We stopped at Mike's house to pick up copies of his latest sketchbook to have on display at the Tampa show. Mike is one of the coolest, most down to earth guys you'd ever want to meet. Beatty and I have known Mike for nearly 30 years [yeesh!] and Higashi has known him for a couple. It was The James' first time meeting Mike. Normally The James is very cool about meeting artists... even big name artists. In fact, The James is friends with some of the best artists in the business... yet something came over him when he met Mike.
Here are a couple of brief exchanges that they had:
The James: Uh, Mr. Zeck it is a pleasure to meet you, sir. I... uh, I am a big, no huge, uh... fan of your work, Mr. Mike Zeck, sir.
MIke: Thank you. And please, call me Mike.
The James: Ok, I'll do that Mr. Zeck.
Mike smiles as The James goes on.
The James: Uh, Mr. Mike Zeck, sir, I'd really like to purchase a copy of your sketchbook, sir, that is if you don't mind and uh, if it isn't too much trouble, sir.
Mike had just pulled out 15 copies which John Higashi had purchased for Tampa. Other copies were easily within reach.
Mike: No problem at all James. In fact, you can have one at the dealer discount.
The James: Uh, no sir, Mr. Mike Zeck, sir. I insist that I pay full retail price, sir, uh... that is if it's okay with you, sir.
Mike shrugged his shoulders as The James forced a twenty into his hand.
The second exchange took place as we were leaving.
The James: "Wowee. It has been such a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Mike Zeck. I've admired you, I mean your work... you know, your art... for a long time. Uh, but don't think I'm a stalker, sir. It's just that, it's just that, you know, sir, you're THE MAN."
Mike: Thanks, James. And please just call me Mike.
The James: Yes sir, I will Mr. Mike, sir.
The James then turned to leave, but quickly spun back around and said: "I really dig your shirt, sir!" and then he was out the door.
It was cool to see that even a middle-aged playa like The James can still break into fanboy mode.