Interview with Ramon Oscuro Martos author of …And Justice For Art Vol 2.
Going way back, tell us about how AND JUSTICE FOR ART was first received by the public?
The press’ and general public’s response was mind-blowing. What it really surprised me was that people from all over the world ordered the book, and I had to print 2 additional editions to fulfill the demand. Many of the comments and praises seemed to agreed on the printed quality of the book, the depth and detail of the research and written content, and the variety of the featured visual artists, bands and Metal sub-genres. I could not be any happier about how everything turned out.
At what point did you know yo were going to do Volume 2?
While putting together the first “And Justice For Art” book I compiled enough of information, images and stories to make a 500 pages book. I soon understood it was not going to be possible to include everything in a single volume. I knew I had enough material to do a second or even a third book. However, at that time, I didn’t have any immediate plans, even if the potential was there. What really motivated to go ahead with Volume 2 was the overwhelming response the first “And Justice For Art” received. Many readers started asking about for a continuation, for more stories. Many artists and bands were also interested. So, two and a half years ago I decided to start working on the new book and now, it’s finally done. In my humble opinion, it’s much better than the first book. It’s better written/edited and slightly better designed. I’m really proud of the finished product.
Was it easier this time to contact artists?
At least 50% of the material included was from my initial research for “And Justice For Art 1.” There was plenty of unused material about essential album covers like Judas Priest’s “Sad Wings Of Destiny,” Black Sabbath’s “Heaven And Hell,” Queensryche’s “Operation: Mindcrime,” and many more. This also gave me the opportunity to interview many other artists and bands, and to include more recent covers for newer recordings like Gorguts’ “Pleiades Dust,” Opeth’s “Sorceress,” Soulfly’s “Archangel,” Orphaned Land’s “Unsung Prophets…” and many more. In general, it was a little easier to interview some bands and artists, because of the accolades the first book received. Many people understood that this was a serious project and accepted to participate. That included bands that declined to participate in the first book, like the mighty Judas Priest. That definitely was a BIG personal achievement.
Is the book going to be of the same size, shape and presentation?
The printed and manufacturing quality of the new book is going to be exactly same: with book flaps, thick, glossy color pages, both sewn and glued, etc… The idea was to make a perfect companion to the first book. They will look like twin brothers in a book shelf. In fact, even the cover artwork of the new one is a continuation of the first one, so if you put them side by side, you’ll notice an immediate connection. And… if you’re only getting the new book, I can guarantee that it will become a unique attention grabber, an essential piece of of you collection.
Was there any piece of art you wanted to cover but just could not make happen?
There were hundreds of artworks that I wanted to include, but I didn’t pursue most of them. The only real artwork that I pursued that I could not include was Iron Maiden’s “Somewhere In Time.” I already tried to include it on the first book, but the band’s management didn’t allow it. I have a detailed interview with the artist, Derek Riggs, who even shared a couple of rare images but the band representative’s weren’t interested. Their reasons for their refusal were somehow vague. They seemed to be more business-oriented and weren’t focus on the goal project but that’s Ok. As I see it, this just allowed me to include another band with an equally-interesting cover artwork instead of Iron Maiden. No big deal.
I understand you have a very successful fan-funded campaign. Tell us a bit about it.
The first book was financed through a crowdfunding campaign I ran via Indiegogo which raised more than 200% of my original goal. That experience made clear that doing something similar to financing the printing of the new book was the way to go. Since this is a ‘one man project’ and I’m the only person doing everything, I don’t have any financial backing behind. I completely rely on the deep end of my pockets and the generosity of Metal fans/readers and followers of the “And Justice For Art” project. Thanks to their their donations and pledges the new campaign has already reached its goal and keeps growing.
I’m also very grateful for the support of many of the bands and artists featured in “And Justice For Art – Vol.2.” Many of them donated really cool stuff that has been offered as perks and motivated many people to donate/pledge. Without them, the campaign’s success would have not been possible.
I noticed that many of the perks are intended for an American audience. As a Canadian I was wondering the reason behind this? The high rate of international shipping I presume?
Well, the ridiculously expensive international shipping is definitely a factor. The rates for shipping a large, 3 lbs book like this outside USA oscillate between $36.50 and $48.80 depending of the country/territory. Also, you need to have in consideration that printing in small quantities a glossy 254 color book is quite expensive and then I have to bring them to USA from China. It’s a expensive operation. That’s why I decided to offer just a limited amount of books outside USA.
That said, if you live outside USA and really want the book, there are a few copies that you can still pledge via the crowdfunding campaign here…
They’re not cheap because it’s a high quality product and as I explained, the cost of manufacturing/shipping is monstrous. However, I believe that if you make the investment, you won’t be disappointed.
Lastly, when will be AND JUSTICE FOR ART Vol 2. I be available?
So far, the plan is to have the book available exclusively through the current crowdfunding campaign. If there are any copies left, they might be available later on. But it all the depends of the campaign’s results. Remember that the making of these books are not a business/profit-driven operation but I labor of love and I don’t make a single dollar from this project. My only goal is keep alive the stories behind all these graphics and especially to demonstrate many people unfamiliar with the Metal genre that there’s depth and meaning behind all these images, not just craziness as many believe. So, if you really interested in getting a copy, I would suggest you to act fast and pledge a copy now here:
“And Justice For Art – Vol.2” will rock your world!!
Click here to check out a video of the book!