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Money, Philosophy, Art

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

Mount Holly Crafts Fair

After two hours at the Mont Holly Crafts fair, I learned the following:

  • More people are interested in the isochrone maps than I would have thought.
  • The colors that either I like or Amanda likes are also popular.
  • The acrylic print was hugely popular. The canvas print of Manchester was popular. Nobody made a single comment about the Ludlow canvas print, though admittedly it is not much to my liking.
  • The concept of an isochronic map is utterly alien to everyone but easily comprehended.
  • I need to figure out my costs in order to determine a fair price.
  • I meed to finalize a good logo because no logo would be a hugely missed opportunity. The maps will clearly generate conversation and future onlookers might genuinely want to know where to get one.
  • I must find a cheaper acrylic distributer.
  • I recieved one firm, two probable, and one potential commission, which is great and strange. Great because it's nice to see that others share my fascination with these maps and I am honored and excited to produce them. Strange because, over the past thirteen months, 99% of the time I worked on this project was spent writing code to facilitate the production of maps. I assumed that any profits would come through the code. And they might. But I realized today that actually crafting a good looking isochrone map is not as easy as pushing a button. It's nice to have built the machine that makes building the maps less arduous and more like pushing a button but there remains the final step of refining the map aesthetically. Today at least, it struck me that my first clients will be in the art market.
  • Finaly, if this market grows any faster, I might need to hire soon just to deal with the business aspects.