Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Breast Cancer Superhero Portrait Project project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound
  • Off
    • English
$340 pledged of $2,000 goal
backers
$340 pledged of $2,000 goal
backers

About this project

This project began in 2012 when two things happened:

One, I stumbled across the concept of doing "everyday superhero" portraits in the studio after painting my son as Spider-Man. There was something about the energy in that image - you know it's a boy in a mask - but he KNOWS he can do it, he KNOWS he's going to get the bad guy and save the day ---- I realized this was more than one kid in a costume - this was about something in all of us.

Spidey - painting on canvas by Barbara Porwit, 2009 (photo credit: BamBamGrafix)
Spidey - painting on canvas by Barbara Porwit, 2009 (photo credit: BamBamGrafix)

Two, it seemed that everyone I knew started getting breast cancer. Not just one or two, but ten or twelve women I cared about were suddenly somewhere between diagnosis and death. Like everyone, I was shocked. I was worried about my friends, but not sure what to do. Then I realized - what am I doing in the studio?

I connected the dots, and the Breast Cancer Superhero Portrait Project was born.

Artist Barbara Porwit and her painting Ruby Runner from St Paul Pioneer Press Oct 2013. Photo: Jean Pieri
Artist Barbara Porwit and her painting Ruby Runner from St Paul Pioneer Press Oct 2013. Photo: Jean Pieri

Our goal is to celebrate and inspire the heroic nature of individuals affected by breast cancer. I work with selected women, creating large scale full color oil portraits of them as their superhero of choice. We then share the paintings and stories of the women in hospitals, medical centers and community sites.

It's a intense involvement with each subject, anywhere from three to six months from our first conversation to the last brushstroke of paint on the canvas. We take our time, so they can really enjoy the process of answering the basic question: "If you were immortalized as your superhero of choice, who would you be and why?" It's an individualized journey from superpowers to pose to hair and costume ---

Wonder Woman Katy (Katy Tessman Stanoch) - painting by Barbara Porwit, 2013 (photo credit: Doug Webb)
Wonder Woman Katy (Katy Tessman Stanoch) - painting by Barbara Porwit, 2013 (photo credit: Doug Webb)

There are six paintings completed so far. They have been on continuous display since the inaugural show at Fox Egg Gallery in Minneapolis October 2013. Everywhere we go it's clear we are fulfilling the mission. People strongly respond to these images of real people they can relate to depicted in their glory - reimagined as playfully powerful and capable of fantastic feats. Many even repurpose their lives after cancer.

Phoenix Rising (Lisa Dahlseid) with her daughter, Boynton Health Service, University of Minnesota. January 2014 (photo credit: Tom Wolfe)
Phoenix Rising (Lisa Dahlseid) with her daughter, Boynton Health Service, University of Minnesota. January 2014 (photo credit: Tom Wolfe)

I've begun work on the next subject: Anca Sima, the "Butterfly of Rio" --- Anca is an amazing woman - her infectious energy and zest for life infuse everyone lucky enough to meet her. When she was waiting for test results, and she knew they might be serious, she told her husband, "I think I need to go to Rio - to Carnaval -" - he absolutely agreed. She booked the trip with her daughter and seven close female friends. When the doctor gave her the results (and they were not good) - she said, "Thank you doctor - I am going to Rio de Janeiro. When I get back, we can talk about my treatment plan." - she is absolutely determined to get the most life possible in her years!

Anca Sima with her wings on the streets of Rio during Carnaval
Anca Sima with her wings on the streets of Rio during Carnaval

We chose a pose from her trip to Rio: arms open to the world, wearing the wings she bought from a street vendor in the Carnaval. We asked community members to help create design ideas for her butterfly wings, and I'll be incorporating some of Anca's favorites into the painting. I've done the preliminary drawing and have started the shadow underpainting.

Work in Progress: "Butterfly of Rio" beginning of shadow underpainting: August 2015. Artist: Barbara Porwit
Work in Progress: "Butterfly of Rio" beginning of shadow underpainting: August 2015. Artist: Barbara Porwit

This kickstarter will go to fund my time working with Anca and completing the portrait, equipment, materials, publicity and help with her unveiling in November 2015. It's already underway: now it just remains to raise the funds to complete the work - any funds in excess of the goal will go to fund further portraits in the series.

REWARDS: We have some wonderful greeting cards and 11" x 17" posters of the completed superhero paintings already made and ready to ship to our backers - as well as some great Wonder Woman Katy fridge magnets! At upper levels of support we are also offering some personalized studio visits and pencil or full color oil portraits custom made for you. These could make great Christmas gifts for some special people in your life!

We hope very much to hear from all of you ----

Radiation Diva poster - 11" x 17"
Radiation Diva poster - 11" x 17"

Thank you to everyone out there for your support ----

Risks and challenges

The truth is I'm quite committed to the production schedule for this painting. If all goes well it should be ready for its unveiling in November 2015.

It's always a challenge to complete these portraits as I am a single mom with a special needs child, a full time job and am taking classes both for medical training and painting study with an individual artist's grant I received this year.

However, even with these challenges the project has managed to get as far as it has. As of now, the canvas is built, the source images gathered, the preliminary drawing done, the shadow underpainting started. The show is already booked for a four month stint at Owatonna Hospital Allina as part of their Healing Arts Program in partnership with the Owatonna Arts Center. They have the artist's reception (Nov 17) and other programming scheduled.

Even if the painting is not quite complete for the artist's reception we can add an unveiling event for later during the run sometime before end of February 2016. Or we could book an alternate site for an unveiling here in the Minneapolis area with one of our partner organizations like Gilda's Club.

I think we can make this happen! Thank you for your support!

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    A heartfelt thanks and gratitude for helping us with Barbara's next Superhero Portrait

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Wonder Woman Katy magnet or 2 greeting cards

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Wonder Woman Katy magnet + 2 greeting cards

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Full set of greeting cards (6) or a poster of one of the superheroes

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Poster of one of the superheroes (of your choice) + Wonder Woman Katy magnet or 2 greeting cards

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    1 poster of a superhero (of your choice) + Full set of greeting cards (6) + Wonder Woman Katy magnet

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    All 6 posters of the superheroes + Wonder Woman Katy magnet

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    All 6 posters of the superheroes + Full set of greeting cards (6) + Wonder Woman Katy Magnet

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    All 6 posters + Full set of greeting cards + Wonder Woman Katy magnet + Recognition at the unveiling of Barbara's next superhero portrait (November in Owatonna, MN)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Studio visit with Barbara + Beverages and hors' d'ouvres + Services for your very own 11"x14" PENCIL PORTRAIT + Recognition at the unveiling of Barbara's next surefire portrait (November in Owatonna, MN)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    The whole package! All 6 posters of the superheroes + Full set of greeting cards (6) + Wonder Woman Katy magnet + Studio visit with Barbara + Beverages and hors' d'ouvres + Services for your very own OIL PAINTING SUPERHERO PORTRAIT (or portrait of choice) on an 11"x14" canvas +Recognition at the unveiling of Barbara's next superhero portrait (November in Owatonna, MN)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (31 days)