Often Overlooked started as artist Cary Polkovitz's internet "flight of fancy." His very short stories became a popular online project, and eventually a book.
Polkovitz takes photos of "random items, usually something mundane," he says, "and then I tell a little story about it." As of tomorrow, his fictional tales -- no less than 20 and no more than 300 words -- will be available for purchase at his first signing.
The West Palm Beach resident was initially inspired by an encounter with a red fire hydrant. "He looked so happy, with his arms out, and his big nose sticking out at me," Polkovitz remembers. It put him in a great mood, so he posted it with some text on Facebook, and he says, "the response was remarkable."
While he thought putting his photos and stories on the web was just for fun, others encouraged him to publish it. A successful Kickstarter campaign later, and they got their wish.
A writer, he confides, "I never would have pegged myself as. I accidentally wrote a book." But admits, "I've been a voracious reader most of my life. I love storytelling." He sees all mediums as doing the same thing: telling stories.
A Pratt-educated illustrator and cartoonist, Polkovitz came to West Palm as an adult, broke and without many local friends. He's older than the rest of those in the scene, and it took him a minute to find his place here. But then he started going to some DIY shows, and found folks eager to include him and his work.
"The scene is surprisingly active," Polkovitz says. "The community is wonderful and supportive up here," totally different, he says, than Boca or Palm Beach galleries. "It's fun and not politicy."
Two of his greatest advocates are Amanda and JR Linton -- the minds behind Stitch Rock, slushbox.com, and the owners of Ink and Pistons. It's at their tattoo parlor that the signing is being held. Polkovitz reveals he has a few tattoos himself. "Horribly," he says, "most of them have to do with artwork I've done". A bird skull on his forearm reminds him of his first fine art sale, which included, just that, a bird's skull.
Polkovitz's musical tastes include just about everything but gangsta rap; specifically, he enjoys St. Vincent and Andrew Bird. He told us his first concert was Peter Gabriel, "You hold your breath listening to him." Ever the storyteller, the artist relays that it was an overcast night. "He starts singing 'In Your Eyes.' He comes to crescendo, and the moon came out. I was thinking, 'you, my friend, are god.'
"It was one of those wonderful concert moments, and it was my first concert." You'd think it'd be all downhill after that, but Polkovitz is one of those people that can find the tale in everything from a "god" to a little red fire hydrant.
Often Overlooked is published by Xlibris. The book signing and solo art show start at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 6, at Ink and Pistons, 2716 South Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach. "Like" his Facebook page Often Overlooked.