The Story of Rare Swan Press . . .
The story of Rare Swan Press really begins with the launch of LITERATI MAGAZINE online in 2004.
Presenting the magazine at the London Book Fair, the following year, with nothing in hand but the idea and a web link, was an exceptional experience of the literary community’s generosity, acceptance and support. From my first conversation there, with Alessandro Gallenzi, founder, at the time of Hesperus Books, to Julian Rothenstein, with all his kind advice and introduction to Kate Moss, who was judging Young Publisher of the Year 2005; both of whom gave so generously of their time, to Kate Pullinger and Tim Sparks – whose stories about community and soccer, over lunch in Verona, Italy, a few years later, made Literati Magazine’s arrival, among the most memorable and exceptional experiences of my unconventional publishing career.
The early online editions were graced by some of the most respected names in the business; George Szirtes and his wife, artist, Clarissa Upchurch, with whom I did an in-depth interview, Kate Pullinger, who also graced me with early views of her innovative interactive, mulit-disciplinary and award-winning story ‘Inanimate Alice’; to D.J. Taylor, Mario Petrucci and Canadian costume designer, Tara Maginnis, award-winning photographer Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli, the inimitable David Shrigley, and Molly Crabapple: These are a few of the early artistic voices which shaped the early cultural signature of the magazine.
No less remarkable later that summer, was my experience as a brand new ‘small press’ publisher exhbitor at the Book Expo America, in New York. Despite the warm and welcoming reception that accompanied a lot of interest in the magazine, the challenges began with my entire consignment being held up in customs until the final day of the book expo. Added to this came the news that the magazine was about to lose it’s technical and design support. Literati Magazine’s technical and graphic designer Roger Humes, the then Director of The Other Voices International Project, a cyber-anthology of world poetry, publishing forty-six volumes, showcasing the work of fifteen poets each, from a cross the globe. He shared in Literati Magazine’s vision of a borderless international expression of cultural artistry. He withdrew from working on the magazine due to illness. He passed away after a long battle with cancer in July 2014. Much of Literati Magazine’s visual aesthetic is thanks to that shared, initial vision.
By the end of 2005, and with just four issues under our belt, I was forced to shelve Literati Magazine. It had been in development since 1999.
As I had gathered a substantial network of artists, writers, designers and artisanal specialists, whose work I still wished to showcase in some way, began a turbulant eight year foray, into entrepeurship. It was clear to me back then, the only way forward for the luxury industry, was to return to its roots; bespoke design. Little did I realise that this would become my own convoluted return to my own literary roots. This is how I began to explore ways of creating a bespoke, 360 degree lifestyle design studio.
During those eight years, I met and collaborated with some remarkable individuals, I learned much from the successes as I did from the projects which failed to materialise. My entrepeneurial journey began with LXX PORTFOLIOHOUSE MEDIA AGENCY, which evolved into a series of projects, eventually developing into LLX EMPORIA.
In the early day of “LXX”, I was very fortunate to meet and collaborate with with Tony Dyson (builder of R2D2 Star Swars droid), on a brand new early series of interactive computer robotic interfaces. He was living in Malta at the time and he vigilantly ensured I was up in the early hours to work through his inimitable, and often impressive, array of ideas. He sadly passed away in 2016.
LXX EMPORIA became RARE SWAN and these are among those projects and collaborations before the design studios shut its doors and I returned to my own literary roots of writing, editing and publishing.
An Art Commission
I collaborated with Wayne Haag on a commission for an art collector in New York. Wayne’s exceptional talent extends beyond the canvas, to some of the most recognisable films; including concept art created at Fox Studios Sydney for The Wolverine film. 2012, The Alien Covenant. 2016/2017, Run, The Fifith Element, Maze Runner and Lord of The Rings. ( more of his work can be found here: Film Concept Art and his personal website, ANKARIS .
A Fashion Collection
A Perfume & Fashion Collection, based in new Harris Tweed fabrics, in partnership with Anne MacCallum, first woman appointed as General Manager of Carloway Mill in the Outer Hebrides. She welcomed my ideas with much support and encouragement and we went on to discuss a bespoke line of special fabrics for the collection and I went to Paris several times to discuss a collaboration with French designer Eva Zengoni. Our last meeting was in late 2012, at the fabric fair in Paris. Before we could anything firmly underway, Anne MacMallum sadly passed away, very unexpectedly in March 2013.
From Ferrari to Fine Art
French film-maker, poet and installation artist, Jean-Noel Chazelle approached me with a concept for f’ free-standing art frames to enable a 360 degree experience of an artwork. The bespoke, ‘free-standing’ Brandoli- Ferrari Art frames, were the result. The frames were initially exhibited at the ‘Eternamé Boudoir’ jewelry studio in Paris and designed and handmade by Roberto Brandoli, Vintage & Classic Ferrari Car Restorer, based in Modena, Italy.
The Voronnoi, The Super Yacht
The Voronnoi, 125m long Super Yacht. International Yacht & Aviation Awards 2012. Shorlisted Design of The Year: Super Yacht Class. Designer : Hyun-Seok Kim
Acknowledgements, with Gratitude
The generosity of consultants, designers, inventors and artists throughout this process has meant a great deal; among them my gratitude goes out to Montegrapp (Original Writing Instruments, Italy), Christelle Nouviaire, (Luxury Fashion, Paris) Marc Faltheim (Financial Advisor), Eva Zingoni (Fashion Designer), Ivan Venkov (Concept Product Designer), Vicki Smith (Jewelry Designer), Ivo Hristov (Muralist and Designer), Hedes Andresen, (Inventor and Designer), Colin Morris (Architect Extraordinaire), Sarah Williams ( handmade leather goods), John De Pue (Dancer and Choreographer, Roberto Brandoli and his father (Vintage & Classic Ferrari Car Restorers), Jean-Noel Chazelle ( Artist & Poet), Hyun-Seok Kim ( Industrial & Concept Designer), Shan Gao ( GM OMG-Asia Media Group) and not least Mike Nicholson ( International Business Development) who guided and advised me from the very beginning.
From LXX EMPORIA to RARE SWAN PRESS
LXX EMPORIA / Rare Swan Ltd officially closed in 2013. Rare Swan Press took its place in 2015 with the publication of the collaborative poetry collection, “20/20”, with award-winning Croatian-American award-winning poet and Professor Emeritus, Mario Susko. The collection explores identity in exile, love family and alientation in times of war.
Literati Magazine Makes A Comeback
With the launch of LITERATI MAGAZINE on Medium in 2016/17, Rare Swan Press took over the publishing reigns and began working towards creating a collaborative publishing platform.
RARE SWAN PRESS shares an old-fashioned love affair with, and a deep belief in books. We happily go against the grain. As a new, boutique independent press, we seek to discover and celebrate literary and artistic authenticity. Roots are everything to flight. Our mission is to be a collaborative home to beautiful, engaging and memorable storytelling, ingenuity and artistic fearlessness.
During the 2020 Covid19 Lockdown, Rare Swan Press was approached by both Book Hub Publishing Group and 100 Words of Solitude which led to the the production of four books. And it a great pleasure to welcome both Book Hub Publishing Group and Philippa and Simon Holloway, of 100 Words of Solitude as new collaborative partners.
With increasing queries from artists, poets and writers, Rare Swan Press, will be expanding its publishing portfolio during 2022 to offering Authorial Services, including editing and manuscript develpment. Query letters for proposed projects are always welcome. Please be aware we need to be very selective as we are a small team. See Submissions & Guidelines for further information
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