Four real-life individuals--an arsonist, my father, a cartoonist, and a homeless friend--are interviewed in this experimental animation
THE PROJECT (IN A NUTSHELL) About two years ago, I started down a path of obsession that lead me to the idea of creating an animation that operates in the gray area between fiction and reality and experiments with assumptions about the perceived difference between the two. I sat down with four men who have each made a tremendous impact in my life and interviewed each of them on video. After receiving hours of their sincere and honest testimonies, I intentionally recontextualized their discussions to impose an apocalyptic undercurrent in which the four could be interpreted as prophets or evangelists speaking on behalf of a non-specified religion. We are now using the edited video as visual reference for a 12-minute animated short.
The final work will project as a seamless, continuous loop onto the walls of an entire room at Frey Norris Contemporary and Modern as part of my solo exhibition, "The Imagined Chase," next February, in its brand new expansive location in close vicinity to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
HOW YOUR PLEDGE IS USED Although the tools for animation become evermore sophisticated and available, it is incredibly labor-intensive and expensive. We need a minimum of $10,000 to complete the project. This allows me to pay animators a modest honorarium for their work as well as to fund the remaining software licenses we need. Among the tools and software we’re using is cutting-edge software that allows us to sync the original voice audio with the mouth movements of the 3D models. I am fortunate to be working with some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area, whose collective experience in commercial projects range from video games, animation, architecture, and medical visualizations.
WHO ARE "THE EVANGELISTS?" The idea for this project began after my previous apartment building was burned down by one of our fellow tenants from another unit. Suffering from severe emotional trauma, he lost the presence of mind to be aware of his neighbors and set fire to his photography studio, which quickly spread throughout the building. After a long period of jail, a mental institution, and rehabilitation, he was released. During this time, my curiosity compelled me to find him. After a year of considerable time and effort, I managed to discover his whereabouts and he was generous enough to volunteer for an interview.
Although the idea began with the singular event of the fire, it grew to include three other equally important individuals in my life. Just as my former neighbor had struggled with severe mental distress, I became aware that a homeless friend of mine was struggling with similar emotional conflicts. It was his emphatic sincerity and unusual story that ultimately pulled me in. A growing minority believes that the end of the world, or a monumental collective shift in human consciousness, is to take place at the end of 2012, and my friend is one such adherent. His numerous self-published books, youtube videos, and line of clothing warn and enlighten the uninitiated.
The third individual is the cartoonist Sam Kieth whose cult comic book series I grew up admiring. As a teenager I watched his animated series "The Maxx" on MTV at every opportunity. All of my art at the time imitated his, and his work provided endless inspiration to my own sense of storytelling and still does. It was an impossible twist of fate that, in my mid-twenties, he would contact me at home to work on a comic book with him, which would lead to one of my most important friendships. His views are often reflective of my own, and I began to edit his testimony to sneak my own fears and doubts into the video. It was a way to covertly reflect on my own anxiety about my role as content manipulator in this arcane project.
My father was the last of the four to be interviewed. I grew up as a Born-Again Christian in the rural American midwest, and continued to maintain my beliefs into my early twenties. Around the time of my parents’ divorce, I had introduced them to my church, which lead my father to be “born again,” as I had once been, while my own views were already beginning to deviate from those of the church. Our relationship began to suffer as a result, and now, about a decade later as we’ve repaired, I asked him to participate in the project, and he kindly accepted.
Now, with the video edited and finalized, I am teaming up with a group of 3D modelers and animators to bring the four evangelists into the 21st century. Working as a contemporary artist in the San Francisco Bay Area, most of my work is in painting, but I wanted to make the evangelists immortal, to give them eternal life in 360 degrees of virtual space. Just as the classical painters represented important historical religious figures through dramatic visualization, I wanted to do the same with the tools and technology of our own time. The 3D models also function to further transfigure the identities of the evangelists from everyday people into important quasi-historical religious prophets. As the four candidly discuss their own lives and inward struggles, the content editing and animation serves to project those struggles onto the perceived fate of the planet. We wonder whether historical mythology and scripture might have essentially functioned in the same way.
WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU PLEDGE When you make a pledge to the project, you have the opportunity to receive a DVD version, limited-edition prints, one-of-a-kind artworks, or even to be invited as a guest of honor on opening night at the after-show dinner celebration.
To your right, you'll find the list of incentives in accordance with the available contribution options. Starting at the $50-pledge level, you can select a print from the four Evangelist paintings I made last year. They are posted here:
Below is an example of original one-of-a-kind works using the Pfaugler printmaking technique, which is part of the $500 and over pledge levels. Please keep in mind that each one-of-a-kind work will be custom made for each $500-and-over pledge supporter. These images are just examples, and are not intended to demonstrate the actual works that I will be giving away.
On behalf of everyone involved in the project, thank you so much for your generous contribution. We literally cannot do this without your support.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Pledge $1 or moreYou selected
The minimum contribution gives you access to blog updates on the project's progress.
Pledge $5 or moreYou selected
Access to the blog updates, an invitation to my solo exhibition, "The Imagined Chase" at Frey Norris Gallery in San Francisco where the final four-channel video installation will debut, and one digital download of the completed home-viewing version of the animation.
Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
The blog updates, the invitation to the exhibition, the digital download, and a signed DVD packaged with printed artwork.
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
This is the "Collector's Package" reward! It includes the blog updates, the invitation to the exhibition, the digital download, the DVD, and a signed copy of the beautifully designed, full-color exhibition catalogue published by Frey Norris in conjunction with the show.
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
This is the "Deluxe Collector's Package" reward! It includes the blog updates, the invitation to the exhibition, the digital download, the DVD, a signed open-edition 8.5" x 11" print of your choice on high-quality fine art paper, from the series of four "Evangelist" paintings, and a special section in the exhibition catalogue reserved for your name in the list of honored contributors who generously helped to make this project a reality.
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
20 backers All gone!
Welcome to the "Honored Collector's Suite." Only 20 individuals will be able to say they personally experienced it! It includes the blog updates, the invitation to the exhibition, the digital download, the DVD, the special thanks in the catalogue, and not just ONE signed print, but the entire collection of all FOUR EVANGELISTS, signed and numbered. I will only print 20 complete sets of four.
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
5 backers Limited (15 left of 20)
Welcome to the "Gold Medalist's Throne," my friend. Are you ready? You get everything they do (one print though, not limited-edition set of four) and something no one else will ever have: A one-of-a-kind framed artwork made specifically for you. Using the Pfaugler printmaking technique, I will create a work based on one or more of the Evangelists.
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
4 backers Limited (2 left of 6)
You are a rare bird, a real "Cultured Patron of the Fine Arts." You get everything from the $500 level: the blog updates, the invitation to the exhibition, the digital download, the DVD, the special thanks in the catalogue, a print, a framed original artwork, and to top it all off? You're invited to the exhibition and the after-show dinner celebration as an acknowledged guest of honor, where I will present you with the original work and invite you for a personal tour of the exhibition at any time that is convenient for you.
Pledge $5,000 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)
There's nothing I can tell you that you don't already know. You know a good deal when you see one. You invented art patrons. What you get is everything the $1000 level gets, even the guest of honor status and gallery tour, but most importantly, you are only one of four people who will ever have the opportunity to own the final animated video installation, "The Evangelists" as it is intended to be shown. This includes all four projections as well as my help to make it display well in your particular space, be it at your home, business, or particular institution.
- (45 days)