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Chopping Block: Baby Tattooville 2014

This year we are excited to be apart of Baby Tattooville 2014, an annual interactive art event that will converge upon the historic Mission Inn Hotel and Spa in Riverside, CA on October 3rd through the 5th. Limited to just 40 guests, Baby Tattooville gives each participant a unique opportunity to be apart of the intimate, creative process with the guest artists which this year includes Tara McPherson, Joe Sorren, Brian Smith, Eric Fortune, Brom and Laurie Lee Brom.

We were able to grab a few minutes with Bob Self, founder of Baby Tattoo Books, who also happens to be the brain child behind the eclectic event.

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POW: How did you come across the idea of starting Baby Tattoo? What was your inspiration for such a quirky name?

Bob: My sister came up with the name Baby Tattoo based on my baby (at that time) daughter's temporary tattoos. I thought the name was both catchy and indicative of the type of genre-bending books I was interested in publishing.

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POW: Your "cast of characters" includes some well-respected artists such as Jeff Soto, Lola, Luke Chueh, Travis Louie, Brian McCarty to name a few, when and where were some of these connections established?

Bob: I am honored to have published books by many artists I greatly admire. Early on, when I began publishing books, I would introduce myself to artists and let them know that I was interested in publishing their work. As my reputation as a publisher grew, some artists began to approach me about publishing their work. Regardless of who contacts who, productive relationships are usually the result of respectful and enthusiastic communication.

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POW: This years Baby Tattooville runs October 3rd-5th in Downtown Riverside. What can we expect to see during this year’s event?

Bob: The ticketed event Baby Tattooville is cloaked in a bit of secrecy. Over the course of the three day, immersive retreat at the Mission Inn, artists and attendees create and celebrate art in a multitude of ways. Eating, drinking and socializing are interspersed with art discussions and demonstrations. A good time is had by all. There's even a collaborative Art-Jam painting created by all of the participating artists over a 24-hour period. Baby Tattooville attendees receive a high-end art print of this collaborative painting as a souvenir of the event. For those who are not able to purchase one of the 40 tickets to Baby Tattooville itself, there is a related exhibition at the Riverside Art Museum that is open to the public. During the weekend of Baby Tattooville, there is an artists' reception at RAM with all of the participating artists in attendance. This RAM exhibition provides some public access to what is an otherwise private event.

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POW: Did you always have a passion for the arts or was it something you just stumbled upon?

Bob: My first real connection to art was through book illustrations and animated films. To this day, I am still very attracted to figurative and narrative art.

POW: How would you describe the art that Tattoo Baby advocates?

Bob: I sometimes call the type of art I like "strange fun art". I have also referred to the type of art I like as art that demands one's attention… art that achieves the goal of the classic playground taunt, "Made you look!"

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POW: How was your experience at Comic Con this year? Did you meet any new artists you would be interested in working with?

Bob: I love the energy and epic scope of Comic-Con. I spent most of this year's Con within the 10'x20' confines of the Baby Tattoo booth, but I managed to meet an astonishing number of longtime associates and newfound friends within that small space over the course of four and a half days. Comic-Con is always a journey of discovery.

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POW: Your other event "Beyond Brookledge" was extremely successful this year and was also held in Downtown Riverside. How are "Beyond Brookledge" and "Baby Tattooville" different?

Bob: Baby Tattooville is a celebration of the visual arts. Beyond Brookledge is an epic (yet intimate) magic and vaudeville show. Both events share a similar structure, and both are remarkably entertaining weekends; but one is all about fine art and the other is all about theatre. Of course, it can be argued that art is show business and that show business is art. I certainly like to blur the lines between the two.

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Thank you Bob for giving us a little bit of your time to talk about this spectacular event.  We are even more excited to be apart of it this year.

For more information on Baby Tattoo Books, visit http://www.babytattoo.com/

For more information on Baby Tattooville 2014, visit http://www.babytattooville.com/

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