Today's featured creator is Erin Wilson, a New Orleans-based artist, graphic novelist, and unflinchingly honest observer of life. Snowbird will be her account of a winter spent within a tightly knit artist's community in the bayou, unraveling her friendships, hardships, lessons learned, and total joy achieved. True to form, she answered our questions in comic book form. Consider us sincerely charmed!
What inspired you to transform the real life experiences you had in New Orleans into comic form?
Were there any particular experiences that were difficult to turn into comic book panels? What was it like working it out?
Do your friends ever have funny reactions to seeing their graphic novel selves?
What do you hope people will take away from reading your story?
What has it been like running a Kickstarter project? Any notable experiences with backers? Or surprises?
Every week, we round up some of the stories about our projects that made the press. We're happy to see them out there in the real world, and excited to share their progress with you! Read on.
Thomas Ricker of The Vergewrote a thoughtful, well-researched piece entitled "Kickstarted: How one company is revolutionizing product development," in which he looks at the successes of some of 2011's most successful product design projects, including LunaTik Touch Pen, Cosmonaut, Red Pop, GoPano and Revolights. "The million dollar idea. We’ve all had it at one time or another, with very few luxuries to show for our sudden fits of brilliance. Unfortunately, it’s not the idea but its execution that yields rewards. Faced with the daunting prospect of applying for a bank loan or seeking private investors, most would-be inventors wither against the obstacles, shrinking into the comfort and stability of their nine-to-five lives and disappearing into what T. S. Eliot called the shadow between conception and creation. Never pursuing their passion. Never taking a risk to bring something new into this world. Enter Kickstarter, a thoroughly modern twist on the concepts of commerce and patronage; an approach so alluring that it now counts over one million people who have combined to pledge more than $100 million to fund ideas both big and small, serious and whimsical, since it launched in April of 2009."
In a feature story on Kickstarter, Brian Williams of NBC's "Rock Center" said "The rule this time of year is pretty simple. It's better to give than receive. One of the big game-changing ideas on the web right now offers people the opportunity to do both. Like a lot of online success stories. It comes down to something pretty simple. Folks with big ideas but not a lot of money connect with people willing to fund them for everything from documentary films to new technology. The leading site in this area is called Kickstarter." The segment went on to interview Scott Wilson, Colin Hanks and Dr. Jennifer Calkins about the successes they had getting their ideas off the ground using Kickstarter.
Rebecca Rosen of The Atlanticpublished a piece called "12 Awesome Kickstarter Projects You Should Give to for the Holidays" noting: "Projects run the gamut, from photographers who are documenting life without electricity around the world to a new-and-improved contact-lens case. The sheer quantity of great ideas can make it hard to narrow down where you should donate." Among the projects she highlights: Improv Everywhere Film, Slotto, Baltimore Brew, Mountain Dance Trail, and Approaching the Elephant.
David Drake and Jeff Weiss of Pitchforkwrote up the self-released When Pigs Fly by A.Dd+ in a post exploring their "favorite underrated rap releases of the year." They said "The rap-duo ideal has always been modeled on yin and yang. Complimentary opposites. Q-Tip, the Abstract and the Phife, the Five-Footer. The Pimp and the Bun. On their focused debut, Dallas' Paris Pershun and Slim Gravy of A.Dd+ are the rapper and the poet, the spawn of UGK and OutKast, combining street and cerebral."
Christopher Weingarten of SPINadded Kickstarter funded Indie Cred Test to the mag's "10 Best Music Books of 2011" saying "Pointlessly insular and gut-bustingly hilarious, sacred-cow slaughterhouse Chunklet magazine compiled thousands of takedowns into this 192-page opus of pure passion and bile."
Dan Schoenbrun of Filmmaker Magazinefeatured narrative film projectWelcome to Pine Hill, which is trying to make its way to the Slamdance Film Festival next month (congrats to our own Elisabeth Holm for role producing the film!): "On the heels of this week’s Slamdance lineup announcement, Welcome to Pine Hill, one of the films premiering in competition, has launched a new Kickstarter campaign. A verite, doc-narrative blend (and an alum of the 2011 IFP Narrative Labs), Pine Hill follows Shannon Harper, a former drug dealer who reexamines his past after receiving some life-altering news."
Every Monday, Kickstarter staff collect a few of our favorite, recently launched projects to share with the masses (we can't help it — we get excited!). You can check out our choices this week, below, but make sure to stop by our Discover page to find even more. So many good projects, so little time!
Have you ever wanted to leave everything behind and become a modern day nomad? It's a feeling I'm sure most of us have had at one time or another, but to actually drop everything and go is a whole other situation. Passing Through Traveling Down tells the story of a group of young train hoppers out to find their own way through America. Squatting, sleeping in fields, and trying to find yourself amongst swarms of helpless others is what makes this film, which seemingly blends the lines between documentary and cinema vérité, so interesting. That, and the whole, leave your life behind to sleep in train cars and discover America aspect. Dharma bums of the 21st century. — Mike M.
Ten-person ensemble Loom blurs the lines between theater, dance, and concert performance by weaving together full-body movement, vocal harmonies, and text-based storytelling into their works. For their upcoming piece, all their actors, singers, and dancers will be training in capoeira, contact improvisation, modern dance, and ballet. All this to tell the story of a mid-level office exec and homeless woman who begin selling dirt on the street together and call it Love. Pretty curious to see where the capoeira comes in! —Daniella J.
I was first turned on Vieo's work when I stumbled cross this amazing video of him, in which he builds an entire song by circling a room and playing all number of impossibly complex and fascinating instruments. Boy has got talent. His Kickstarter will help him put out his latest album with some pretty nifty perks: a twenty minute DVD of short films directed by Pete Munro and scored by the musician, plus a special booklet of his art and original poetry. Basically, a complete view of a hugely compelling creative mind. Yes.
Dabke is an experimental dance piece exploring the human connection to land and how it informs our sense of national identity. Created and performed by a wildly talented crew, these guys will be using every component of theatrical production to push the conceptual limits of their idea — from a composition infusing minimal electronic beats with traditional Dabke rhythms to a lighting design that creates shadowy, evident "territories" on the actual stage. The project video, murky and unsettling as it is, only further intrigues. This is a piece I'd love to see!
Hanafuda cards are Japanese playing cards that can be used to play a variety of games all over the world! In addition to their extraordinary versatility, they are notably — well — beautiful. Each deck contains 48 cards broken down into 12 suites representing a month in the calendar year, and then given a symbolic flower. (Hanafuda means "flower.") Sarah's designs are so classic and pretty, I'd love to play Koi Koi with them the next time I'm killing a few hours in an airport.
Fourth Arts Block is the only designated cultural district in Manhattan. It's an amazing creative hub running the length of E. 4th Street in the East Village — one which I only recently discovered after seeing a handful of different plans and poetry contests there over the course of a random week, and wondering outloud how all this amazing stuff was happening in a single block radius. (The people standing ahead of me in line informed me. Loudly.) Now I'm so glad I know about it. ArtUp is a program they run that works to transform abandoned urban spaces into street-side galleries. Old construction sites, scaffolding, vacant spots... everything is a medium for artistic expression just waiting to happen! I'd love to see this grow.