of the roller coaster. As someone a bit obsessed with sports statistics – especially of my favorite player – I started to noticed all of these wild numerical coincidences. That is where the Apophenia title comes into play. It’s the best word I could find to help explain its meaning. For anyone who has seen the Jim Carry movie
It was a bit like that. Isn’t it fucked that that movie is about the number 23???
Anyway, i was so captivated by the number meanings within the painting (which I never planned when I painted it) that I decided I needed to share it with the world and that a fun way would be to tell the story as an animated video. That video, I’m excited to say, is set to debut in less than 10 days.
A challenge I faced with that animated video was that someone would have to narrate the story and someone would have to write the dialogue. I reached out to some local rappers and some semi famous ones that I like from the underground hip hop scene. More so from the late 90’s early 2000’s. All that was to no avail.
So one night I sat down with a friend to see if we could write the rhymes. About an hour into the meal I realized, fuck it, I can do this myself. And so I wrote a Dr Seuss style rhyme for it.
About 6 paintings later, near the end of the project, I began pondering how I was going to promote this thing. You can stick 3 years of work into a project and expect the whole world to magically give a shit at the end but truthfully, if you don’t plan how you’re gonna advertise and market yourself your shit won’t be seen by anything more than your friends and family. Even if it is the best content in the world, it doesn’t automatically mean the internet will care. You have to get it out there and reach out to the world. Find your demographic that might find what you’ve done interesting and go from there.
With that in mind I decided I wanted the series to be available as a book. A coffee table book or something. Not unlike Kramer’s idea:
I was thinking something simple like create a Shutterfly account and just print my own copies and try to sell them on my website. Not a great business model but at least I was on an ambitious path. But what exactly would this be? Just a picture book?
It was missing something.
Then another mini Eureka moment occurred. Why not try writing a rhyme for all 23 paintings that explains them the same way you did in the animated video??
I had my idea. This would be the book. 23 Michael Jordan paintings which each one explained in rhyme.
Great. But also, holy fuck. That’s a shit tonne of work.
I set out to work and tried to write a rhyme for the first painting of the series called The Ones of ’84.
The first one was equal parts fun and annoying. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing or how and why I was doing what I was doing. It was just, different. I never did anything like it before.
I finally finished it. Then I stopped. For like two months. I thought about quitting there. Just having a poem for the first one and the weird Apophenia one. A weak excuse but I sat on it.
Then one day in July, while I was away visiting my parents, I sat down at a restaurant and decided I’d try to write #2 out of 23. I’m glad I did that.
It went well, gave me confidence to continue, and reminded me that if I get excited about it this can be seen as fun work rather than a burden or obligation.
It was fun because I gave the painting a story and gave the reader something to imagine to help put them into the scene.
The painting and corresponding poem…………….. go a little sumthin’ like this:
This really got the ball rolling again and I wrote about 9 more poems over the course of about 5 days I think. It may not sound very proficient but I do so much editing and re-writing that it was quite a success.
I got back to Vancouver and still had about 3 large paintings to do and nearly half of the poems.
At this time I had two more “lightbulb” thoughts. Make a promotional video about one of the poems and find a way to publish the book professionally.
For the video we sat down and brainstormed and took raw footage. This is how the video of poem #1 turned out:
Fast-forward about 10 months and we get to the mid point of October. My girlfriend and I had a trip planned to Chicago. It was an ideal place to promote some of the book and make some connections. Knowing I would be there at a specific date helped push me to get finished at a specific date rather than keep aimlessly dilly dallying.
By the time I came back I had set up some television appearances, a couple local book signings (Vancouver), and a art exhibition in early 2018 showcasing the Jordan pieces.
Without going into too much further detail about promotional things upcoming, I am very happy to share the cover art fo the book and – after three years – a link to the book itself on Amazon.com
In case anyone is curious about my art name, Toblerusse, since I do get asked a lot, here is a written description.
Would love to hear feedback from the Steemit community! Much appreciated.
And a few additional sneak peaks at some of the art works.