A Gay Ol' Time will be an approximately 110 page anthology of 48 portraits of LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit Americans born in the 1800s, with accompanying short biographical quatrains. It aims to shed a little more light on these people history tends to forget, memorialize them in watercolor portraits, and invite its readers to research them further.
Who are you?
My name is Kiernan Sjursen-Lien, and I'm an agender animation artist who is better known for my animations and illustrations. I study at CalArts for character animation, have interned on Disney Television Animation's show Wander Over Yonder, and have done lots of visual development, story, design, illustration and animation work for smaller studios across the world.
Why make this book?
I have had a passion for American history since I was a kid growing up in a historic mining town in California. However, I also find history can be exhausting, thanks to the fact the history that is popularly taught is that written by whoever was in power at the time- and completely ignores the stories of so many others. This is why we don't hear about many awesome people of American history who are not white and (cisgender) male, or deviate from roles dictated by those white males. Those who we do hear about are often demonized or not named at all.
With this in mind, I wanted to create something about some of these people who are not mentioned in the history books, since it can be so comforting for the LGBTQIA+ community (including myself) to know that we've always existed- even in extremely repressive times.
Okay, but why quatrains?
Because of the fact history is written by those in power, it can be very difficult to find information on minorities that is not skewed. Much information on people's sexual and romantic orientations is somewhat controversial because of this lack of information. Keeping this in mind, I wanted to be as true as I could to each person without danger of misinformation. Utilizing quatrains not only adds to a simple charm I wanted for this little book, but also allows things to be boiled down to simple, provable facts with multiple sources to cite. I also hope this form will be an invitation for further research by those who might be looking for some interesting and inspiring historical figures.
Where will the funds go?
Basically all the money is going straight into getting the books printed and shipped! This is for a 150 book initial run- any stretch rewards will just go into getting more books printed and sent to backers who pledge $25 or more!
What will the final book look like?
I have not yet created the final cover to the book, or the final title- but here's a nifty sketch to give you a rough idea of what the final hardcovers will look like from the front:
You can see some examples of what the completed spreads will look like above, just imagine 46 more of them, some of those portraits including more than one person.
Of course! You want STUFF! Well lucky for you, this project is all about you getting stuff.
Pledge $10 or more and you'll be getting a high res PDF of the final book.
For $25, you'll be getting the book itself! Nice! You'll get the PDF too!
For $35, I'll sign your book and include a little original sketch within the book. You'll also get a PDF!
For those backers feeling extra generous, $125 will snag you one of the 5x5 inch watercolor originals from the book (on 6x6 paper)! There are 48- and you'll get to choose from whatever is left on a first-come first-served basis. The colors might be a little different from the printed versions in the book, so I'll send out a PDF of the raw images closer to the original colors for you to choose which one you would like. You'll also be getting that signed hardcover copy and the PDF, and your name will be included in the special thanks section of the book.
Pledge $200, and I'll draw whatever you'd like in the same style of the portraits of the book. It could be another historical figure not included here, or a portrait of yourself, or your cat, or an original character- whatever you want! You'll also be receiving that signed hardcover copy and the PDF as well! And, of course, you'll be getting special thanks in the book. :)
Thank you so much for your contribution, and have a wonderful day!
Risks and challenges
Thanks to the fact so much of the history of these Americans has been erased or badly reported over time, the possibility of misinformation is high. Keeping this in mind, I am finding multiple sources of information on every subject included within this book, even just for these little quatrains. It is very important to me that these people are remembered in a way they may not have been able to have been in their time. I am taking utmost care to treat their histories very seriously and try to find every source I can- be it from their own mouth, in letters from their loved ones, to the scandalizing news articles, and to reconstruct these into a fair and simple account of their lives.
In the case of a failure at funding this project, I will still be releasing a digital version of the book and releasing a much more limited hard copy run (since it will have to be from my own pocket initially).
I have already discussed the project with an independent book printer and self-publishing house, and they have ensured me that they will be very timely with the turnaround of the books. This coupled with the fact that the book is already about a third complete should absolutely ensure the timely delivery of all the books should the project be successfully funded. In the case of any delay I have added about an extra month to the schedule of completion- so the books will not be late and will be mailed out by July of 2016 as promised.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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