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My big sexy paintings have been selected for OPEN OUT, a week-long queer arts festival in Tromsø, Norway: over 2000 miles away...
My big sexy paintings have been selected for OPEN OUT, a week-long queer arts festival in Tromsø, Norway: over 2000 miles away...
74 backers pledged £4,909 to help bring this project to life.

About

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£4,909

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*Link to the YouTube version of the campaign video*


My name is Emily Sparkes and I'm an artist living in Birmingham, England. Recently two of my paintings have been selected for Open Out, a queer arts festival in Tromsø, Norway. 

I REALLY want to be able to show at this festival (which will also be my first international exhibition) but shipping art is expensive. Your money will go towards packaging and sending my (sizable) paintings the some 2,265 miles via door-to-door road courier (and back), which is the cheapest safest option. The festival has some funds available to sponsor my travel costs amounting to 1500 NOK (est. £136 / 190 USD), which will cover around half of my air-fare. If I manage to reach my Kickstarter goal - which would be SO WONDERFUL - I will put any extra funds towards my remaining travel costs meaning I also get to go!!

Birmingham UK to Tromsø, Norway.
Birmingham UK to Tromsø, Norway.

Open Out festival will run between 4-10th June 2018 and will consist of various exhibitions, performances, concerts as well as educational events such as lectures and workshops. The unifying theme for the festival is queerness, and will also include the perspectives of feminists, indigenous peoples, immigrants and refugees, as well as other social minorities. All events will be free and open to all, at different locations around the city. Their goal is 'to create a festival that is inclusive, diverse, [...] bringing Tromsø and the world together.’  

The two paintings selected for the festival:

'Tintorest' (2016), oil on canvas  186 x 236 cm.
'Tintorest' (2016), oil on canvas 186 x 236 cm.

Tintorest is a restaging of Fragonard’s painting Aretino in the studio of Tintoretto (c. 1800) which is visible in the top right-hand corner of the work. The original image shows the literary critic and satirist Aretino after he had spoken badly of the painter Tintoretto. Tintoretto invited Aretino to his studio to sit for a portrait, during which, the painter suddenly pulled out a pistol (/ dagger) from his robe. The surprised Aretino, believing he was seeking revenge, cried out. Suitably intimidated, Aretino never again spoke badly of Tintoretto and they ultimately became friends (as you do). Here, the image is restaged to embody ideas of female solidarity and social networking. The painting features myself as the artist Tintoretto and queer feminist poet and writer Sophie Sparham in the place of Aretino. 

'FREAK (Minturnae)' (2015), oil on canvas,  240 x 197 cm.
'FREAK (Minturnae)' (2015), oil on canvas, 240 x 197 cm.
detail of Ajamu's FREAK tattoo
detail of Ajamu's FREAK tattoo

FREAK (Minturnae) utilises Drouais’s painting Marius at Minturnae (1786). The original painting shows the Roman general Marius, seated, after he was defeated and taken prisoner at Minturnae (Italy). Gesturing to the soldier who has come to execute him, he says, "Would you dare kill Marius!?" The young soldier stepped back and, unable meet the general's piercing gaze, covered his face with his cloak. Afterwards the soldier fled, crying out, "I could never kill Marius!" This image has been restaged in my painting to discuss desire, intersectionality and queer kinship. Featured in the work is prominent black LGBTQ photographer Ajamu and Beijing-based queer artist Ya Tian wearing his favourite speedos. 

Detail of my head in 'Tintorest'.
Detail of my head in 'Tintorest'.

I live and work in the UK, as a studio-holder at Rope Press, Birmingham. I am a part-time practice-led PhD student at the Royal College of Art, London which is kindly sponsored by the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation (Canada) and 'Open Out' is exactly the kind of major international exhibition that would help to secure my PhD funding for another year. I mostly completed these paintings during my MA in Queer Studies in Arts & Culture (distinction) at Birmingham School of Art

See below some installation shots of previous UK exhibitions.

The two paintings installed at Flowers Gallery, London (Mayfair)
The two paintings installed at Flowers Gallery, London (Mayfair)
My work on display at Flowers Gallery, London (Mayfair)
My work on display at Flowers Gallery, London (Mayfair)

The paintings are almost life size, meaning that the viewer becomes part of the staging when standing in-front of them. This scale is chosen in the hope that it allows for ideas of inclusivity and equality to become apparent when encountering the work. 

Rewards!

£15 pledge - 'i sleep' stickers (15cm).
£15 pledge - 'i sleep' stickers (15cm).

See the original painting here.  

PRINTS

What you get: an Archival Inkjet (Giclée) print on matte (A2 / A5) 210gsm Fine Art paper, signed by me. Printed by Holodeck, Birmingham.

A5 postcards will be wrapped in plastic and sent in a hard-backed envelope.

A2 prints will be wrapped in tissue paper and sent in a cardboard tube.

I can pretty much paint / draw whatever you'd like provided that you supply a high resolution image. 

The drawings will be graphite pencil on Heavyweight 200gsm Acid-free Cartridge Paper.

Paintings will be made using Winsor & Newton Artists Oil Colour on primed, 350gsm, 19mm depth, stretched Cotton Canvas.

Paintings and drawings are redeemable for up to a year, if needed.

I'll send you updates on the drawing progress too!
I'll send you updates on the drawing progress too!
£275 pledge - 2 x mini paintings, oil on canvas board (7.8 x 10.4 cm).
£275 pledge - 2 x mini paintings, oil on canvas board (7.8 x 10.4 cm).

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Behind-the-scenes images of 'Tintorest' getting painted during my residency at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery:

Just the mask
Just the mask
meta-painting
meta-painting
more details starting to emerge
more details starting to emerge
The Death of Chatterton?
The Death of Chatterton?
me x 4
me x 4
virgin palette
virgin palette
halfway there!
halfway there!
nice shoe / carpet combo
nice shoe / carpet combo
slacking off, I guess (about 2 months in)
slacking off, I guess (about 2 months in)
the laborious task of cleaning up oil paints
the laborious task of cleaning up oil paints
almost done!
almost done!
glazing the painting in the Gas Hall gallery
glazing the painting in the Gas Hall gallery
celebrating the only way I know how
celebrating the only way I know how

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I owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to Reece from Rope Press, Joseph at The Holodeck and my partner, Greg Basterfield for helping me launch this campaign  - especially during my PhD exam prep - THANKS GUYS!!        

xx
xx

Risks and challenges

Unless I decide to just stay in Tromsø and start a Röyksopp tribute band, I'm pretty sure I can fulfil all of the reward obligations people have signed up for in a timely manner. I'm going to try really hard to send all prints and postcards out to my campaign backers by the end of June, drawings and paintings may take longer.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $6

    Thank you

    You will receive a 'thank you' on a dedicated page on emilysparkes.com. Sign up for my newsletter / watch out for the Kickstarter updates and I'll let you know what Norway's like, if the campaign is successful.

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    Pledge £15 or more About $19

    Postcard pals

    A5 postcard print of one of the two paintings, including a written thank you message, 15cm laminated vinyl sticker and small, unique hand-drawn something-or-other.

    All prints are Archival Inkjet (Giclée) on matte 210gsm Fine Art paper.

    Includes:
    • a5 postcard print
    • 'i sleep' sticker!
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    Pledge £25 or more About $31

    1 x Print

    One copy of the A2 'FREAK (Mintunae)' print OR one copy of the A2 'Tintorest' print.

    All prints are Archival Inkjet (Giclée) on matte 210gsm Fine Art paper.

    Includes:
    • 'FREAK' print OR 'Tintorest' print
    • 'i sleep' sticker!
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    Pledge £40 or more About $50

    2 x Prints

    One copy of the A2 'FREAK (Mintunae)' print PLUS one copy of the A2 'Tintorest' print. OR if you'd rather, two copies of the same print.

    Includes:
    • 'FREAK' print
    • 'Tintorest' print
    • 'i sleep' sticker!
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £120 or more About $151

    A5 drawing

    Get a personal A5 drawing of a loved one, family member, h*ckin cute pet, whatever you'd like.
    + an A2 print of your choice.

    Includes:
    • 'FREAK' print OR 'Tintorest' print
    • 'i sleep' sticker!
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    Pledge £145 or more About $183

    A4 drawing

    A personal A4 drawing of your nan, your Funko Pop! collection, your local Chinese restaurant, whatever.
    + an A2 print of your choice.

    Includes:
    • 'FREAK' print OR 'Tintorest' print
    • 'i sleep' sticker!
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    Pledge £180 or more About $227

    A3 drawing

    A personal A3 drawing of your prize succulent, your best cosplay, that time you dressed up like a carrot, anything.
    + an A2 print of your choice.

    Includes:
    • 'FREAK' print OR 'Tintorest' print
    • 'i sleep' sticker!
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    Pledge £275 or more About $346

    The (Little) Big Bang Theory

    2 x mini oil-paintings based on memes made by the anti-fandom of the Big Bang Theory (7.8 x 10.4 cm)
    + BOTH A2 prints.

    Includes:
    • 'FREAK' print
    • 'Tintorest' print
    • 'i sleep' sticker!
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    Pledge £850 or more About $1,070

    Custom painting

    Custom oil/acrylic painting on canvas of a subject of your choice, the saucier the better (no larger than 22 x 32cm)
    + BOTH A2 prints.
    *****

    Includes:
    • 'FREAK' print
    • 'Tintorest' print
    • 'i sleep' sticker!
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    Pledge £2,300 or more About $2,895

    Larger cusom painting

    HEY BIG SPENDER: Custom oil/acrylic painting on canvas of a subject of your choice (no larger than 65 x 80cm)
    + BOTH A2 prints.
    *****

    Includes:
    • 'FREAK' print
    • 'Tintorest' print
    • 'i sleep' sticker!
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Funding period

- (21 days)