Bob Self (1966-2022)

Publisher, entrepreneur, and showman Robert “Bob” Self, 55, died August 3, 2022, as the result of an accident at Mono Lake in California.

Born August 5, 1966, 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 along with a major retrospective of Michael Whelan, “Beyond Science Fiction”; he published beautiful 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 organized and served as ringmaster for Spectrum #25’s awards event at the original Magic Castle in Los Angeles (during which his friend Paul Reubens AKA Pee-wee Herman popped in to see how Bob was doing). When Orbit Books creative director (and Muddy’s own) Lauren Panepinto and Bob co-hosted the gala for Spectrum 26 in Kansas City at the historic Folly Theater they had the audience laughing and clapping and — without exaggeration — eating out of their hands.

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.

—Arnie Fenner

3 thoughts on “Bob Self (1966-2022)

  • August 22, 2022 at 3:05 pm

    I went to jr/high school with Robert. I met him at the snack bar, where he was juggling 3 balls while on a bongo board and discussing philosophy or physics. Very interesting fellow, even at about 14 yrs old. Wish I had paid more attention to that guy; we might have been friends. Find more like him, or find him in others, and pay attention. Aloha

  • August 31, 2022 at 3:46 pm

    A maverick and mad man! Cheers to a life well lived Bob!
    Condolences to Rani, Margaret and William, you are held in my heart.

  • August 31, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    I knew Bob, I worked with Bob, I was inspired by Bob. Toured with Bob and the Rudy Coby Show from Detroit, where he met Rani, to Monaco to London to Dick Clark and Fox. Bob was a dynamo who worked both sides of the creative process from concept to creation to materialization. Bob was a superhero.


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