“O! Relentless Death: Celebrity, Loss and Mourning” is an artist’s book created by siblings Andrew and Lee Fearnside. This book mourns celebrities who died in 2016: David Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Gwen Ifill, Alan Rickman and 11 more.
The book is edited, proofed, and designed. It’s right on the cusp of happening, and we need your help. We want to offer this project to the world, and we need funds to print and distribute it.
It's 73 pages, paperback, black and white, and a solid 7"x9".
We made linoleum relief portraits and paired them with personal narratives by 23 writers from around the country, including poet laureates, journalists, community organizers, professors and activists.
Celebrities in O! Relentless Death (by death date):
David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Umberto Eco, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Elie Wiesel, Jack Davis, Gene Wilder, Lady Chablis, Leonard Cohen, Gwen Ifill, Fidel Castro, Richard Adams, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds.
“Lee and Andrews’ illustrations reverberate with essence…. a wonderful testimony of a brief moment in time of a lovable but flawed species.”
--Bert Crenca, artist and founder of AS220 (Rhode Island)
“By honoring and shining light on the experience of grieving, Andrew and Lee Fearnside remind us that through the channel of loss and mourning we may emerge stronger, hopeful, more unified.”
—Elsa Menendez, Performing Arts Co-Director, National Hispanic Cultural Center
“For many on the left, the political upheaval of 2016 was exacerbated by what seemed like an endless parade of celebrity deaths. David Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher…these were our heroes, the entertainers we turned to for solace when the realities of inequality, war, and violence began to feel like too much to handle. O! Relentless Death! Celebrity, Loss, and a Year of Mourning offers readers poems, short stories, reflections, and images to help process the grief of losing so many public figures."
--Sarah Rainey-Smithback, Associate Professor of Cultural and Critical Studies, Bowling Green State University
2016 sucked for America. When David Bowie died on January 8, it was a shock. But when Prince died on April 21, things started to get ominous. Right around then we started to realize that Donald Trump wasn’t going away. As the latter half of 2016 unfolded, we felt like celebrities died at an increasing rate while the country lost its mind. We’re not alone in feeling this rage and despair. The American Psychological Association recently found that 59% of Americans feel that the current era is a low point in our country’s history.
The celebrities that we’ve picked are not all pop culture, and not all high culture, and not all political figures. In their own way, all of them were change-makers. This book is a tribute to the power of people to make change. Can we celebrate our connection to these celebrities and their lives to inspire us to be change-makers ourselves? What power is unlocked when we grieve together? If we grieve authentically, if we reach out to community, can we reach past our despair to see our political enemies as neighbors?
We started this project as a way to process, as a way to do something together, and as a way to deal with 2016 and everything it represents. It was really about mourning 2017.
In an era of fake news, trying to make portraits of celebrities in image and text was about trying to give complexity and depth to something that is flattened. Carrie Fisher was too often only Princess Leia, not a woman who was also a mother and a daughter, a woman who struggled with mental health and addiction. Lee wanted her portrait of her to somehow hold all of that, to be haunting, to suggest mourning and a more complete reality. That somehow trying to show real emotion would fight against the deception and insincerity that seems to plague popular and political culture today.
While grief is one of the primary mechanisms for growth in our lives, grief is far from pleasant. It doesn’t feel like a learning experience—it feels like trauma. Grief doesn’t eulogize. Grief warps and rips and burns us. Grief tastes like ashes on our tongues. But for all that, grief is a human experience. It’s a normal experience, a part of life. Grief can take years to heal; and in some ways, it never does. Today, grief--like aging--is private, something rarely touched on in an era of superhero movies and immortal celebrities. Real grief doesn’t have a place in tabloid America. Tasting ashes publicly is taboo. If you are tasting ashes too, we want you to know you’re not alone.
MacKenzie Abernethy, Sara Archambault, Hakim Bellamy, Matt Bereza, Melissa Blake, Sam Costello, Meg Doerr, Gene Grant, Deborah Haber, Holly Hey, Edmund B. Lingan, Meghan Irwin McCrum, Don McIver, Patrick McLeod, Michelle Otero, Krista Petrosino, Kristin Knaus Satterlee, Arbra Dale Triplett, Sherry R. Truffin, Todd C. Truffin, Diana Wagner, Donte Whisenant, and Sarah Young.
Our budget will cover the costs of printing (60%), shipping (30%), fees and contingency (10%).
Risks and challenges
The book is edited, designed, and ready to go. There may always be potential problems with the printer, but that would be a delay only. We are fulfilling the rewards ourselves, so it may take longer than we think.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)