Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Starving artiste

Our store manager thought it would be nice to sell something very Pasadena that is exclusively ours, and she hit upon the idea of a jigsaw puzzle. Many iconic Pasadena landmarks -- the Rose Bowl, CalTech, the Gamble House, the Tournament House, and so on -- require permission to use their likenesses, and A. didn't feel like paying outsiders for the use of their image on our puzzle. So one afternoon a few weeks ago, she sent me out to take some photos of the Colorado Street Bridge, which is just a bridge, albeit a very recognizable one, and which nobody owns and can charge us for the use of its picture.

I got there late in the afternoon, after driving up and down the Arroyo Seco looking for a damn parking spot. The sun was about to disappear behind the hills on the western side of the arroyo when I took the above picture. I ran it through an art program on my computer to give it a more painterly look and added the word PASADENA so that local folks who will purchase anything emblazoned with their city's name would feel encouraged to buy, buy, buy. The whole process took me less than an hour. Then our stationery and gift buyer sent my doctored-up photo off to Jigsaw2Order and, a few days ago, the puzzles arrived. They're only 300 pieces, but because of the vast amount of blue, they're reportedly pretty difficult. We've already sold about 50 of them! Man, I should have copyrighted the image or asked for a cut of the sales or something. Instead, I got paid 45 minutes' worth of overtime and that was it. I'm not even credited as the photographer on the box.

Next year: paint-by-numbers kits. And I'm taking the credit and a percentage.

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