Doesn’t happen often, but sometimes you get lucky and a big, phat concept just falls into your lap, out of the blue. Which is what happened to Alan Bull. The Port painter, one of the most visible and in-demand artists since moving to the city more than two decades ago, had been playing around with the idea of putting out a calendar using fresh images from the truck series, probably his best-known to date. Well, actually, he was thinking about a calendar with new truck paintings, but also an exhibit of the original work. He wanted the work to "be out there, in the world, at least for a little while" before finding homes in private collections as originals or as images starting new lives as wall hangers that people could love each and every day of the year, as the song says. The idea was to show them, sell them, then put out the calendar, which is useful and practical, not to mention totally kick-ass promotion, all of which would, or could, stave off the romantic-but-entirely-unacceptable starving artist thing — at least temporarily. There were some practical considerations — like the fact that it was summer, which was already too late. The business shorthand is that calendars have to be in the stores by late summer and early fall if they’re going to ever end up under the Christmas tree, and the fact that the market pretty much dries up by the new year. So Bull decided to create a dozen truck paintings and print a limited edition calendar — selling 100, maybe more, depending on what the initial response was. It would be a starting point. Then he would start on another calendar in the spring for 2014, hopefully having it ready to go in June, maybe teaming up with a charitable organization ... Yeah, there were lots of details to work out. "This is all unknown, right now," he says. "Right now I just want to get the work out there."
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