Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Over the Top

Preparing the rewards to send to the Art Mysteries Kickstarter sponsors.

It took almost the whole 30 days but the Art Mysteries Kickstarter succeeded.  It took much more emotional toll than I imagined.  It took more PR than I'm usually comfortable with. It took over 80 wonderful sponsors believing in the value of the project.

The project is a series of collaborative comics in which Susan Shulman, Ria Vanden Eynde and I explore the mysteries, controversies and hi-jinks of the contemporary art world.

But before we move into high gear assembling the artwork that will make up our 6th issue, I'm pouring over Excel spreadsheets making sure that the rewards we promised are out the door and in the mail to those sponsors.  Best of all many of those people will receive the next four of our limited edition comics.

For those unfamiliar with Kickstarter (we found many more than we imagined), it is a funding platform for creative projects.  It is geared to fund specific projects involving film, games, music, art, design and technology.  Since it launched in 2009 over 36,000 projects have been funded by the broad based crowd sourcing that forms this model of funding.

Only about 44% of projects that are launched reach their funding goals and the Kickstarter model makes it an all or nothing funding.  Either you get enough commitments to complete your project or you go back to the drawing board.

Backers ultimately decide if you have a worthy project and whether they have confidence that you can accomplish your goals.  Plus, we sincerely believe that backing Art Mysteries amounts to more than a handout.
Our backers believe in our ability to make a positive contribution to that subset of the art world that includes artists publications, zines and graphic novels.

William Evertson and Susan Shulman in a panel detail from Issue #6 - due out late March, 2013

How does it compare to our usual method of competing for funds from traditional art granting sources? I think we found that despite the initial discomfort of making personal pitches to our friends, colleagues and complete strangers, that we were ultimately very pleasantly surprised that so many people have confidence in our vision.

Although competing in the shrinking arena of foundation funding has certainly provided a wonderful stack of rejection letters to keep warm with.

Now that the Kickstarter has come to an end you can still support this particular Kali Collective project by buying single issues from our website at seekingkali.com.

Each issue features many fine under-represented artists, art criticism and liberal doses of satire as we explore what it takes to make it in Artworld.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It's a Dance

Imagine You - ©William Evertson (woodcut 14" x 20")

I muse about this as I'm printing my latest series. I can only think this because recently I've been taking ballroom dance lessons.  A peculiar hobby to take up for someone as uncoordinated as myself.  Yet twice a week for the last several months I've been dragging my wife to a dance studio because I have this nagging suspicion that I need more dance in my art.

In my studio I'm brushing water on the woodblock, priming it.  Soon I'll be charging it with the pigment  and paste.  The paper, a fine and expensive Japanese washi, lies in its damp pack bed achieving a proper moisture level that I know I'll recognize not from some instrument but by feel as I pick it up and observe the softness of its drape.

I think about the dance. I'd like to have some of the fluidity of my youth back but I'll make do with the repetition of movements until they become less stiff at least.  I need to forget the steps and remember the steps all at once.

There is a fish, a giant carp leaping from a wave and speaking to me as I climb a mountain. He seems improbable yet natural and he becomes the muse for this print.  The idea is set and all that remains is creating the steps.  The drawing, the transfer to the block and the carving.  Some parts practiced, some without thought and some done from a hard won mastery learned only from a life time of mistakes and trial.

Carving the transfer

I look at the other dancers in the studio.  They've been here much longer, they flow and glide; I still think, think, think. Where are my feet, where is my torso, where is the beat and I despair that I will not find them.  I am the fish out of water as I learn to free myself to dance.

Charging the block with pigment.

The pigments are mixed, the paste is prepared, the paper is soft.  The brushes are prepared and ready; all little maru bakes whose bristles I still remember carefully splitting by rubbing each for an hour over sharkskin.  All in preparation for another dance session with my woodblocks.

I'm starting to get the slow dances.  In the waltz there's enough space in the rhythms to forget and remember and yet move.  The progress is slow; but then it always is.  Back in my studio I'm in control again.

Making the impression.

I charge the blocks with their pigments and press the backs of soft paper with the baren.  I lift a corner and make an adjustment.  I begin the second and third color and dance the papers around the studio.

Checking the image.

I think it's working.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I'm Not Waving, I'm Drowning

Two weeks ago I posted about being a Kickstarter virgin. Now I've come full circle to being a full fledged beggar. We're two weeks in and not quite one quarter funded on the all or nothing funding platform of Kickstarter.   I can only conclude that Susan Shulman, Ria Vanden Eynde and I are on a self fulfilling prophecy as we lay it out in our Art Mysteries comic.

Or maybe not.  The Art Mysteries series of comics is a satirical look at life in the trenches of making art and getting it shown.  Share the frustrations of endless rounds of grant application, presentations to galleries, promotion, dead end second and third jobs to make ends meet while producing art.

Plus along the way meet a great cast of artists appearing in cameo roles as we get to the bottom of those mysteries of success in Artworld.

The comic is based in the real world of art from the lofty battles for riches at Soethbys to grumpy old misogynist artists (Georg Baselitz, I think we'll be seeing you in the next issue!)

Panel detail for issue #6 - due out mid March - (William and Susan hitching a ride to their residency)

Why not take a moment to take a look at our Kickstarter project?  Subscriptions and other great rewards are yours and in return you help us defray some of the cost of printing and distributing these limited edition comics.

How else will you find out what happens after Belgian artist 
Ria Vanden Eynde got sucked into Dante's Divine Comedy?

Thanks all you folks who have pitched in so far...we love you!