PhanArt Coloring Book Draws Phans Toward Charitable Cause

Need something to do with your hands while your favorite live Phish show blasts in the background? Sure, you’d rather be seeing them in person, grasping a fistful of glow sticks to launch into an animated crowd at just the right moment, but in lieu of that, why not throw some colored pencils on the table and get creative with the PhanArt coloring book.
The book is a collaboration between PhanArt founder and NYS Music co-owner Pete Mason and Artistic Director of HeadCount, Jamie Huntsman. The contents feature eight artistic submissions hand-crafted by a crew of devoted fans, with cover art designed by Huntsman. All proceeds go to the Mockingbird Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans. Their mission is to raise funds for music education, so future generations can continue to create inspiring sounds. Mason and Huntsman took a moment to answer some questions regarding the process of bringing this coloring book to life:
NYS Music: Are there any other underlying Phish themes tying the coloring pages together besides being inspired by the music of Phish?

Pete Mason: The theme of this first volume is animals. There are many animals mentioned throughout the Phish catalog (Sloth, Horse, Mockingbird, Spastic dead-eyed hound), and it became the basis for the inspired pages created by the artists.

Jamie Huntsman: We wanted a really loose theme for each volume of the coloring book. This one is Phish animals—the next [volume], not sure. We might do characters in songs (Wilson, Tela, etc.) or maybe closer to Halloween we could do a scary/evil Phish theme (They Attack! or Big Black Furry Creature from Mars).

NYSM: What were each of your roles in creating this coloring book?
PM: Jamie came to me with the idea last fall, and once we sorted out the logistics, I reached out to artists I had worked with in the past who I felt would contribute a page to the book.
NYSM: How many volumes do you expect to produce?
JH: I think as long as there’s interest both on the side of the artists willing to donate their art to this book and phans willing to purchase, we’ll produce.
NYSM: How often do you plan to release new volumes?
JH: At least twice a year. This is a volunteer project, so whatever we have time for and interest in. And the more Phish tours, the more we will produce.
NYSM: Were you pulling from a small pool of submissions or purposefully kept the first volume short and sweet?
PM: We kept the first volume at this length based on initial responses from artists, and gaining eight pages, plus the cover (designed by Jamie), it was a good start to get the ball rolling on this new piece of PhanArt.

NYSM: Did artists have to follow any particular guidelines for their submissions?

PM: Simply to design something that was unique and featured an animal from Phish lore. We kept a list going of what was spoken for so we didn’t get repeats of the same animal.
JH: We also didn’t want to include any infringing work, so, artists needed to keep their work within PhanArt guidelines—no logos or copyrighted names/images.
NYSM: Have the two of you collaborated in the past?
PM: YES! Jamie is featured in the book PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish, with her posters spanning from the late ’90s through 2004.
JH: HA! Has it been that long? Oh my. Yeah, Pete has really established himself as an authority in the Phish community, so, when I had this idea it was natural for me to go to him for execution.
The coloring book can be purchased for $5 here. It is offered as an instant download, so it’ll be ready for your eager artistic scribbling way before the end of that extended “Tweezer” jam.