My newest woodcut graphic novel, Life is Fiction, needs your help! This traveling creative project will take place in Brazil, between September and March of 2012, in a number of different cities, studios, and art communities. This novel will be produced as a woodblock and screen print mini-series that will accumulate four volumes and be bound as a full book in the end of March 2012. Life is Fiction will be simultaneously distributed in three forms: Original print, 'Zines, Live projector shows, and internet postings.
Chapters of this project will be created in cycles over a period of 6 months, accumulating new characters and segments of Brazilian culture.The central theme of this narrative will be the relationship between identity, imagination and existence.As humans, each of our identities develop in a spontaneous fashion as our lives unfold. Each experience and interaction sprouts new strands of reality. These strands often become tangled, causing confusion between our future and our past, and between the real and the imaginary. It seems that as individuals, we exist in a number of different simultaneous narratives at any given time. Each one requires its own state of mind, its own perspective, and therefore, a different personal identity. It is through imagination that we gather these loose strands, and reconstruct our sense of self. My central question in this new graphic novel will be the following: If both the unknown mistakes and deliberate decisions each make up an equal stake in our history, then what is the difference between fiction and reality?
The Woodblock Narrative Process:
I amass drawing over periods of research, eventually developing sequences and themes from the multitude of images. These are then re-drawn from memory several times, which reduces them to their most essential visual elements.
Next, the drawings are repeated, in reverse, on raw wood blocks. After marking this sketch, it is sealed with shellac. Finally, the sealed drawings are carved, using Japanese tempered steel blades, and proof printed.
While woodcut will be the primary medium for this narrative, I will employ screen print techniques for colors as well. Each volume of "Life is Fiction" will be produced in fine print as well as 'zine form in order to develop a story that is accessible to readers leading up to its completion. Much like the minieries novels of the 19th century, Life is Fiction will gain an audience as the story develops month by month. My goal as an artist over the next five years is to pay homage to the original sequential woodcut masters from around the world such as Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, Hokusai, Durer, Gilvan Samico, and Oswaldo Goeldi. At the same time I will bring the medium into the social, political, and cultural context of the twenty-first century. As my senior project at the University of Minnesota in 2009 I created two wordless woodcut books: Predictable Predicament and Progress Tramples Humans. The following summer I created Down is the New Up as artist-in-residence at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.
The Projector Shows:
My sketches and source imagery will be woven together to form monthly projector shows, which feature local musicians and live narration. The projector shows are hand-drawn on long rolls of transparent plastic, forming a long horizontal comic book. I have been performing these shows in Minneapols for the past two years, and the expressive possibilities of this live medium is very exciting and challenging.
Here is my most recent show, The Moon Smasher Part 2 (May 2011)
My first site is Curitiba, cultural hub of Southern Brazil, at the Solar do Barao do Cerro Azul studio. The Solar do Barão is a municipal arts facility operated and owned by the Curitiba Cultural Foundation, which houses one of the first printmaking presses ever used in South America. The history of the Solar was actually what inspired me to begin Life is Fiction.
In early October I will shift to São Paulo for an artist residency through the Fundação Alfredo Alvares Penteado, where chapters 2 and 3 will be produced. I'll be living in the Sé neighborhood, the oldest area of Sao Paulo, and printing at the FAAP studios in Pacaembu. I will collaborate with new bands in Sao Paulo for each projector show in downtown.
After this time in Southeast Brazil, I will travel North to Pernambuco and the Bahia, areas rich with mystical folklore and rural history.
To complete the final chapter of the Life is Fiction, I will return to Sao Paulo in early February to print at the Museu Lasar Segall, in Vila Mariana, São Paulo. This space is the former residence of the great modernist painter and printmaker, Lasar Segall, who emigrated to Brazil from Lithuania as a young artist in the early 1900's. In march I will fly back to the U.S.A. to bind the final edition of Life is Fiction.
Funds donated through Kickstarter will be used for:
printmaking and bookbinding materials for each chapter of the novel
research access to specific historical and folkloric sites in Brazil
short documentary video production of live projector shows and artist talks held in Sao Paulo.
I believe that the juxtaposition of our two cultural heritages will offer new glimpses into the patterns of human imagination and offer us new perspectives on national identities. "Life is Fiction" will be a new challenge for me because not only will I be creating large series of compositions, but also refining this mixed media in my work. Through this project I will unearth deeper patterns in the record of the human imagination, while stimulating cross-cultural dialogue between the U.S.A. and Brazil.
$ 1.00 - 5.00
Access to online sketch galleries and chapter editions and personal thankyou
$6.00 - 10.00
Print from Down is the New Up and access to online sketch galleries and chapter editions:
$11.00 - 20.00
One print from Down is the New Up, Life is Fiction T-shirt, and access to online sketch galleries and chapter editions:
$21.00 - 30.00
Original print A Chama, acknowledgement in final credits of the novel, and access to online sketch galleries and chapter editions:
$31.00 - 50.00
Select hand-colored print, acknowledgement in final credits of the novel, and access to online sketch galleries and chapter editions
$51.00 - 70.00
Copy of one original print volume from Life is Fiction, select hand-colored print, acknowledgement in final credits of the novel, and access to online sketch galleries and chapter editions
$71.00 - 100.00
Five Zine pack of Life is Fiction, one original print volume from Life is Fiction, select hand-colored print acknowledgement in final credits of the novel, and access to online sketch galleries and chapter editions
$101.00 and up
Five Zine pack of Life is Fiction, one original print volume from Life is Fiction, acknowledgement in final credits of the novel, and access to all online material, and original print A Chama:
- (49 days)