So, what is The Domestic Menagerie?
It is a series of illustrations that brings together animals and household objects in a timeless, sometimes surprising way. As a backer you can partake of these images in three forms: letterpress notecards, screen printed posters, and commissioned drawings. To keep the above video slightly more riveting than a slideshow of ink and paper, the illustrations don't make a particularly prolonged appearance. Instead, you can leisurely look through some samples right here, or for the full roster, check out my Facebook page. I'll be updating the series with new additions as frequently as I can!
Like I said in the video, these quirky drawings seemed ideal for memorable, all-purpose notecards. They are cute, colorful and standard sized at 5.5 x 4.25 inches. I'm kind of addicted to printmaking and the idea of learning a new form of it was very appealing. So I set out to learn letterpress and find that perfect balance between the embossed 'kiss' and 'bite'.
Although most letterpress printing is done with cotton, heavy weight, white paper, I decided that colored paper gave the drawings just a little more personality. Choices for colored letterpress paper are limited and, not wanting to do things halfway, I ultimately settled on a pricier group of Italian Arturo papers. This material cost, plus the other related expenses for this kind of printmaking (studio rental, polymer plates, films, transportation costs, etc.) constitutes my reasoning for being here on Kickstarter! Sitting in a studio and making drawings doesn't cost me much more than time, but pulling out all the stops, making a physical product and essentially pretending that I'm a stationery business, even in a limited fashion, is a significant investment, as it turns out. Please help these drawings come to life in their most flattering form and purchase some letterpress cards! There is no limit to the quantity of this reward each individual can purchase. Unfortunately, the finite amount of cards I am making only supports 20 multiple-set discounts.
Screen Printed Posters
Do you have extra wall space? Have no fear, I've got the perfect gift for animal lovers and/or vintage furnishing junkies of all ages! Yes, it's an 18x24 inch poster with approximately 20 Domestic Menagerie drawings artfully composed in a grid!
I feel that, when displayed in a group, the animals best express the idea of the project when confined to species native to North America. So that is what you will find in the preview below. There is no limit to the quantity of this reward each individual can purchase, but unfortunately, the finite amount of posters I am making wouldn't really support multiple-poster discounts.
Poster Stretch Goals
As an incentive to raise funds beyond my budgeted goal, the posters will be upgraded in complexity if a couple key amounts are reached.
If we can hit $5,000 the poster will become an awesome three color print.
If we get to $7,000 then it will become an even more amazing four color print! I will post previews here if we are in striking distance of these goals.
Finally, if we somehow crazily get to $9,000, each poster will get a unique thumbnail sized pencil sketch beside the signature! It will be a ton of extra work for me, but I think I'll have experienced so much goodwill at that point that I'll be able to make it happen.
Finally, for the ultimate Domestic Menagerie devotees out there, you can contribute to the collection by suggesting an animal of your choice. After pledging for your reward, I will contact you about the creature in question. I will pick its object soulmate, draw it, ink it, sign it, and send it to you in an appropriately sturdy envelope. The Possibilities are endless! I can draw your favorite animal, your pet, or even something wacky like a Unicorn. Yes, I will go there, for you. LIMIT ONE PER CUSTOMER.
Regarding the cost of these drawings, these are fund-raising level prices. Personally, I believe that even $100 is quite low for a piece of original art. The last thing I want is to undercut more talented artists out there. But with the goal of mainly making cards and prints, and giving friends and family of more modest means a chance to get a good deal on my art, I decided to make these drawings more affordable than I normally would. I guess what I'm trying to say, however delicately, is that if you have any interest in owning a piece of original art by me, it may be a long time before a bargain this good comes your way again!
A Little More About Me
Hi. I'm Michael Lauritano: Illustrator, Designer, & Adventurer. I grew up in small town Massachusetts, reading a lot of Chris Van Allsburg picture books, and I went on to attend the Rhode Island School of Design (Illustration '07), where I built some pretty decent draughtsmanship and critical thinking skills.
But I didn't do any printmaking until three years later, in the excellent city of Chicago, when I was lucky enough to wander into FugScreens Studios. There, I met shop owner Zissou Tasseff-Elenkoff, and became that intern who didn't stop coming in to work after the internship ended. Despite that I've moved back east, my relationship with this shop happily continues through occasional design work and collaborations. FugScreens will be printing the posters for this Kickstarter campaign. My work experience in that screen printing studio launched me into another, The Bird Machine, where I was incredibly fortunate to work for icon and giant of the gig poster community, Jay Ryan. At this point I not only honed some seriously anal-retentive abilities, but also gained exposure to a growing roster of inspiring illustrators and designers, such as Diana Sudyka, Justin Santora, Dan McAdam, Aaron Horkey, and Dan Black and Jess Seamans of Landland, to name a few (all of whom have drawn either animals or old things in a way that is either far more endearing or more beautiful than my work will probably ever be). Some of The Domestic Menagerie drawings first appeared in a zine put together by design-junkie Jason Early.
Currently, I have my sights set on New York City, where I will be entering the School of Visual Arts legendary 'Illustration as Visual Essay' MFA program. If you are still reading this, please buy something to prevent me from starving to death somewhere in Queens, on a frigidly cold night this coming fall. Thanks!
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge to this kickstarter campaign is a matter of time. This is a summer project for me. I need to complete the essential printing, folding, and collating before I move to New York at the end of August. Once I begin graduate school, I don't anticipate having a lot of free time to work on The Domestic Menagerie. I will also be juggling freelance work simultaneously.
To accomodate for any unforeseen delays or roadblocks, I have set the delivery date for all rewards a safe ways off in November. This three month block should provide plenty of time for any necessary troubleshooting and you will receive rewards in time for the gift giving season.
For those of you new to Kickstarter or crowd funding in general, you should know that if the project does not meet its funding goal by the appointed time, no funding will be provided at all. I have already made a significant investment in the project, so the risk here is mine. If the kickstarter is not funded, you will not be charged.
A final safety advisory: all delivered rewards come in the form of paper with clean cut edges. This can result in fatal paper-cuts. Handle with care and be sure to provide gloves to children or those with delicate skin.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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