Monday, October 11, 2010

Meet The Artist- Mike James: Part I

I would like to begin my post with an apology to artist Mike James. I made some assumptions and accusations without knowing the full facts and I am truly sorry for not doing more investigation before writing out my original post regarding his artwork.

Back in June I wrote up a post titled "You Sketch It... I Sketch It" about the "You Sketch It" cards that Topps was including in random packs of the 2010 Topps Baseball release. The cool thing about these “You Sketch It” cards is that artists, both established and aspiring, were able to create their own personal sketch cards and submit them to Topps to possibly be included in future releases. These cards were also being used by artists to sell their work using a dedicated medium (the Topps sketch cards), often people were jumping on the Stras band wagon and attempting to make big bucks with their sketches. Tonight’s post is about how things are not always as they seem.

In my post I pinpointed three specific sketch cards, a Strasburg, Ichiro and Abraham Lincoln card being auctioned for a price that I felt was a bit high. Imagine my surprise when the artist who created these cards contacted me regarding my post.

The artist is none other then Canadian artist Mike James. If you are a hockey collector you may recognize his name, he worked with In The Game and created the 2003-04 Be A Player Memorabilia “Brush With Greatness” insert set and the corresponding contest where collectors could win a Mike James one-of-a-kind hand pained jersey for specific players.

Since August Mike and I have had an on-going conversation, definitely a highlight for any collector and we discussed a number of points that I included in my original post.

First, regarding the prices, Mike let me know that he actually was not intending on selling the cards at that $60-75 price points but was actually garnishing interest in his work which worked out well. He was commissioned to create additional custom cards and eventually sold off the original three sketch cards at a much lower price.

Second, I brought up the $12.00 shipping cost, which many eBay buyers would agree is a high price. I never took in to consideration that these cards are coming from Canada, not the U.S. Mike wanted to make sure that each card was not only shipped securely but also offered the protection of tracking with his orders and this is what brought the price up. Considering that we are dealing with 1/1 custom sketch cards being sent internationally, tracking is definitely something that is needed to protect both the artist and the collector.

I want to thank Mike for taking the time to contact me and for being as personal as he has been. I made the incorrect assumption that he was just trying to make money on Strasburg and the “You Sketch It” phenomenon and that was unfair of me.

I conducted an interview with Mike and will be posting that up soon as Part II to this post. He has sent me some images of examples of his work and I will be including those images with Part II.

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