By Arnie Fenner: Publisher, entrepreneur, and showman Robert “Bob” Self died as the result of an accident at Mono Lake in California August 3, 2022.
Bob had a background in the entertainment industry and worked behind-the-scenes with a number of magicians, comedians, and illusionists. In 2003 he and his wife Rani—a professional costume designer for various TV series including The Orville—formed Baby Tattoo, Inc., a company that published high-quality books devoted to contemporary artists and also organized intimate live events that connected artists and entertainers with fans and patrons including Baby Tattooville (the first artist-focused convention) and Beyond Brookledge of which the LA Weekly said, “The best way to describe Beyond Brookledge is that it’s as if somebody fit the L.A. Opera and Burning Man into the Magic Castle and then had a three-day slumber party.”
Bob curated a number of exhibitions at the Riverside Art Museum and the Oceanside Museum of Art, including shows devoted to the work of Oliva De Berardinis and Jordu Schell and a major retrospective of Michael Whelan, “Beyond Science Fiction”, and produced books chronicling both. Bob was a founder of the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live! convention and helped make the Spectrum Awards ceremonies lively, unique, and memorable; he and Orbit Books Creative Director Lauren Panepinto co-hosted the gala for Spectrum 26 in Kansas City and Bob had arranged for the ceremony for #27 at the original Magic Castle in Los Angeles.
Bob Self was quite literally bigger than life, a huge personality, both inimitable and ultimately unforgettable; he delighted in all manner of art and artists and he was an enthusiastic cheerleader for the entire creative community. He is survived by his wife Rani and children Margaret and William, and a legion of friends and admirers.