Twelve Collaborative Projects Made in the Spirit of Commissions

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Surprising things happen when creators and their supporters make things together. 

Leading up to the launch of Commissions, our newest creative prompt, we’re highlighting twelve Kickstarter-funded creations that resulted from collaborations between creators and their backers. Take a look, then start working on your own Commissions project to launch this November.

Emily Grenader’s Giant Crowd Painting

Inspired by Renaissance painters, who often portrayed patrons in their work, artist Emily Grenader included the faces of her thirty-eight backers in this six-by-nine–foot painting.

John Kilduff’s Cat Portraits

For our Make 100 creative prompt in January, John Kilduff painted portraits of his backers’ cats, then created larger paintings of the cats grouped by their fur colors and patterns. For Projects of Earth he upped the ante, offering to portray any subject of his backers’ choosing in a frame-worthy oil painting.

Fahz’s Face Vases

In 2015, Fahz launched a project to render their backers’ profiles as 3D-printed vases. “Martha and I found ourselves transformed overnight into digital potters,” co-founder Nicholas Desbiens says. In the video below, they share every single vase they created for the campaign.

Jamie Tanner’s Illustrated Tweets

For his project Always On Brand, comics artist Jamie Tanner asked his backers to send in their favorite tweets for him to transform into comic strips. The result: surreal interpretations of their 140-character stories.

Emi Dyer Barker’s Acceptable Reasons to Cry in Public

In 2012, artist Emi Dyer found herself frequently crying “for various reasons and in various places” — gas stations, public benches, an auto-parts shop. So she and her best friend decided to make “a public spectacle of the public spectacle.” Together they wrote an essay about crying in public, printed it onto a poster, and teamed up with backers to post it in 1,400 public spaces around the U.S. See its journey at @ART_CryInPublic.

Electric Objects’ Commissioned Exhibition

In 2015, over 1,000 backers pledged $5 each — and answered a six-question survey — to help generate four new works of digital art for Electric Objects from artists Lauren McCarthy, Addie Wagenknecht, Casey Reas, and James George. The works were then debuted at a special backers-only gallery opening.

"Share the Sky" by Addie Wagenknecht
"Share the Sky" by Addie Wagenknecht


Susan McClellan’s Personalized Portraits

To sharpen her portrait-painting skills, Susan McClellan asked backers to send photos of themselves for her to recreate as oil paintings. Once she completed all of her backers’ portraits, she shot this video of the collected works in her studio:

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Don Moyer’s Friendly Creature Drawings

To remind people of “the value of diversity and the delight of friendships,” illustrator Don Moyer created customized portraits of his backers surrounded by monsters, aliens, and other out-of-this world creatures. Below, Kickstarter staffer Julio is portrayed surrounded by his new friends.

Ken Reynolds’s Custom Nesting Dolls

As a reward for supporting the first issue of his comic In Trouble, Ken Reynolds offered to draw his backers as nesting dolls: “You will be characterised as the biggest doll, and you get to choose what should be illustrated on the other two to symbolize what is inside of you.”

Vince Dorse’s Bigfoot Comics

Illustrator and cartoonist Vince Dorse drew his backers’ likenesses hanging out in the woods with the Bigfoot and Scout characters from his graphic novel, Untold Tales of Bigfoot.

Kim Boekbinder’s “Infinite” Album

Musician and twenty-two–time Kickstarter creator Kim Boekbinder incorporated words and phrases supplied by her backers into Infinite Minute, an album of nearly two hundred one-minute pop songs.

Katherine Pan's Fan Fiction

With her project Fan Fiction for You, our own Katherine Pan invited backers to pledge for personalized fanfic in the form of tweets and illustrated postcards.

Ready to start sketching a Commissions project of your own? Follow these guidelines to get started.

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