The route to recognition for a fine artist can be initiated from the most basic of observations. When Brett Amory ended a lifelong passion for skateboarding and committed to studying art, he found his inspiration among the typical – passengers commuting around San Francisco Bay.  “I just noticed there is this disconnect with the commuters. The train would be packed with people and they weren’t interacting or even looking at each other” Amory said in a recent interview. This observation about the loneliness of people going through modern life started a fifteen-year artistic journey where Amory photographed, recorded, and then painted scenes of individuals as expressively disinterested in the world around them. Titled, “Waiting,” and featuring depictions from San Francisco to London and New York, Amory’s series has drawn a large following and critical appraisal.

Like other artists who achieve both popularity and recognition in the art world, Amory’s collected works will soon be made available in a coffee table book format. Bundled with essays from various individuals such as Gwynn Vitello and Michael Cuffe, the book released on April 30th, 2015 and will be followed by a launch party at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco on May 6. However, while the release of Brett Amory’s work in a literature format seems like a normal development at this stage of his career, it’s his choice of publisher Vivant Books that makes this release interesting.


Founded by Becky and Mia Benenate in 2009, Vivant Books has steadily expanded its position in the art and science publishing world. In addition to Brett Amory, Vivant Books counts among its roster artists like David Le Betard, Gottfried Helnwein, and Kimberly Brooks. Through targeting artists that possess both large followings on social media and strong art gallery representation, Vivant has successfully captured fertile markets for its project to create enthusiasm for coffee table format releases.

So it makes sense that they would sign Brett Amory, whose popularity stems in part from his social media presence. But what makes Vivant Books a good fit for Amory or any of the other artists they managed to partner with? After all, transitioning work from the easel to the page is nothing new. Other big book publishers like Taschen have produced quality art compilations for years.


For Becky and Mia Benenate, their vision is to produce coffee table books that don’t just reflect their artist’s work but are vehicles for extending their art into a new medium. Vivant Books manages this by teaming up the artist with a specialized design staff to coordinate the creative representation of the book itself, and any products and merchandise surrounding the release.

The most intriguing aspect of this project to extend art into literature is the limited edition version of these books. Each limited edition contains an original piece of art crafted exclusively for that individual release by the artist. According to Mia Benenate, original pieces from the artists they feature usually cost anywhere from $3,000 to $100,000 but by incorporating a smaller custom work into their compilations they can make owning actual art an affordable prospect for a new class of fans.


As the art world expands with increasing interest due to the dissemination of visual information across the globe through social media, new spaces have emerged for the creation and consumption of traditional art. Brett Amory’s work captures ordinary individuals engaged in mundane activities surrounded by a complicated reality and elevates them to artistic worth. Vivant Books retools a mass published format by adding unique components without sacrificing its broad appeal. Their partnership underlies a mutual quest to explore ordinary experiences and spaces and has resulted in an innovative merger which trends with the increasing democratization brought about by the global marketplace.

– written David Moore for Warholian

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