I've spent the last two years in the Deep South of America making three fictional southern gothic stories in three different U.S states: Louisiana, Texas, and Georgia. These will make up my second book: 'Night of the Hunted.' All three draw on American history in the mid-1960s as well as the literary genre of southern gothic itself.
Southern Gothic literature came out of the collapse of the American South after the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. It twinned a dark romanticism with a social critique that explored grotesque characters, often in warped rural communities beset by poverty, alienation, racial tension, and violence. It was made popular by twentieth century writers like Flannery O' Connor, Carson McCullers, and William Faulkner. Contemporary visual examples include True Detective and True Blood.
In many Southern states, the Ku Klux Klan had terrorised black communities during the 1950s and 60s, targeting Civil Rights activists in particular with violence, intimidation and assassination, which included two decades of fire bombings. All three of my stories are set in the South in a period of relative calm; 1967. Segregation had come to an end in 1964 after the Civil Rights Act and voting rights had been enshrined in 1965 after the Selma to Montgomery marches.
The battles then headed North but the legal victories had been fiercely opposed by many in the South and were still strongly resented by large swathes of the population. A legal revolution was an important step but not a final one. The Southern culture of '67 remained poisonous, and an interesting backdrop for a southern gothic story.
Each of the three stories is carefully storyboarded image by image. My artistic practice involves working with a cast of actors for whom I provide a character backstory as well as scene by scene plot. I ask them to improvise while I work around them. I use period clothes, make-up and hair, and build sets, as well as using locations that I find on road trips or via a film locations scout.
The book will consist of 78 images, an essay, and three short stories, and will span 180 pages. It will be printed large at 28cm x 28cm - twice the size of my debut book. It will be published Internationally by Hatje Kantz but this fine art model of printing requires the artist to put up some of the production costs. So I'm launching this Kickstarter campaign to help fund the production of the book. I hope you get to enjoy the images in all their Southern Gothic darkness. It will be launched in September alongside a two month solo show in Paris at Polka Gallery. All welcome to attend!
Risks and challenges
The past months I've dedicated my time to designing and planning the book. Everything is in place with the printers in Germany ready to have the book printed and ready to ship in September.
The Limited Edition prints are ready to ship, and I can send them out upon successful completion of the campaign. I would advise emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your print selections
Please contact me if you have any further questions.
- (30 days)