Today is the tenth anniversary of my life saving surgery.
This is a longer post than usual but please bear with me.
I’m not one for taking a lot of time to reflect on my accomplishments as any of my friends will tell you, but I do try to remember to keep what is valuable in life in mind.
I’m very proud to continue to run a small press in my hometown of Toronto, one that has become known all around the world. With the invaluable help of Ed Kanerva and Helen Koyama, we’ve risen to meet a lot of challenges and are very excited about what is to come. Ed and Helen have been effective in curbing my tendency to give all of the books away for free and that is no small feat.
This is a difficult business in that very few people make much money at what we do but I feel so privileged to have been able to introduce a lot of artists and their work to the world in eight years.
No one succeeds in a vacuum and I will be forever indebted to people like Chris Pitzer, Barry Matthews and Leon Avelino who all stepped up to support me early on. People like Diana Tamblyn and Jamie Q helped me in the early days. As did Aaron Leighton and Tony Shenton.
I can thank good printers, local and overseas, Laura Legge, our copy editor, Jessica Fortner and Mike Wandelmeier who’ve designed our website and continue to contribute. Thanks for the advice and help from good retailers here and abroad, especially Chris Butcher and Peter Birkemoe, John Porcellino and the folks at Consortium and Raincoast/PGC who distribute our books.
Festival and show organizers have been enthusiastic and helpful over the years, which has made it easier to shine a spotlight on our artists and books.
Tom Spurgeon, Heidi MacDonald, Sean Rogers, Jeet Heer, Sean T. Collins, Chris Mautner, Françoise Mouly, Robert Boyd, Robert Clough, Zainab Ahktar and many others have all helped the press gain a wider readership.
The artists that we publish form the building blocks of a good press. I have to thank people like Michael DeForge, The Wowee Zonks, Dustin Harbin, Jesse Jacobs, Steve Wolfhard, John Martz and many others who came up with me as I learned how to be a publisher and more established artists like Julia Wertz and Renee French who took a chance on working with a smaller press. All of these artists helped provide a pretty diverse but interesting catalogue.
Without the people who buy our books, what we do would be a pretty expensive hobby. It will always be amazing to see fans come and meet the artists and to discover new artists and their work. Seeing photos of our books as far away as Beijing and Melbourne is thrilling. Seeing our art books in museum and gallery shops is fantastic.
Without Canada’s granting agencies, small presses like mine would be treading water.
Thanks to friends like Steve Manale, Sean Wainsteim, Steve Wilson, Patrick Kyle, Kate Nation, Dustin Harbin, Jen Breach, Rina Ayuyang, Robin Nishio, Tom Humberstone, Kenny Penman, Martin Steenton, Revival House, Peow Press and Nobrow for helping rep us at shows.
Last, the biggest thank you to my partner Scott Mackenzie who has stuck with me through thick and thin (or perhaps the opposite). It’s hard enough to find a mate who is supportive of anything you choose to do but to find one who gives me tons of space and stays with a person who suffers chronic illness, is very, very special and I know how fortunate I am.
There’s not enough time to get involved with all of the people or organizations with whom I’d like to work but I do try to cover as many of them as I can. I hope to keep helping behind the scenes for as long as I am able.
If all goes well, I will have a big announcement next year that will see several artists’ works be made available to the public and that is very exciting.
Ed Kanerva told me early on that the irony of being a publisher is that I wouldn’t have time to read any more, aside from submissions and related books. He was dead right and I plan to start reading again. I’m in the early stages of getting my whole weekends back after eight years and if feels pretty good.
Ten years out, it’s harder to remind myself to seize the day but I still do try.
If I am fortunate enough to be around, I am stoked about the next ten years.
Thanks for reading and apologies to anyone I inadvertently forgot to thank.