Thursday, January 1, 2015

1056 - Year Five: JSVB In Review

Today, JSVB turns five years old!  I've added a fifth column to my art matrix, which shows everything I have posted on JSVB since January 1, 2010.  The last column looks a little more bare than the others, but I did work on a few pieces this year where the client did not want to share progress, so if I counted those my post rate would be roughly equal to the previous couple of years.  I figure I may be settling into a rhythm.

2014 on JSVB was pretty good, compared to previous years.  I got a bit more exposure and as a result made a little more money than in past years, enough to keep me in crackers and Kraft Dinner for another twelve months.  JSVB was named in a lawsuit regarding my City, but the plaintiffs were so disorganized that the judge forced them to drop their suit.  There was no wrong-doing in any case and I never went to court, but it was interesting to get named at City Hall, sort of.  How it worked out was that the plaintiff knew what JSVB was but somehow didn't think to look up my name or address.  From what I heard, it was one of those cases where the citizen is so disgruntled they lashed out at everything they could, which is sad. 

Looking up JSVB in 2014 meant sharing the name with a French soccer team and also a jazz band that had broken up prior to 2010 but are now back together, good for them.  There are also a couple of new JSVB websites with placeholders, possibly bought up by people who want to cash in on the name.  If I ever make money with art, maybe I will buy one.  

By far, the most popular JSVB post was "Wrath Of Gandhi", which gets hits every day.  This year, it officially became Internet Meme #8,173,936,384.  Check it out by clicking here to see JSVB Post #956, back in May.  "Wrath Of Gandhi" is just shy of 10,000 hits on JSVB, and it's got some play on Reddit and  

The rest of the popularity list remains unchanged from 2013, so none of my 2014 posts were all that popular by Blogger standards.  That's something of an issue, though.  I thought that Blogger was un-loved the previous year, but in 2014 blogs were deader than dead.  Google, the parent company that owns Blogger, has done little to keep their service up to date, and they have been actively shuttering third-party developers like Picasa to make the blog experience walled up entirely within the Google realm.  I can't complain: I found Picasa terribly cumbersome to use, and every year at this time an update would break it.  Now that there are no more updates, at least things work predictably if not efficiently.  As a bonus, Google has drastically increased my storage space for free.  It reports that JSVB is now using 0.14% of its storage space.  I guess I should stop optimizing my pictures for web, but old habits die hard.  

So what were my favourite posts?

1. "My Super Power".  I don't know why this one isn't more popular, because it makes me laugh every time.  Mind you I didn't write the joke, so maybe it's good that it remains obscure.  I bought a bunch of books on comic book drawing and inking since this post inspired me to expand my art style.  

2. "Kirby-esque Sylvia In Colour!".  Since the super power art convinced me to draw more comic book stuff, I attempted to duplicate the style of one of the masters in the trade.  And I also made Sylvia happy with it, which is the best right there.  

3. "MCLAREN-44".  I think my favourite pieces are the ones I know for sure have made people happy.  When I discovered that the fellow who sits in front of me for BC Lions games was a player in 1977, I decided to make for him a custom-made collectible card.  From an artistic perspective, composing the image, getting the card stock to look authentic, and getting the whole thing to be convincing, it was a success.  From a personal perspective, it turned out to be one of the best art projects I've ever made.  

4. "Elegy For A Re-Used Roaster".  Sure, the artwork is nothing special, but I thought I did a very good job with the poem.  And that poem earned me a new re-used roaster made of steel.  

5. "Happy Birthday To Me (5)".  Again, I don't know why this one isn't popular.  If I knew that, I'd be on TV or in the movies by now.  It sets the bar too high for Happy Birthday To Me 6, that's for sure. 

6. "Squirrels In Love".  This was part of a set of squirrel-based wedding invitation artwork.  I had fun doing it, and the client loved it.  Win-win!

7. "Town Haul".  I enjoyed making the caricatures, and the image proved to be popular.  It's also the picture that got me involved in the lawsuit mentioned above.  No harm done, though. 

8. "The Hamster Who Saved Christmas". This project began in 2013, but ended in 2014.  This year, I made a present of it to my wife by having it framed as a holiday decoration.

9. "Commission: Harp!".  A massive boardgame playmat, this was the largest printed file I had ever made.  It forced me to learn new Photoshop techniques for .PSB files, which are for images larger than poster-size. 

10. "JSVB Post #1,000".  It was a milestone, and fun to do the animation.

2015 promises some big opportunities for all of us. Ars Gratia Artis ("Art For Art's Sake") is a terrific sentiment, which was why MGM Studios adopted it as their company slogan (It's also the shield motto of Delta House Fraternity in the movie "Animal House"!).  However, only big studios can get away with that kind of blarney these days.  Small-time artists like myself depend on your kind word of mouth and better still, your paid commissions and funding of my work.  

Keep care, loyal JSVB readers!  Remember that you can order much of this art for purchase.   It makes great gifts for you and your friends!