Meet Kickstarter’s 2019 Thought Leaders
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Thought Leaders are an international group of Kickstarter creators who are celebrated as leaders in their fields.
In 2017, Kickstarter introduced our first Thought Leaders, an international group of Kickstarter creators and advocates selected for their wisdom, experience, and contributions to the creative community.
Since then, Thought Leaders have teamed up with their communities to lead events and launch groundbreaking projects. Here are just a few of the things they accomplished:
- Oscar Lhermitte teamed up with us to launch Quickstarter, an evergreen initiative inviting creators to launch small projects on Kickstarter
- C. Spike Trotman led a discussion at New York ComicCon called “Advanced Kickstarter Skills”
- Craighton Berman hosted a Kickstarter Project Jam with creators in Minneapolis, MN, and created a zine to help creators through the process of launching a small-batch product on Kickstarter
- Hope Nicholson led a conversation at San Diego ComicCon called "Kickstart Your Comic Like a Pro"
We're proud to welcome 13 new creators to the Thought Leaders program in 2019:
Ema Ryan Yamazaki (Japan/UK) is a documentary filmmaker and video editor. She has directed two documentary shorts, Neither Here Nor There (2011) and Monk by Blood (2013), as well as the Kickstarter-funded documentary feature, Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George's Creators (2017). As an editor, Ema’s work has screened on HBO and PBS, at the Sundance, Toronto, and Telluride Film Festivals, and at the Director's Guild of America, among others.
Héctor Pérez Bejarano (Mexico) is the founder of Enigma Cards, a playing card company “with a passion for cardistry and magic” and a two-time Kickstarter creator.
Hugo Hoppmann (Germany/U.S.) is a designer and art director working between Berlin and New York City for clients including Nike, 032c, Prada, and District Vision. He has spoken at Apple and Yale University and is currently working on publishing the Kickstarter-funded Present magazine, an exploration into work and life methodologies.
Indhira Rojas (U.S.) is the founder and creative director of Anxy, a Kickstarter-funded magazine about mental health. For over a decade she has worked in the intersection of branding, editorial, and interaction design for publications including The Bold Italic, Once, Modern Farmer, Atlas Obscura, and Medium. She also leads Anagraph, a publishing and design consultancy in Berkeley, CA.
John Kestner (U.S.) is an industrial designer, engineer, and entrepreneur based in Austin, TX. He likes building tools to help people solve their own problems, but the most press he’s ever received was in regards to a wallet he made that gets harder to open when you’re broke. He’s also the four-time Kickstarter creator of projects like Range, a smart cooking thermometer.
Matthieu Salvaggio (France) is an art director, graphic designer, and typeface designer. He’s the founder of Blaze Type and teaches graphic design in Lyon, France. He’s also successfully funded two Kickstarter campaigns focused on typography, and inspired 20 new campaigns as part of Kickstarter’s Bold Type initiative.
Miranda Wright (U.S.) is an independent producer and performance curator who has produced collaborated projects in Cuba, Uganda, Rwanda, and the Czech Republic. Through Kickstarter-funded projects with Los Angeles Performance Practice, Miranda has worked with several leading artists in contemporary performance from L.A. and New York including Milka Djordjevich, d. Sabela grimes, Lars Jan, Okwui Okpokwasili, Andrew Schneider, Marike Splint, and Netta Yerushalmy.
Moo Yu (UK) is the co-founder and programmer of Foam Sword, a London-based game studio working on Knights and Bikes, which raised £125,000 on Kickstarter in 2016. Before starting his own studio, he worked at Media Molecule on LittleBigPlanet, Insomniac Games on the Ratchet and Clank Series, and Mind Candy on Moshi Monsters. He is currently serving as a member of the BAFTA Games Committee and was recently featured as part of Ensemble, a London Games Festival exhibition highlighting the work of games industry creatives from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Nancy Borowick (U.S./Guam) is an internationally renowned photographer, author, teacher and speaker. She delivers more than 50 speeches each year at universities, hospitals, oncology units and community groups around the world. Over the past decade, Nancy has used photography to tell personal stories about illness using compassion, humility, and trust as tools to connect with and explore the lives of her subjects. Nancy funded The Family Imprint, an intimate photobook about her family, on Kickstarter (you can hear her story on the first episode of Kickstarter’s Just the Beginning podcast).
Sean J Patrick Carney (U.S.) is an artist and writer whose work and research focus on the relationship between contemporary art and comedy. He is a former Kickstarter Creator-in-Residence, founder of Social Malpractice Publishing, an independent artist book press, and the host of Humor and the Abject, a weekly interview podcast. He was previously a member of New York artist collective The Bruce High Quality Foundation, and co-directed their tuition-free experimental art school, BHQFU.
Shing Yin Khor (U.S.) is a cartoonist and installation artist whose work explores the intersection between race, gender, immigrant stories, and queerness. She has run five successful Kickstarter campaigns, including her most recent, Strange Friends, a postcard book featuring strange and wonderful creatures from unknown parts. You can find her work in The Toast, Catapult, The Nib, Electric Literature, Upworthy, and Bitch magazine.
Thomas Negovan (U.S.) is the founder of Century Guild, a museum, publisher, and gallery specializing in Art Nouveau and cabaret art from 1880—1920. He has launched 40 Kickstarter campaigns, and backed more than 230 projects. His debut solo album, By Popular Demand, includes original songs recorded without the use of electricity on an early 20th century wax cylinder recorder designed by Thomas Edison.
Zainab Akhtar (UK) is an Eisner and Angouleme-award nominated comics critic, editor, and publisher. Based in the north of England, she founded and runs ShortBox, an independent comics imprint which uses the mail-order box model to publish and distribute contemporary comics and art from around the world.
How will Thought Leaders support the Kickstarter community?
As public figures, Thought Leaders are a resource to Kickstarter’s creator community at large. By hosting talks and events, they will share their expertise and advice on how to use Kickstarter to launch new creative ideas, build communities, and take creative careers to the next level. We endorse them as advocates and encourage members of our community to attend their events and trust their advice.
In addition to leading community events, Thought Leaders will work with Kickstarter to develop helpful educational resources and give crucial feedback on new product updates and features.
Keep tabs on the 2019 Kickstarter Thought Leaders and their events by following Kickstarter on Twitter and Instagram. Learn more about the Thought Leaders program here.