With thirty-odd enevelopes yet to address, I am taking a minute to reflect on "where I'm at." My vision for these maps has forked from my original intent of writing the software to making the art. The two are intertwined and not mutually exclusive: if the software is to be good enough to sell (or lease), then it has to be good enough to satisfy even me, a perfectionist. Both programing and printmaking are thorughly artistic endeavours, which I can say without first firmly comprehending the meaning of either art or endeavour because both topics seem to thrive in the realm of the subjective and the rhetorical. Oh dear, I seem to be slipping into philosophical mumbo-jumbo. Maybe this whole thing is just that anyway.
The problem of money stalks my every move. I received a bill from Mapbox indicating that I blew through their daily free-limit of 50,000 map views. Well, well, well, I thought. Let's investigate this because that seems like a rather high limit. 99.9% of all views originated from my computer. I have, in turns out, clocked over 187,000 map views thus far with a daily high of over 11,000 views. That's like one view every minute for 18 hours or thereabouts, which is to say I have been viewing maps rather much of late. That's $50 to Mapbox, thank you very much. The isochronic software monkey requires its monthly feeding of 50 euros, which when magnified through the banking magic of international fees, becomes a whopping $87 or so. The Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator fees are a reasonable $20 or so. Squarespace, my feeble effort to outsource some of the programming tasks, is about that much, I forget. (Note to self: hire bookkeeper.) Github, for software version control, is $7 a month. And the ink, don't get me started on ink. I could buy blood plasma cheaper. I should buy a black market nuclear gas diffussion centrifuge to squeeze from each miserly cartridge another drop and come out richer, I suppose, but there it is. I really should outsource the printing but some physical printing will always be necessary in-house in order to tangibly gauge the aesthetic successses and to know exactly what is and isn't working.
In the end, this enterprise (endeavour?) is getting to be pricey -- whatever the opposite of profitable is. Unprofitable? Well, that is not the right word, per se, because the product is getting better and better. Someone will pay for these, which sounds so ominous until you reflect that that is the American/Artistic Dream in a nutshell, no?
If you are reading this and want to support a starving artist or his family, send any and all loose change post haste. My kids need new shoes. My wife, I fear, might soon drive an axe through my computer as a perfectly reasonable defensive maneuver. Or if you are feeling magnanimous, consider commissioning a work or spreading the word that this new modern art is available. Over and out. Sebastian