Update! (Finally…)

It’s been quite a while since I’ve provided you with an update, so I thought it about time.

Over the past few months, I have been gathering art for Steve’s book.  Some of it is in hard copy, paper-and-pencil/ink form and a lot of it is in digital form.  I want to thank Betty and Denny (Steve’s parents) for being patient with my on my visits to their place as I dug through boxes of Steve’s belongings, books, and art.  They have been very generous to lend me a great deal of it for this project, including the approximately 300 CD-ROMs and two external hard drives containing Steve’s back-up files.

My time has been spent rooting around in these files, selecting the pieces that will end up in the final book.  It has not been an easy process, but I am pleased with the selection as it currently exists.

The exact pieces that will end of in the book may change, however.  Less than an hour ago, I delivered all the bits and pieces to the designer (minus only one or two documents).  I expect I will see an initial proof of the book by the end of the month.

In short, Unfinished Stories is moving along.  A big piece of the work is out of the way, and I expect that you should be receiving more frequent updates from now on.

MEcaricature

“Me Caricature” (2009)

Advertisements

“Unfinished Stories” Pre-orders

I have spent the past few days trying to find the most effective way to take pre-orders for “Unfinished Stories: The Art of Stephen Groves.”

There are a lot of tools and options available, but many of them are expensive or complicated.  I don’t want to deal with either of those factors, so here’s what we are going to do — if you want a book (or print or bookmarks or whatever), just use the “contact” link at the top of the page and let me know what it is you want.

Books will be $50.  Everything else has a price of TBA.

We can do cheques now (very soon I will be able to do credit cards, too), or we can do payment once the books are printed and on hand.  In either case, I’d appreciate it if you could let me know if you are planning on getting a book or not, so I can start to think about how many copies we will get printed.

In other news, I’m meeting with the designer early next week!

More updates will be posted as warranted…

art

“Art” – a titular character from “The Dumb Guys”

Brandon Sun Article – April 3

A big thanks to Tyler Clarke and the Brandon Sun for following up on this project.  You can read the article in today’s paper (April 3) here:  Groves book hits crowdfunding goal

The text of the article is included below:

Groves book hits crowdfunding goal
By: Tyler Clarke

A last-minute influx of contributors secured the future of a book highlighting the life’s work of local cartoonist Stephen Groves.

The kickstarter.com campaign, led by Groves’ longtime friend T. Keith Edmunds, capped off at $21,388 during the weekend, which notches slightly above its $20,000 goal.

Now that the fundraising is done, the hard work begins, with Edmunds charged with paring several hundred pages’ worth of content down to a 200-page hardcover book memorializing his friend’s talents

Groves died at age 46 late last year as a result of cancer.

With the artist deeming much of his work “not good enough,” or “not perfect,” Groves’ friends and family have long lamented the fact that he never found the audience they still believe he deserved.

The majority of his work has never been seen outside of a small circle of people.

The book idea was sparked during Groves’ funeral, where loved ones inquired as to where they might see the art they’d heard so much about.

Although his comic strip “The Grove” ran in the Wheat City Journal (now the Westman Journal) from 2005 to 2007 and encapsulated his sense of humour, it didn’t demonstrate his range of artistic talent, Edmunds said.

While Groves’ favourite creation was a cartoon raccoon named Puck, his work ranged from cartoon to realistic and also included the surreal.

 

Sifting through hundreds of pages of work, both on paper and digital, Edmunds’ work has only just begun, but it’s an effort that he said would be well worth it.

Relaying what he said at least one kickstarter.com contributor has already offered, he said, “It feels important.”

In addition to Groves’ work, the book will include a forward by comic book artist Kaare Andrews.

Best known for his work on a handful of Marvel titles, Andrews got to know Groves during their time as roommates while attending the Alberta College of Art and Design.

Edmunds interviewed Andrews for his blog, Unfinished Stories: The Art of Stephen Groves (unfinishedstories.ca), where he is chronicling the book’s progress and receiving book orders.

 

“There was only one other guy at art school that would gush over comics the way I did,” Andrews told Edmunds. “Steve’s love of comics was only matched by his love of music and Tim Burton movies. I’d often come home to find him with his headphones on, listening to Danny Elfman and reading the funny books.”

Edmunds said that his goal is to get the book printed by September.

Although he’s the book’s principal editor, he said that there’s no doubt Groves’ friends and family members would be helping out.

“I have no shortage of people I can call in for help,” he said. “A lot of Steve’s friends have been emailing me … and everyone’s pitching in and is excited about the project.”

A September print date lines up with the first-ever Brandon Comic Con, scheduled to take place at the Keystone Centre on Sept. 8 and 9, at which Edmunds hopes to launch the book.

Provided Groves’ reluctance to publicly release his artwork in life, it’s difficult to say how he might have reacted to this project, Edmunds said.

“He’d be enthusiastic about the project, for sure, but whether it would ever happen is hard to say.”

» tclarke@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @TylerClarkeMB

 

Kickstarter Completed

The Kickstarter is officially completed, successfully raising $21,388 for the project of designing and printing “Unfinished Stories: The Art of Stephen Groves.”

If you were distracted by Easter, for example, or you simply forgot about the deadline — don’t worry!  In the next few days, I will be setting up some sort of pre-order system that will allow you to still get a book or some of the other goodies that will be on offer.  However, you will not get the same kind of package that was offered exclusively to those participating in the Kickstarter.

I will also be endeavoring to keep you in the loop as the project moves forward.  Keep checking this site for details.  In the meantime, however, please feel free to contact me at anytime with your questions (just hit the “contact” link above and fill out the form).

Happy Easter, everyone!

found_a_rabbit_by_awgie-d3ekz9o

FUNDED!

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far to the Kickstarter for Unfinished Stories…  We have met the funding goal!

However, there is still over 24 hours to go, so if you want a book or any of the other reward tiers, the time to get involved is now.  After the Kickstarter is complete, there will still be time to preorder books and whatnot, but you won’t get the same kind of packages that are available now.

Please share the information far and wide to help more people enjoy Steve’s art.  Let’s get the word out over the last few hours!

Thanks again to everyone!

(Here’s a bonus Grove strip to celebrate:)

seedless_chicken copy.jpg

Latest Press Release

In case you didn’t see the latest press release about Steve’s book, here you go:

Marvel Artist to Contribute to Book

BRANDON, MB—A book dedicated to the unpublished work of the late comic artist Stephen Arnett Groves will be introduced by the much lauded, in-demand writer, director, filmmaker and cartoonist, Kaare Andrews. The latter is known for his work on HulkIron Fist and Spider Man comics, as well as The ONE%, his creator-owned title published through Image Comics. He was the first to win the Shuster Award for Outstanding Artist, in 2005. Roommates while at the Alberta College of Art and Design, Andrews and Groves were long-time friends.

“There was only one other guy at Art School that would gush over comics the way I did,” Andrews said recently. “Steve’s love of comics was only matched by his love of music and Tim Burton movies. I’d often come home to find him with his headphones on, listening to Danny Elfman and reading the funny books. In fact, one night at maybe 2 AM, returning home from a horrible dating adventure only to find myself without keys, those same headphones prevented him from hearing my desperate pleas to open the door. I spent the night sleeping on a terribly uncomfortable couch in our school across the street from the apartment, laughing at myself and his headphones.”

Though the two dropped out of the art school (from which, Andrews is quick to add, that John Byrne and Joni Mitchell had done the same thing a couple of decades before them) and moved away, the two artists kept in touch.

“These small co-conspirators in our lives leave a mark (and) in some way, (Steve) will always be a part of my work in comics,” said Andrews.

 

After a short fight with cancer, Groves passed away five months ago, and this pushed another one of Groves’ creative friends, comic book scholar T. Keith Edmunds to launch a Kickstarter project in which many of the former’s work will be presented to the world.

 

“Steve had talked a lot about Kaare and their shared love of comics – the characters, the storylines, the approaches to their art, and much more. So, it was a natural choice for me to ask Kaare to write the introduction to the book I’m hoping to have designed to showcase Steve’s work,” said Edmunds. “Steve was a fantastic, talented artist who never got the audience he deserved in life. I’m really hoping to put together this book so that more people can enjoy his art, all the quirky characters he created as well as the storylines that were appreciated by very few.”

 

The deadline to participate in this project is Saturday, March 31. For more information about this Kickstarter project, please visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/115465592/unfinished-stories-the-art-of-stephen-groves

-30-

Souris Plaindealer article

Late Artist to be Honoured by Friends, Family in Book

Friendships that start in childhood and withstand the test of time are not unusual, however, one that has extended beyond the passing of one friend might be.  Such friends – the late Stephen Arnett Groves and T. Keith Edmunds – had a bond that transcended the usual. After years of hanging out in Souris, they created a few stories together. Today, Keith is paying homage to his childhood friend, the co-creator of their online comic strip Dumb Guys, and the artist whose wealth of work had not yet been presented to the world.

“Steve was a fantastic, talented artist who never got the audience he deserved in life. With the help of his family, I’m hoping to put together a book so that more people can enjoy his art,” said Edmunds, who has started a Kickstarter project to see this dream to fruition. “Being an artist is often a solitary endeavour and selling one’s work can be daunting. Steve’s greatest hurdle was the business of comic art in that he was forever inventing, creating, drawing, but not necessarily reaching out and selling his amazing work.”

Originally from Souris, Groves attended the Alberta College of Art and Design for a few years, before starting a freelance career. He returned to live in Brandon in the early 2000s. His driving force was on his own imagination, his own characters and scenarios and his own projects, including the newspaper strip The Grove, which appeared in the Wheat City Journal from 2005 to 2007. He is remembered fondly by well-known comic book artist and writer Kaare Andrews, who was his college roommate. The two shared a passion for comics.

“There was only one other guy at Art School that would gush over comics the way I did. We were brothers in arms, taking on the post-modernist artistic ideology with our shared love of fantastical stories in comics,” said Andrews. “After those two years–more in the middle of them, really–we both dropped out of the same art school that John Byrne and Joni Mitchell once dropped out of, and we moved away. But somehow we managed to keep in touch for all these years. These small co-conspirators in our lives leave a mark (and) in some way, (Steve) will always be a part of my work in comics.  His was a talent that left this world too soon.”

Another long-time Souris friend, film composer Jeff Tymoschuk recalls with fondness his teen years spent with Groves and their tightknit group of friends. An admirer of Groves’ talent, he also feels that the world has lost a unique artistic voice.

“Steve was one of the most creatively gifted people I’ve ever met, in addition to being an excellent artist he was a storyteller, a singer, a songwriter, and a drummer.  He was good enough at them all to have headed down any one of those other paths, but drawing was his first love, and that’s what he stuck with,” said Tymoschuk, who is now based in Vancouver. “Like many creative types, the big problem with having a million ideas is that it’s often less enjoyable to finish with one than starting on the next, hence this book.  His life had many bumps in the road along the way, but through it all his work kept a sense of whimsy and magic, his characters always with a smile, a quizzical look, or a wisecrack. This book is a story of untapped potential, but more than that it’s a celebration of the joy found in the pursuit of the Next Big Idea.”

Local teacher and writer, Joanne F. Villeneuve collaborated with Groves on a children’s book entitled Akiak and the Sky Jewels. She was pleasantly surprised at how he perfectly interpreted the characters of her story, which has been shared digitally at several school assemblies.

“I had never worked with a visual artist before, and it was such a positive experience. He truly brought my tale to life. He really got the message, the feelings I was trying to convey. The students respond really well to the images, which are at once endearing and whimsical, but done in Steve’s own contemporary comic style,” said Villeneuve. “I really appreciate what he brought to the project and I so wish we could create a follow-up story.”

The Kickstarter project aims to gather support for a book that will focus on Groves’ art – his characters, storylines and ideas. During his life, his family was a constant support and is enthusiastic of this endeavour.

“It means the world to his mom and his family to see Stephen’s dreams coming to life with this book,” said Erin Groves, one Groves’ sisters. “It breaks our hearts that he was never able to achieve his true potential in life, but this will finally show everyone what he could never admit: He was an amazing artist, and his passion needs to be shared with the world.”

The deadline to participate in this project is Saturday, March 31. For more information about this Kickstarter project, please visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/115465592/unfinished-stories-the-art-of-stephen-groves