Arcane Publishing will be at The Secret Vintage Fair in Colchester, this Saturday 30th March, at Colchester Castle!
Matt ArtPix, Arcane Publishing's designer, will have a stall there showing his vintage-inspired designs. We will also have a selection of second-hand books and some copies of I Am a Muse on sale at a special pre-publication price (with a free bookmark)! This is going to be a great event... Loads of things going on!
Come and say hi if you can...
It is possible that I Am a Muse will have its first pre-publication outing this weekend... I hope to be able to post more details on here soon, but in the meantime, here's what I've been doing over the past few days:
DIY, HANDMADE FLYERS!
Inspired by my favourite vintage-inspired artist Matt ArtPix, who makes all his handmade greetings cards himself, I have tried to make my very own flyers for this weekend's event. The results are mixed, but I'm still quite pleased I have managed to paint, cut and glue without causing myself any injury or damaging Matt ArtPix's lounge!
The cards look like greeting cards and come in an envelope - which has "Could you be a muse?" painted across it with red paint.
The cover is a print of the cover of I Am a Muse, inside you will find the synopsis on the left-hand side and an extract on the right hand-side (I have picked 11 different extracts so you can get any of them, it's at random). At the back is a small sticker with the Arcane Publishing and Miss Gish website addresses.
They are far from perfect and a bit wonky, but I thought I'd had a go!
My boyfriend has sent me a link to this cracking little gem of a video, MUCH BETTER NOW.
A bookmark is stuck in a forgotten book that is one day knocked over by wind. It experiences its environment by surfing the pages that turn in to ocean-waves, enjoying the ride of its life. As the book cover closes light reveals new challenges.
The video was made by hip visual production studio SALON ALPIN and has its own website! It has won an array of prizes, and when you watch it, you understand why. It is absolutely lovely, dynamic, poetic, enchanting... And it fits perfectly with my current "paper is best" stance, but with a technological twist. Just to prove that paper can still be relevant in our technology obsessed world.
Have a look at the MAKING OFF PAGE too! It is an interesting mix of software use and craft!
It makes you feel all warm inside (oh, and it's got a surfing theme, perfect excuse to mention my debut novel I Am a Muse!).
I don't do e-books.
I am obsessed with "proper" books, you know, the ones made out of paper. I love old books with beautiful covers, gorgeous illustrations. I love the feel of a book in my hand, the impression of the ink onto paper. Buying and reading a book, the object, is a completely different experience to that of downloading.
I have the same *old-fashioned*?- attitude to music. I buy CDs.
Here are two great videos praising the merits of a book made of paper.
The second one is in Spanish subtitled in French...
You should have listened more during your Modern Foreign languages classes!
Our day in London on Friday was all about books, writers, images, artists and muses. We basically went on a bit of a cultural binge. As you do.
We started off with MURDER IN THE LIBRARY, THE A TO Z OF CRIME FICTION at The British Library. I drooled over the wonderful vintage tomes on display - ah, to possess a few of those! - and was pleased to see some of my favourites being part of the display: Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie... It is a small but perfectly formed exhibition and you have until May 12th to see it!
Then we walked all the way to THE PIPER GALLERY in Fitzrovia - a part of town I have always neglected, somehow. There seems to be quite a lot of interesting little streets and corners and we will go back and explore in the Spring. The gallery is a sleek, brand new space with a strategically placed glass roof which allows in plenty of natural light. My decision to visit the gallery was taken on the spur of the moment (see my previous blog about it) and I am glad to say that I didn't get chucked out or sneered at when I explained the aim of my visit: to leave a copy of my book I Am a Muse for Megan Piper, the gallery owner. The gallery assistants took the book. Result! I would be genuinely interested in knowing what an art specialist thinks about my little novel. Of course, I might never hear from them and that is fair enough, but I think that sometimes you have to be slightly daring and not think about the consequences of your actions too much.
Anyhow, I have discovered a new art gallery that is doing things slightly differently, and I am interested in knowing what they do next. The show that is on at the moment is Neil Stokoe: All Things Must Pass.
Then it was off to the National Portrait Gallery where we managed to catch FRED DANIELS, CINEMA PORTRAITS - he worked extensively with filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger on the sets of their movies.
MARILYN MONROE: A BRITISH LOVE AFFAIR is a delightful homage to the star made of photographs, magazine covers and lobby cards. Some cover her four-months stay ion Britain for the shooting of "The Prince and the Showgirl". I have always been intrigued by the human being behind the legend - I had posters of Marilyn on my wall from the age of 10! - and this exhibition was a real treat.
MAN RAY: PORTRAITS is a fascinating exhibition.
Together with Cecil Beaton, Man Ray has always been one of my favourite photographers. He did not only take photos, he experimented.
He was part of the Dada and Surrealist movements, and was always mixing with writers, architects, composers, artists and other intellectuals especially during his time in New York and Paris.
Of course, he took pictures of his numerous and illustrious friends - Duchamp, Hemingway, Stein, Cocteau, Dali, among others - but it is the images of his muses that have always striked me as positively magical.
His images of the unusual Kiki de Montparnasse - the main muse of 1920s Paris - and the formidable and stunning Lee Miller - who would go on to have an important career as a photographer herself - are unforgettable.
Another muse, Ady Fidelin, would share his life for a while before he met Juliet Browner, the muse and companion of the last thirty-six years of his life.
I have always been wondering about muses.
Each time I go to an exhibition, my mind wanders beyond the images and I start imagining what the relationship between the artist and his muse could be like. And I wonder: What is their bond and how deep is it? What are the mechanics of such a relationship and what does each individual gain from it? How corrupted and alienating is it? This is what made me write I Am a Muse.
I have found a lovely article about muses, entitled SEVEN MUSES OF PARIS. Go and have a read. And the pictures are wonderful, too!
In my debut novel I Am a Muse, the former artist's muse Alda Thunberg lives - or rather survives - in an old house too big for her surrounded by the remnants of her life before her husband's death. Herself an artist, Alda cannot create anymore. At 70, she is the shadow of her former self.
For more than 40 years, Alda was married to the painter and sculptor Alastair Maynard and together, they had acquired a certain enviable status, that of the golden couple of contemporary art. Now Maynard's art seems to be relegated to a few appearances into catalogues and not too much else.
A mysterious American publishing magnate is going to change everything: he hires a New York gallery manager and instructs her to put on a major exhibition of Maynard's art in New York; he also commissions a biography of the author to be published at the same time as the exhibition opens.
This is when the story of I Am a Muse starts...
I have a strange habit of reading magazines as I spend time on my exercise bike - believe you me, in 30 minutes, you've got time to read quite a few articles.
I read pretty much anything, usually magazines found in the Sunday papers and free commercial ones my boyfriend picks up on his commute from London. It's good to keep your fingers on the pulse of mainstream culture, especially if, like us, you write and sell books and create artworks to sell at markets and fairs. It's essential to keep an eye on trends and to know what people have been ordered to like on a particular week. Since we've started doing markets and such, we have noticed that people like the familiar, get easily unsettled by the unknown and need to get gently nudged into trying out different things they like but are not sure they should be liking. Hey, it's not on TV...
To us - a debut writer and independent publisher and an artist, designer and stallholder(s), that kind of attitude - and the fact that people get bombarded with cultural references that only appear in the media because someone has paid for it to get there - represents a huge challenge.
Anyway... All this waffling to say that while I was leafing through the pages of a free woman's magazine, I found a page about a new art gallery in London called The Piper Gallery. Located in Fitzrovia, not a million miles from Tottenham Court Road station, it was opened in June 2012. But there is a twist to the story: the gallery's 28 year-old owner, Megan Piper, showcases "the work of contemporary artists whose careers have spanned forty years or more. The gallery aims to present these artists to a new generation and to demonstrate both the strength of their lifelong commitment to their practice and the continuing dynamism of their recent production."
Wow! Just like the story in my book, in which the career of a deceased artist (Ok, the artists at The Piper Gallery are thankfully alive and still practising!) gets resurrected and made relevant again! Reading the article and browsing the website genuinely made me smile. Strangely enough, I immediately started thinking about my characters and the life I have imagined for them...
You can read the article on Megan Piper HERE.
I have never worked in the art business or in a gallery and I am not an artist myself (although everyone thought I would be when I was younger. WORDS and BOOKS won the battle.)
I do not know a lot about this world, and everything in the book has been inspired by observations, readings, visits to gallery and museums, music, films, a love of and obsession with art, imagination and creativity.
I will be paying a visit to the gallery this Friday and I will have with me a copy of I Am a Muse and a print out of the press release. I'd love the gallery owner to read the book.
If I get chucked out, at least I would have tried!
The Piper Gallery is at 18 Newman Street, London, W1T 1PE
THE PIPER GALLERY WEBSITE
I have gone a bit I Am a Muse-mad over the past few days...
Because I haven't got anything to lose, really, I have been sending emails and press releases - and Advance Information Sheets, didn't know about those ones until two days ago! - to various independent bookshops in Essex, London and Cornwall. I have even submitted the book for consideration at Foyles - in my dreams!
This has been a full-time job for the past week or so, preparing promo material, sending books and doing research - I am so lucky I have a long lull in my freelance work! And it is not over yet, because it really has just started...
Yesterday, I went back to The Book of Thoth which has been neglected for weeks on end...
Today, I am going to the printer to deliver the files for the bookmarks and then I'll be writing. I am starting on a new schedule: morning, I Am a Muse promo, afternoon The Book of Thoth writing. This pesky first draft just has to be completed by early July!
I am delighted to announce that the first bookshop to stock I Am a Muse will be my local independent bookshop, The Book Inn in lovely Leigh-on-Sea! They also have a large children's section, a travel agent and a wonderful cafe on site too!
I think therefore I write.
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