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With your help I will hike to and draw every glacier in Montana.
The First Season of the Glacier Drawing Project.
The First Season of the Glacier Drawing Project.
129 backers pledged $7,105 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Glacier Drawing Project

$7,105

129

I am going to hike to all of Montana's glaciers to draw, bear witness and create a comprehensive record of these extraordinary features before it is too late. As an artist and wilderness advocate, it is a project I am tremendously excited about, and one I find aesthetically rich, meaningful and culturally worthwhile.

I recently asked author and naturalist, Doug Peacock, what a young artist could do to continue the important artist-advocate work of people like himself, Terry Tempest Williams and Gary Snyder. His response was to “go bear witness in your own backyard, because you know it better than anyone else.” This response set me out in search of a subject in my home state of Montana.

According to this list on Wikipedia and the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), there are 60 named glaciers in Montana. Although many of these perennial snow and ice features have "glacier" in their name, due to the changing climate many of them have already ceased being glaciers - which mostly means they do not move. I am going to draw them all anyway.

The Plan

This campaign is for the summer 2014 season of glacier drawings. I plan to hike to and draw around 15 to 20 glaciers this summer, depending on what weather, time and the success of this campaign allow.

My plan for this first season is to draw the glaciers in the Mission Mountain Wilderness, The Bob Marshall Wilderness, the Great Bear Wilderness, the one in the Cabinet Mountains, plus a few in Glacier National Park, and if time allows some in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness (see the maps at the bottom for detailed locations) This puts me somewhere between 15 and 20 glaciers and probably more than one pair of boots this summer.

In the field, I will meticulously photograph and sketch each glacier so that I may have a good understanding of each before engaging the final works. These preliminary field studies will prove valuable analogs and documents in their own right, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY WILL BE AVAILABLE TO YOU IF YOU BACK THIS PROJECT.

The final drawings will be on high quality drawing paper 18"x24" or larger. At the Skytop level you will have the choice of your preferred original, hand drawn glacier drawing. This will be on a first come first serve basis so the 1st backer gets first choice, 2nd backer 2nd choice, and so on up to 10. SO BACK SOON AND FAST TO STAKE YOUR CLAIM!

Why draw glaciers in Montana?

Plenty of photographers and landscape painters have seemingly already scoured the aesthetic territory, and with political intentions to draw attention to climate change and human impact. Glaciers, after all, we are told are ground-zero for climate change, and my goals, too, are certainly not above drawing attention to the magnitude and fragility of these majestic features of nature. My primary intention, however, is not to prove climate change is happening (because it is) but to privilege the aesthetic and emotional character of these glaciers while we still can.

Glaciers are an important part of Montana's heritage and landscape, and as their size and numbers continue to decline it is imperative not only for scientists and conservationists to study them, but for artists to “bear witness” to them, both for people now and for future generations.  My biggest hope is that the conceptual patience, depth, and sustain of my years-long project can lend a sharper political and emotional edge to a situation science and art has already alerted us to.

I want to see each of these glaciers with my own eyes, feel their cold with my fingers, experience their presence with my body and breathe the chilled mountain air surrounding them.

I do not want to rely upon photographs taken by someone else, nor do I want to solely rely on my own photographs. I want to walk around them and draw them from multiple angles so I can bring their aesthetic fullness onto paper.

It's the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. So let's do this!

The Wilderness Act is likely the most seminal legislative act to conserve the landscape. In 1964 this act became law protecting vast swaths of land in the United States of America and creating a mechanism for future lands to be protected with Wilderness designation.

Glacier National Park (GNP) often gets most of the attention from artists, media and scientists, however there are many glaciers in Montana's Wilderness Areas such as the Mission Mountain Wilderness, Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness. THESE LESSER KNOWN GLACIERS IN MONTANA'S WILDERNESS AREAS ARE REALLY THE HALLMARKS OF THIS PROJECT!

You can find detailed maps of all the glaciers in Montana at the bottom of this page.

Why Drawing?

Drawing, both for its delicacy and precision, seems to me the perfect medium in which to bear witness to these naturally fragile and precise hallmarks. I also find that dragging graphite upon paper reminds me of the glaciers making their own marks upon the landscape.

Painting could capture the light better, but I find it cumbersome and unpractical, especially when carried many, many miles into the wilderness.

Photography, a powerful medium indeed, is limited to a single view point and can rarely capture more than what is seen in a single moment. Drawing has the potential to convey not only the seen but also to be a record of what is felt and experienced over a period of time across a broad set of vantage points.

Some things about me.

I am a professional visual artist and graphic designer living in Missoula, Montana.  Living in Montana, wilderness, to me, is very real. I moved over a decade ago to Missoula to finish my undergraduate studies in fine art and was immediately captured by the landscape, wildness, community, and remoteness.

My first backpacking trip in Montana led me into the Anaconda-Pintlar Wilderness, whereupon ascending East Pintlar Peak I could see a hundred+ miles to the faint peaks of Glacier National Park- since then I have been hooked.

Wilderness may be enchanting and even spiritually moving, but it is not some unseen place beyond a magical boundary where animals live and humans don't. It is very real, very present, and, as it turns out, more than a little bit fragile.

I am certainly not your average landscape artist - just take a look at the rest of my artwork.  I like power moves, contradictory relationships, super heroes, myths, big ideas and bigger questions. In Missoula we are surrounded by romantic landscape paintings full of elk, horsies and golden aspen trees, many of which are quite beautiful, but for me there is still something lacking - meaningful content in relation to the state of our world. Help me draw and create a meaningful body of artwork about one of Montana's most important and endangered geological features.

About 6 or 7 years ago I began to develop my current wilderness drawing style with hints of illustration, outlines, minimal color palette and tedious mark making. I am not trying to be overly realistic or overly abstract.  I am interested in a kind of intuitional middle ground, between abstraction, illustration, drawing, and expressionism.

I am also quite lucky to have, as a hiking buddy and all around fun-party, a great Australian Shepard named Mylah. To my own chagrin and testament to her awesomeness I have had more than one person say something like "I think I like your dog better." I know, CRAZY right! So if not for me at least back this project to get her romping around outside this summer!

Reward Examples

The cards and/or prints will look something like this.
The cards and/or prints will look something like this.
So Glacier Sticker
So Glacier Sticker
Glacier Drawing Project T-Shirt
Glacier Drawing Project T-Shirt
Reclaimed wool winter hat
Reclaimed wool winter hat
Special drawing from my bike ride on May 31, 2014 on Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park
Special drawing from my bike ride on May 31, 2014 on Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park

The Future

If we can make this happen there are several things I want to do in the future with the work from this project! If we can stretch our goal then these things will happen better and faster.

  • An epic exhibition with all the completed drawings, installations and more.  I am proposing this project to a local museum, and hope to take the work beyond Montana.
  • A lot of small exhibitions along the way.
  • I want to publish a book - think coffee table.
  • I want to work with my friend Caitlin Hofmeister (who made the video above) to make a documentary short about the project.
  • Incorporate the drawings and photos from the project into paintings, installations, performances and all around art shenanigans.
  • In July I am going to have a preview showing at Le Petit Outre,  so come to that.
  • And somewhere at sometime I'd like to get Caroline Keys, Nate Biehl & Jeff Turman whom provided the music for the video out to one of the glaciers so we can record its sounds, and create a glacial soundtrack to accompany the artwork.
  • Essentially the future = awesome, but it will only be so with your help!

Contact me with your questions!

Maps of Montana Glaciers

Here are detailed maps of all the areas in which one could find a glacier in Montana. I scoured all the maps and compared them to the aforementioned list to locate each glacier in Montana. I also mapped them all on Google Earth, click here to download it, and be sure to do a fly through!

Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park
Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness
Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness
Mission Mountain Wilderness
Mission Mountain Wilderness
Bob Marshall Wilderness
Bob Marshall Wilderness
Great Bear Wilderness
Great Bear Wilderness
Cabinet Mountain Wilderness
Cabinet Mountain Wilderness

Sponsors and supporters

Risks and challenges

1. Will you be able to complete this project? I am well on my way to executing this project. I have the plan, the motivation, the ability and technical skills to reach each glacier on foot, now I just need your help to complete it.

2. What if you are eaten by a bear? Well I have always thought that might just be the coolest way to go. Seriously though, it is extremely rare, especially if you know what to do in bear country. I will likely become more famous then Andy Warhol before I become lunch for a bear.

3. Weather, snow pack and access to these glacier sites could delay shipment of the field created rewards. In general the mountains in Montana clear up by late June, and are usually quite accessible in July and August. Regardless of access I will push my way to these glaciers and accomplish this project.

4. Will you be able to draw all 60 glaciers? Well certainly not all of them in one summer season, so I have a plan to hike to 10-15 per season. I expect for this project to reach full completion in 4-5 years. This funding campaign is strictly to begin and complete the first season of drawings

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    I will shout your name from the top of a mountain. This will give you good luck for 15 minutes, use it wisely. All level backers will get this mtn top shout out, and I'll record it and post it online for you all to see!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A mega thank you from me to you + Glacier Drawing Project sticker!

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Awww buddy. You get a handwritten, autographed, personalized thank you postcard on way nice drawing paper with an image of my artwork on the front! With original, US Postal Service designs taboot!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    YES! I'll send you a postcard with a photograph (taken by me of course) of a glacier on the front with a thank you note and small drawing on the back!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Sweet dude! You get an 8"x10" print of one of my drawings. It comes on way nice drawing paper, signed, with a personal thank you on the back + a sticker!

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    We are friends now! A package of 5 blank cards with my drawings on the front! The cards are all signed and come on the same way-nice drawing paper + envelopes. And since we're friends now you get a sticker and I will write you a personalized note saying how much you glacier (rock)!

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    SPECIAL RELEASE PRINT from my bike ride in Glacier National Park on May 31, 2014. You will get one print of the drawing from Going to the Sun Road on way nice drawing paper signed by me. + thank you note and sticker.

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    Pledge $34 or more About $34

    Oh cold snap! You get a hand made, reclaimed wool winter hat with a screen printed Glacier Drawing Project logo from our friends at Woolly Mammoth + sticker!

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Glacier time! You get an 8"x10" print of one of the original glacier drawings! Printed on way nice drawing paper, signed + sticker & thank you note.

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    Pledge $36 or more About $36

    International Glacier Print.You'll get a 8"x10" print of one of the original glacier drawings! Printed on way nice drawing paper, signed + sticker & thank you note mailed over an ocean or international border.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Get a real nice t-shirt with the Glacier Project logo on the front + sticker & thank you note. We'll pick colors and sizes later.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Double time! An 8"x10" print of one of my drawings, a set of 5 blank cards with my drawings on the front, a sticker and a personal thank you note.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Now it is getting real! You will get a 4"x6" original sketch/study of a Glacier drawn in the field, fresh with real wilderness dirt and probably rain drop stains, because, ya know, it rains outside! And since you are so real, I'll throw in a sticker and personal thank you note on the side.

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    Pledge $51 or more About $51

    International - Now it is getting real! You will get a 4"x6" original sketch/study of a Glacier drawn in the field, fresh with real wilderness dirt and probably rain drop stains, because, ya know, it rains outside! And since you are so real, I'll throw in a sticker and personal thank you note on the side. All mailed across an ocean or international border.

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    PUSH US OVER THE EDGE! SPECIAL LIMITED BACKING OPPORTUNITY. Get a reclaimed-wool beanie with screen printed Glacier Drawing Project Logo + a print of one of the glacier drawings and a sticker!

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    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    Glacier time X 2! You get TWO 8"x10" prints of two different (or the same if you want) original glacier drawings. They're printed on way nice drawing paper, signed + sticker & thank you note.

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    Pledge $71 or more About $71

    International Glacier time X 2! You get TWO 8"x10" prints of two different (or the same if you want) original glacier drawings. They're printed on way nice drawing paper, signed + sticker & thank you note mailed across an ocean or international border.

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    We have just stumbled into a secret glacial valley and you just found an original 4"x6" sketch of a glacier, a print of one of my drawings, a 5 pack of cards, a sticker and a thank you note.

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    4"x6" original sketch plus a Glacier Drawing Project t-shirt, a sticker and thank you note, because you are so glacier!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Cool down friend you are melting all the glaciers! 9"x12" original sketch of a glacier drawn in the field + sticker & thank you note.

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    Pledge $101 or more About $101

    International - Cool down friend you are melting all the glaciers! 9"x12" original sketch of a glacier drawn in the field + sticker & thank you note. All mailed across an ocean or international border.

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    Pledge $105 or more About $105

    Glacier time X 3! You get three 8"x10" prints of three different (or the same if you want) original glacier drawings. They're printed on way nice drawing paper, signed + sticker & thank you note.

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    Pledge $140 or more About $140

    Glacier time X 4! You get Four 8"x10" prints of four different (or the same if you want) original glacier drawings. They're printed on way nice drawing paper, signed + sticker & thank you note.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    I have so many drawings and small paintings in my studio with your name on them. Come over to my studio, I'll make you tea, we will talk about awesome things and you will get to choose the art piece or pieces of your choice. If you can't come over then I'll send you a bunch of images to choose from, then you can pick your fav, but then again you do miss out on the tea!

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    Glacier time X 5! You get five 8"x10" prints of five different (or the same if you want) original glacier drawings. They're printed on way nice drawing paper, signed + sticker & thank you note.

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    Pledge $180 or more About $180

    TIME TO STRETCH! A framed and matted 9"x12" drawing of a Montana Glacier. The frames will be glorious and made from sustainably harvested beetle kill pine from Bad Goat Forest Products.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Now you are making me melt! "4x6" and 9"x12" field drawn glacier sketch, plus shirt, 2 prints, cards, sticker, and thank you note.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    SPECIAL ORIGINAL DRAWING FOR THE FINAL WEEKEND OF THE KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN! Made from my bike trip to Glacier National Park on May 31, 2014. Get the original drawing and it comes matted and with a very nice custom wood frame. Help the Glacier Drawing Project during its final weekend.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You get an original 18"x24" painting by me! These are very limited in quantity, so back fast! You must be willing to pick this up or be in Missoula area for me to drop it off. If you really want it we can figure out the over-sized shipping later.

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    Pledge $800 or more About $800

    You get an original 36"x48" painting by me! These too, are very limited in quantity, so back fast! You must be willing to pick this up or be in Missoula area for me to drop it off. If you really want it we can figure out the over-sized shipping later.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    SKYTOP! The hallmark of this project! A 18"x24" original drawing of a Montana glacier on quality drawing paper! Custom wood frame taboot! These are first come first choice basis. You back this first, you get first choice of your preferred glacier drawing, 2nd backer 2nd choice and so on. There are only ten of these so get yours before they too, like the glaciers, are gone!

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Funding period

- (33 days)