Idle Eye is a London-based blog I created in September 2011. The posts are weekly, mostly witty, half-confessional, self-depricating and somewhat acerbic. Think Jonathan Ames crossed with Ed Reardon and you're getting close. In January of this year I had the idea of making a book, in which twenty artists each illustrate two blog posts in their own inimitable style. So I set about hunting them down. Most I knew already, but some were introduced to me and got excited about the project and some I blatantly stalked. I specifically wanted drawings (as opposed to photographs), as each interpretation of the stories I gave them would be unique, personal, funny and wildly different (the proposed book cover, drawn by Daniel Laidler, succinctly captures everything you need to know about me). Ironically, the idea was conceived on the exact same day of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, which also happened to be my birthday. Make of that what you will.
To date, I have half (20) of the drawings in and they are all spectacular. Every one. So now I need to raise funds to delegate the last 20 posts, have the book beautifully printed and get it out there. In order to keep down costs I asked every artist to make their illustrations monochrome (in keeping with the look and feel of the website) and they are so much better for it. I've had some great pledge rewards made already but I'm happy to swallow the cost of these; all I care about is raising the print money. If we go beyond the target, I'll go hardback and/or print more copies. Maybe even get some more teeshirts made, they're pretty good. But every penny will go towards making Amateur of Life and Death as wonderful and unique as I know it will be.
So why should you care? What makes my story any different? Well, I like to think I write well, but in these cut and thrust days of hashtags, social media and all manner of canny techniques people use to get themselves from the laptop and into your homes, I just felt that speaking from the heart and allowing potential backers to make up their own minds was the right approach. It's a great idea, I'll not be coy. And I have spent the last five months working pretty hard at it, to the point of little else. I can only offer up what I have done this far in and ask you to judge for yourselves.
Amateur of Life and Death is the book part of a project that is beginning to develop wings. We have recorded accompanying audio to go with the allocated posts and filmed the sessions as we go (see below Vimeo clip).
And have a look at the site:
I now feel it's got to a point where I can release my efforts onto an unsuspecting world and see what happens. It matters more to me than I can put into words (not usually an issue). And although we're branching out, it has to start from somewhere, and I felt that a book was the perfect vehicle. Like most good things in life, it's all about the writing. There'll be no eBook either. This will be something unique which you can hold in your hands and say you were part of. Everyone who pledges, no matter how much, will be listed in the acknowledgements, and any future print runs will be a little bit different. So get in there early & help make this happen.
The very talented Ursula McLaughlin (also a contributing artist) has created the look and feel, some examples of which are below:
Directed/Edited/Artists Camera by...er...me
Original Music/Main Camera: Donald Ross Skinner
Book Design: Ursula McLaughlin
Audio Narrator: Rupert Ingham
Photography: Sarah Johnson/Alison Czajkowskyj
Risks and challenges
Risk 1 - That I'll be admitted into a SE London hospital with PTSD before the end of the campaign and not give a toss anymore. It's quite possible, actually. If you come to my ward, I'll give your money back and you can stroke me. God is in the detail.
Risk 2 - That the artists take longer than I hope to deliver the second drawing. But that's what artists do. It's why they're artists. So we'll all have to be patient, I guess. It'll be worth it.
Risk 3 - That's the point. Nothing significant will ever happen to you unless you take one.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)