I Am Jesse James – Debuted at #9 on The New York Times Best Sellers' List (Nonfiction Paperback)
Co-Concept / Creative Direction / Art Directon / Design
None. Project partnership with Eric Hameister.
• Co-created a 160-page coffee table book, I Am Jesse James
• Developed book concept, and handled all art direction and design
• Book was published and carried by major retailers including Barnes And Noble, Wal-Mart, and Amazon.
This is a story about the strange and wonderful alchemy between talent, drive, and luck.
There's an old saying: "You make your own luck". I'm a big believer in that, and also the notion that all the talent in the world means nothing without the drive to turn that talent into production. That's not only the theme of this story, it also applies to the man behind West Coast Choppers, Monster Garage, and the boom in popularity of chopper culture: Jesse James.
A quick bit of backstory: While working as an Art Director centuries ago, I met a brilliant photographer named Eric Hameister. We worked together on several shoots and became friends. Eric is a life-long motorcycle guy who became West Coast Choppers' unofficial-official photographer, starting a couple years before Monster Garage aired and Jesse became a household name. When things took off for Jesse, everyone wanted a piece of WCC, chopper culture, and Jesse. And there was literally one guy on the planet that was there to document it all with his camera – my buddy, Eric.
Cut to a couple years later. I bumped into Eric at a backyard barbecue. We hung out, had a couple beers, and started talking about what we could do with his thousands and thousands of shots from the two or three years prior to West Coast Choppers t-shirts appearing in every suburban shopping mall in the country.
We talked about pitching a coffee table book showing the incredible WCC bikes, the view inside the shop that the public never got to see, and candid stuff of Jesse himself. We were stoked and got right to work. A couple days later, I had five comps and a refined book concept – a three-section book: The Bikes, The Shop, and The Life.
Jesse bought in immediately. As luck (again) would have it, he was already in talks with a major publisher. He liked our concept and had already known Eric for years, so he put us and the publisher in touch with each other, and off we went. Curtis Cummings joined us to write forwards for each of the three sections, and several weeks (and late nights) later, we met Jesse on set at a Monster Garage production and I walked him through all 160 pages. He signed off, we went to press, and debuted at #9 on the New York Times Bestsellers List – just a few spots behind Hillary Rodham Clinton's Living History, Ben Mezrich's Bringing Down the House, and Michael Lewis's Moneyball.
And as you probably guessed, all shots here by Eric – told you the dude was good.
Ask Me About:
My idea that even Jesse thought went too far.