The Carmel Story
The tiny town of Carmel, California, in which The Benjamin Franklin Press is situated, has a special place in the hearts of travelers internationally—roughly 10,000,000 visit here annually! Only a mile square, along with Monterey, Pacific Grove, and the Big Sur coast worldwide it’s known as one of the most beautiful and charming spots to visit in America.
How on earth could the Benjamin Franklin Press hope to spark a Book Lovers Revolution out of this seemingly least likely sort of place, rather than some well known publishing and intellectual center like London, Paris, or New York City?
We’re happy with the choice because we feel tiny Carmel is a living symbol of what millions of us still dream of and in some significant patch of this earth work to make like what rightfully all the world should be.
A truly beautiful place of trees and flowers.
A home to birds of every kind, live-and-let-live home town good sense, concerts, plays, the love and valuing of culture in every form.
And by far most important of all—haunting the happy days of thousands, if not already millions on this earth with its insistence—a place free of the poverty and the misery that after 100,000 years of human evolution is still the shame and blight for too much of America and for most of the rest of our earth.
Some say the better world is an impossible dream. But it’s the dream that built America, all the rest of our world at its best, and now drives the Benjamin Franklin Press.
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The Art Story
[add: Bates pic, samples work, story, including books still available, order from BB, plus bid for contributions to publishing The World of Bill Bates, in tradition of book celebrating Dedini]
The Monterey Peninsula on down to Big Sur also happens to be the home of an unusual group of nationally and regionally known artists. In Carmel it is the home of John Thompson, the artist for that wonderful sketch of the Partnership World, shown above here, and for the cartoonists who still meet on Tuesdays at Cardinale’s Coffee Shop on Ocean Avenue to swap tales of the better good old times.
Best known were Eldon Dedini of The New Yorker and Esquire fame and Hank Ketchum, creator of Dennis the Menace of daily newspaper cartoon and movie fame. Still living are Gus Arriola and Bill Bates — the artist for the cover for Bankrolling Evolution, Darwin in Love, and other books Benjamin Franklin Press is publishing.
Bill Bates’ work is unique. He’s best known locally for his focus with loving brilliance on the small town doings and foibles of Carmel with cartoons for the tiny local newspaper, the Carmel Pine Cone, and The Monterey Herald. But he also does remarkable caricatures of local and national celebrities. And in still another phase — like a modern Around the World in 80 Days — in an ever-expanding sketch book he is recording the people, settings, and sights of tourist interest around the world, 133 countries so far.
As his style seems to us perfect for two other unusual books we'll likely publish within 2006, we’re delighted Bates is currently working on illustrations for The Parable of the Three Villages and Tangled Tales of the Book Trade, or the Mystery of the Missing Century..
Click here for samples from Bill Bates global sketchbook and Carmel cartoons.
Another artist working on our first children's book for the time being prefers to remain anonymous. Of her we can report that she is lovely, charming, and well-known in New York area art circles. She lives with her husband and fellow artist, also well-known thereabouts, and their talented son on a farm north of New York City. Impelled by our belief she is potentially a great children’s book artist, we’ve persuaded her join us for the illustrations for Grandfather’s Garden.
Click here for a sample illustration by our mystery artist.