A&E » Arts

Calendars: Out with the old, in with the new

David McColm's 2014 calendar, Whistler Deep Sky, now on sale



Happy (almost) New Year! No doubt it is marked on your calendar, the last event of the year.

When thinking about what kind of calendar to get, people want to ensure that the makers haven't confused Easter with Thanksgiving — and hope all the statutory holidays are there in big, bold letters.

And the pictures, so important. Whether fluffy kittens or strategically positioned buffed firemen, the pictures say a lot about us — or about the banks and realtors we use, or about the fundraising events we support, or about the people who buy us gifts.

Calendars are fun, can be enlightening or inspirational, and are with us 24/7 for the next year. An app on a smart phone isn't the same thing as the dates on the wall calendar, with messy handwriting in a multitude of different inks.

Photographer David McColm decided to put out his own 2014 calendar, called Whistler Deep Sky, and quality control was important.

McColm will hike in the backcountry for hours and stand all night to capture star movement or astonishing sunrises. As a landscape photographer, he is known for the high colour saturation of the images, the use of light and the panoramic depth-of-field that makes the Whistler and Sea to Sky backcountry seem to flow on forever.

His work appears in at the White Dog Gallery and has graced the cover of Pique. He is also third in this year's Best of Whistler list for photographers in the resort.

He took that sort of precision to his calendar venture, printing them in small batches and selling them for $25 each.

He is calling it a big success, believing he will have sold "a couple of hundred" by the end of the year.

"I would say that 25 per cent of my sales have come from all around the globe in online sales and that worked out quite nicely. They shipped them and were very quick," he says.

"I was just testing this and I am very pleased. Everybody I show it to, they want it."

McColm is almost sold out of the ones he printed, at the time of writing the final eight are for sale at The White Dog Gallery.

"Next year, I am totally going to have two or three different kinds.... I'll start early and try to get the message out better," he says.

"I'm going for quality, to be honest, for the art market. In the photography art world, selling prints and products to make a living at it, it's not easy. You've got to find what works; I haven't found a lot that work, but I would say this has worked well enough so that I will do it again next year."

McColm's calendars can still be ordered online (costing $27.50) at http://www.lulu.com/shop/my-calendar/calendar/product-21284604.html

Dan Ellis, who owns Armchair Books in the village, said they were currently selling more mass produced calendars as they were lower in price, but he would love to see more local artists making their own.

"I seriously wish there was more out there, we'd sell the dickens out of them it they were priced right," Ellis says. "There is a lot of interest, especially when the big tourist season hits."

Not surprisingly, from September onwards is the biggest time for calendar sales, he says, with sales gathering pace by the time the winter season hits. In fact, the 2015 calendars will be available from May.

Ellis is sympathetic to the Catch-22 of calendar creation and how that impacts local artists and stops them from making their own.

"If you do a small print run because you don't think you will sell 10,000 copies, the costs are astronomical, so you've got to charge more when you only print a couple of hundred," Ellis says.

"Or you do a 10,000 print run, the prices go way down and you might be with thousands leftover."

Consequently, his Whistler calendars are printed away from the region, mainly in the Lower Mainland.

Whistler Animals Galore (WAG) is also selling calendars for their animal shelter. The calendars are $20 and available at WAG.