Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My Story

I always knew I would eventually be a star! 
 Ed Attanasio, 57, started sketching as a form of rehab after he had a mini-stroke on August 4, 2009. The stroke didn’t affect his motor skills, but it definitely scrambled his brain to the point where he was unable to continue his job as a journalist/ad copywriter.

One afternoon, Attanasio’s speech therapists suggested that he should get involved in some type of activity where he’d be using his brain on a daily basis. So, he started drawing a series of illustrations on Post-It-Notes, for hours and hours while he embarked on a slow 14-month recovery.

Self portrait 2013 
Attanasio drew these characters only as part of his therapy and nothing more. “My wife Simone and my two stepdaughters always seemed to enjoy these silly 3” x 3” creations, but eventually they would migrate down to our refrigerator door and after a while, they'd disappear,” Attanasio said. “Then, in October of 2011, my wife gave me a notebook and all of the drawings were there—close to 400! I had created a collection of baseball players, football players, gangsters, dinosaurs, dogs and aliens. All of these peculiar-looking illustrations that had emerged from my stroke-scrambled brain were all together and ready for something…but what?”

Have always been an avid reader
As he browsed through the images, Attanasio thought wow--these characters drawn in black felt pen and colored pencils tell a great story. “For more than a year, I didn’t know if I would be able to be a professional writer again and these drawings are a map that shows how I recuperated….or maybe digressed, depending on how you look at it,” Attanasio explained. “After I went through all of the images, I assembled them into a series of collage. I named one of them “Bushers--A Fantastical Collection of the Craziest Ballplayers You Never Saw.” Pretty soon, I assigned each player with his own name, complete with a colorful nickname and a biography describing his baseball career. It became a fun project, but at this point it was really nothing more.”

Then one day, Attanasio decided to submit his “Bushers” to an upcoming show at an art gallery in San Francisco. The George Krevsky Gallery of American Art was holding its 15th annual baseball art exhibition called The Art of Baseball. But after a couple of months anxiously waiting for a response from the gallery and not hearing back, Attanasio figured that his players were probably too bizarre for their show.

After shedding 100 lbs. 
“I resigned myself to the fact that my sad-sack “Bushers” get out of the minor leagues,” he said. “Then, one day the phone rang and the people at the gallery were on the other end. As a writer and a former standup comic, I hate to admit it, but I expect rejection. As the woman on the phone started talking, I was waiting for her next words, telling me that my “Bushers” were not an ideal match for their show. So, when the people at the Krevsky gallery said they liked the image and wanted to meet me, I was obviously very pleased and surprised. In the end, the image was accepted into the Art of Baseball show and even before the exhibition began it was sold!”

So, how did Ed’s “Bushers” eventually become a book idea? “My good friend and colleague Eric Gouldsberry and I have been looking for another project to work on together ever since we started, our baseball website back in 2005,” Attanasio said. “We considered a couple of other book concepts over the years, but never latched onto one. So, when my “Bushers” entered the world, Eric Gouldsberry and I decided to use his design skills and the bios we created together to make an art/humor book featuring my 48 mythical players. Actually, the book contains a total of 50, because we added two bonus babies to make them a nice round number while representing every state in the country. In addition, I then drew a 16-page spread to whimsically describing the Deadball Era, a period in baseball from 1900-1919, when the ball was less lively and if a player hit 10 home runs, he was considered a power hitter!”
Loving life with Freddy

Description of “Bushers,” the book”

Containing 50 fictional legendary baseball players and their amusing biographies, Bushers takes a whimsical look at baseball during the Deadball Era, when free agency, luxury boxes and enormous salaries were non-existent. It's a wild and hilarious collection of baseball's greatest goof balls, wannabes, could've-beens and never was hailing from every state in the Union--representing actual towns like Nuttsville, Virginia, Parole, Maryland and Sweet Lips, Tennessee. Bushers tells a tale of fame squandered by unusual habits such as wrong-way baserunning, smelly feet, narcolepsy and uncontrollable sweat. With illustrations by Ed Attanasio and text written by Attanasio and Eric Gouldsberry, this graphic novel takes a funny look at baseball's early years through the eyes of two passionate lifelong fans of this great game.

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