a role model for the unheard
This comic is about the struggle to not only to be heard, but also to be treated compassionately and humanely.
SPEAK UP tells two very different stories at once: my story as I seek to find my voice as an artist and the story of David Wojnarowicz. For those who don't know about him yet, David Wojnarowicz was a gay New York artist in the 80s and an activist at the height of the culture war and the AIDS pandemic. This was a time when those dying of AIDS were unfairly stigmatized and were at best ignored; at worst, hated. A time when art was to be censored as obscene. Instead of accepting the injustices heaved upon him, David fought. And it has encouraged me to fight. And I hope his story encourages others.
May: So I just finished writing, drawing, paper researching and digitally organizing a full color non-standard shaped comic.
June: I stayed after work to print the bare minimum number of copies I thought I needed for the Ladydrawers exhibition in Chicago, SEX. MONEY. RACE. GENDER. and cropped them in a rush to go home. I shipped some to Chicago. I sent a few off to people who I felt were owed copies. I forgot to give some people copies for a week.
And then I started getting great responses. From Sur Rodney Sur (I work with him at Lorraine O'Grady Studio). From Robert Ransick, my former professor to whom the book is dedicated. From Cynthia Carr, the author of the amazing biography of David Wojnarowicz that came out last year. A short, specific response from James Romberger, one of the artists of 7 Miles a Second, the beautiful comic written by David Wojnarowicz which was republished in December of last year. Also, an incredibly detailed response from Lorraine O'Grady who also mentioned my project in a lecture in early July.
And I realized (and I was told this): I need more copies. I need to get this out there!
And for that, I need your help. Full color printing is not cheap, neither is a custom size. I also want this to be a nice item to hold and read and so I want certain paper quality.
I've done a lot of research. The best price for 200 copies? With shipping? About $650 bucks. Maybe. No wonder it's so hard for self-publishers to just break even!
Risks and challenges
Risks? What if I'm left with hundreds of copies and no place to sell them?
Well, I've got most of that covered. There are a lot of options in this city.
What if I can't afford to print at the custom size? I'll need access to a decent paper cutter and that means buying one. Can I afford that?
I've looked into that possibility. While it's far from desirable (adding hours of labor, for one thing), thankfully they are not too pricey, as long as it's not industry grade.
What if they don't print right, even after a proof? What if the proof shows me that the only affordable printer doesn't meet my standards?
If that proves to be the case, I am prepared to make up the difference in costs, if that's what it will take.
- (45 days)