How Fig Tree Creative Artistry came about
by Diane Miller
I was doing research on the Internet in late June 2012 when I came upon
a beautifully drawn portrait of Ron Ely. I emailed the artist, Uwe
Reber, and asked him if it was for sale. It was not, as it was in his personal
collection and his friend Thomas Yeates, whose website he manages, was
taking it to ComicCon in San Diego to ask Ron Ely to autograph it. But
he offered to draw another Ron Ely portrait for me.
My vocation was journalism -- at the time I was a copy editor at a newspaper
-- but I long have been interested in art. I recognized Uwe's talent
immediately and realized there would be a market for his artwork among
collectors in the United States. I was impressed with the breadth of Uwe's
Uwe has been a big fan of Tarzan since childhood. In fact, he
was working on a portrait of Edgar Rice Burroughs when I contacted him.
I was planning to attend my first Dum-Dum, in California, in six weeks,
and I knew there would be a demand for Uwe's art. So I went to a
bookstore and looked for information on becoming an art agent.
I asked Ron Ely if he would permit us to sell a limited-edition autographed
print, and he readily agreed. In fact, Ron said that Uwe's portrait
of him was the best he had ever seen.
Diane Miller with Two Tarzans
~ Uwe's portraits of Denny and Ron at convention display
Then I approached Uwe about representing him exclusively in the United
States. He agreed. I found a high-quality art printer, legally established
Fig Tree Creative Artistry, and made similar agreements with Denny
Miller and Edgar Rice
Burroughs Inc. to sell limited-edition prints. Brian Bohnett
designed a logo for Fig Tree. I solicited input from art experts,
launched a Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/FigtreeCA,
and Uwe created a website, www.uwereber.com
to showcase his art. On June 24, 2012, I had never heard of an art agent.
Within a month, I was one. And, I have been told, the only one between
Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Weeks later, I was off to California
to sell art for the first time.
Although original art did not arrive from Germany in time for the 2012
Dum-Dum, Uwe's prints were well-received. We quickly sold prints
to collectors throughout the United States and in France and the Netherlands.
In 2013, Uwe Reber and Fig Tree Creative Artistry released a limited-edition
print of Johnny Weissmuller, with permission from his estate, for the Dum-Dum
in Louisville, Ky. In addition, Uwe added original portraits of Taylor
Kitsch (John Carter), Gordon
Scott and Lex Barker to his portfolio.
"It's a great thing for me to see my Tarzan art officially published
and get good response from fans and collectors and the Tarzan actors, too,"
Uwe also draws portraits of film stars, musicians and science fiction
characters and takes commissions. He recently expanded into the baseball
world, with oil pastel portraits of Phillies stars Cole Hamels and Chase
Utley. Uwe donated a portrait for a charity auction by The Hamels Foundation.
Uwe uses mixed media for his drawings and recently has started using
oil pastels extensively. These are larger, vibrant works, and Uwe
is looking forward to using the medium to expand his portfolio of ERB subjects.