Friday, January 07, 2011

Curio & Co. - That's What I've Been Doing

Curio and Co. Curio & Co. - Design by Cesare Asaro logo

It may look like I fell of the face of the earth and that was that. Not really, I'm writing the post, right… All this silence on the blog was due to the incredible amount of work that my significant other, Kirstie Shepherd, and I have undertaken since the beginning of 2010. We established Curio & Co. ( What is it? Here is a brief description:

Curio & Co. retails entertainment collectables and memorabilia. Then you say loads of companies do that. Ah… and there is the difference. The memorabilia and collectables that we retail are based on our own entertainment ideas, practically we are building an alternative entertainment history.

Curio and Co. Curio & Co. - Design by Cesare Asaro - Spaceman Jax logo

Curio and Co. Curio & Co. - Design by Cesare Asaro Luca Fattore - Spaceman Jax model sheet signed by Philip La Carta

Let's take the Spaceman Jax product line that we just Luanched (Jannuarry). Spaceman Jax and the Galactic Adventures is an Animated TV Series from 1961 (our 1961) it ran 2 season and was produced by pud film. We built the back history of the TV-show, the production studio the people that owned the studio what kind of studio it was (Warner Brothers or Hana Barbera, UPA, Disney, or Friz Freleng), the artists that worked there, why was the name chosen… and of course the show it self. The thing that really got me exited with Spaceman Jax was that I finally got to collaborate with a Luca Fattore (Philp La Carta as his know in our world) on the design of the show. It was just such a wonderful energetic experience, he took my initial designs and revamped them, bringing in some really interesting new idea, then we went back and forth until we chiseled the style that would fit the show, spirit and time period. It was great talking with him about the design decision that would need to be implemented. Luca is an animator by trade and has worked on loads of features in Europe in many different positions, I mentioned this because it was important that the design of the characters be functional not just visual candy or empty calories which ever way you want to say it. Naturally because it's animation it was loads of work, but the results… take a look!, we are all proud of it. Becaouse things worked out so well we are presently working on other characters of the show. I'm fully jazzed about how they are looking (shhhhh). Getting back to what I was saying about Spaceman Jax as an example, we now have Giclée replicas of the Jax model sheet and original "production" drawings of the TV show. There are other things in the pipeline for the Spaceman Jax brand, which are are other then drawings and prints, but I don't want to give things away.

Curio and Co. Curio & Co. - Design by Cesare Asaro - Clarence 'Otis' Dooley's Signature
Curio and Co. Curio & Co. - Design by Cesare Asaro and Kirstie Shepherd- Finding Frank and his Friend by Clarence Otis Dooley, written by Melvin Goodge

The first product that we Curio & Co. introduced was the The Finding Frank and his Friend book that debut at the Comic-Con 2010, (we were in the Small Press section). You can see some of the development work here on the blog. In this case I was responsible for the illustrations and design of the book, and yes I'm Clarence "Otis" Dooley. Kirstie is actually Melvin Goodge, she wrote the book's text and there was a considerable coming and going of ideas during the illustration stage. I couldn't have finished the book without her support. In this case just like with Spaceman Jax we had to build the back the story of the Artist, and the writer. The general premiss of the book is that these are 52 never before seen illustrations of Otis prior to his success with the syndication of Frank and his Friend. These works were found in the family garage, and since Otis did not deem them good enough they never saw the light of day. The book presents the work as if you, the viewer, know all about the Frank and his Friend, so what you are getting is glimpse in the production process; the book has the sketches one the left pages and the final illustrations on the rig, and some little glimpse and trivia about his life. The book was designed with little hints of "future" entertainment ideas (brads) that will be joint the Curio & Co. family as a matter of fact there a reference to a brand that will be entering Curio & Co. in the next quarter.

Having said that the first product was the Frank and his Friend book I should also mention that Curio & Co. is in itself a persona in our world. The company is run by Elmer Druthers, and his trusty office manager Margie Trundleberry is key to daily business operation and making sure that all of the departments in the company Archives, Sale, Acquisition, and Research have all they need for a productive day. The company's person is that of an art dealer which primary focus on retail of entertainment memorabilia, reproductions, and collectables. As such the site is in character as well. Naturally we had to build the back story for the company as well, when it was founded how many generations it goes back, how many people work at the company and so on.

As the entertainment ideas that are in development/production enter the family all of their back story as Curio & Co.'s will slowly see the light. My goal is for the site to be a wiki of our world, and granted we need to make a living so the shop will need to be an integral part of the site. Never the less I'm hoping to have a dialog with our audience and allow them to give suggestions to what they would like to see. Like a Spaceman Jax on box of Kellogg's cereal (I've been wanting to that one for a while), or perhaps Spaceman Jax had a really catchy theme song and there are some 45's in the Curio & Co. vault that are ding to get out. To stay in character with the company spirit we decided to make sure that all the product are as eco as possible, archival quality (acid free and all that), and since the company retails official collectibles it's only fitting that Curio & Co. issues a certificate of authenticity with every item.

All this to say that I'm having a blast working on Curio & Co. it is a heck of a challenge managing the business and the creative all at the same time, yet it's been so rewording seeing what was done in the last year. The company guidelines, and CI, the Frank and his Friend book, the Spaceman Jax design, the site, a product roadmap, and we also moved apartments (no small task let me tell you). I'm really looking forward to collaborating with more artist and designers on some of our ideas that is such an energy boost for me.

As a little aside we will be at the Small Press section of the Wonder-Con 2011 on April 1-3, 2011 and at the Comic-Con 2011 July 21-24, 2011 booth P-5. Hope to see you there.