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The Hero in all of us: Portrait of America's video poster

We will travel through the US and transform average (+ not so average) citizens into Superheroes, creating a unique national portrait. Read more

Brussels, Belgium Art
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pledged of $9,500 goal
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This project was successfully funded on July 2, 2011.

We will travel through the US and transform average (+ not so average) citizens into Superheroes, creating a unique national portrait.

Brussels, Belgium Art
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About this project

Project Summary:

“Superheroes are in our imagination. If you have an imagination, you can be a Superhero.” In this project we find Abner Preis (artist) going to work. His job is to surprise, transform and empower people he meets as he moves around a city. His superpower is the ability to get you to imagine yours, to slightly shift your perspective, make you smile and remind us that even in the toughest of times- we all have the potential to be super.

It is an important job. This project will allow him to spend time working in the USA, empowering citizens around the country, reinvestigating the American landscape and creating a portrait of American Superheroes in their daily environments. 

Artist Statement:

“Basically this project is about me going out in the streets dressed up like a Superhero, meeting strangers and asking them; If you had three super powers what would they be? Then I turn them into Superheroes like me.

Throughout my travels I have met amazing people with different ages, languages, shapes, sizes, interests and everything else. I’ve met them on the street, where they work, shop, live and play. For all their differences I’ve found they all have something in common: They all are capable of being Superheroes, even if its just for a short amount of time.

I want to cross the country and transform average (and not so average) citizens into Superheroes. I plan to meet these people at tattoo parlors in Philadelphia, Haitian rescue centers in Miami, and Carpet stores in Columbus. I want to visit the Walter Reed Veterans Hospital in DC, a bakery in Chicago and community centers and music venues in New Orleans. A Superhero can be anywhere. I’ll make calls on a barber shop in Colorado, a car plant in Detroit, the Greyhound station in Austin or Native American story telling events in Arizona- I will travel wherever the network of support and friends takes me. The plan is to visit 10 – 15 cities depending on the money we can raise, to create heroes and share their powers with the public by putting them in a book and series of short films.  

I want to keep taking my art to people. I could use your support.”

Your Support:

Your money will be used for two things. The majority will be spent on making the journey possible: flights, bus tickets, gas, car rentals and a bed to sleep in from time to time. In many cities I will be hosted by a friend, a friend of a friend or a Superhero Project patron, which adds inspiration and increases the Superhero network in every city I visit. Getting there is where you’ll help me most, allowing me to create heroes across the country while spotlighting socially engaged organizations, public spaces and prominent local figures.

While I travel, Harlan will begin working on communicating the trip. The second part of the support we receive will be invested in a limited edition print run of the BOOK and DVD.  We will print the photographs and posters on the best museum quality archival paper, as well as make a strong and elegant book printed with great respect to detail and absolute care, which will share this sense of similarity, empowerment and American heroism with a broader public.  The book will then be published and distributed while the DVD will be presented at Short Film festivals as well as larger art institutions in Europe and the United States.

Curator’s Note:

“Trained as a painter, Abner Preis has been making waves over the past several years. In a three year period, he has been invited as a featured artist to prominent art fairs such as Art Rotterdam, Art Brussels and the Scope Art Fair (Art Basel Miami Beach) as well as to exhibit works in respected cultural institutions and museums like the MU in The Netherlands, the Marta Hereford Museum in Germany and Austria’s Kunsthalle amongst others. The Superhero Project has featured at Brussels Fashion Week, Istanbul Design Week and the Rotterdam International Film Festival, providing a body of work that successfully walks the tightrope between art as activism, fine art, fashion, design and entertainment. Compared to artists as diverse as Joseph Beuys or Charlie Chaplin, Preis builds on the history of art to challenge it, using optimism, joy and imagination as the tools of his tender assault.

He boldly rejects a tyranny of style and sweats instead to create an emotional composition, which brings the audience into the artwork. While the documentation of these encounters has been acquired by serious public and private collections, the real work lives on in the memory of people who never imagined dressing up as a hero when they got out of bed on the morning they met Abner. It is a project that illustrates the power of art and makes a statement about what a serious practice this is. One that has staying power as it proves it’s worth instantaneously. Preis may be to art something like what the Frankfurt school was to philosophy. This is art that not only fights for beauty, but actively makes a difference in people’s lives. It is not produced to be discussed, but to be lived and felt.” 

More Information:

Want to see what some of these great rewards look like?

To see examples of rewards, interviews with Abner Preis, videos from cities the project has already visited, a selection of the nearly 1000 heroes already created or more about Abner’s curriculum and broader practice, please visit: or  


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    4 backers

    You’ll receive our personal thanks on a postcard from the original Superhero Project exhibition in Brussels and updates on all our activities.

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    7 backers

    Let us know what size you are and your post card will come packed in limited edition ‘I am a Superhero’ T-shirt (only available for project patrons).

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    26 backers

    When people ask you about your T-shirt you can now show them your signed copy of the book, which will be filled with beautiful images and stories from the Super Hero trip. You will also be given personal credit in the book and thanked for your helping hand in making this happen.

  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    8 backers

    Everything above + signed original artwork (11x17 inches / Black and White poster.) These posters are printed on archival paper and are a part of a series of 10 b/w images from the American tour and are limited editions of 50 per image (signed and numbered).

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    3 backers

    Everything above + signed original artwork (12x24 inches / Color photograph) from an edition of 20 limited signed and numbered pieces. These photos, will be part of the final Super Hero collection, and will be presented in various art fairs and institutions.

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    2 backers

    You also receive your choice of one print from the limited edition photography collection (24 x 36) created during this project and a limited edition copy of the Video. You will also be given a credit in the DVD as well as the book.

  • You selected
    Pledge $10,000

    0 backers

    Super Patron! You become the sponsor of your city of choice. The project visits this city and includes your family, company or local community portrait in the book and film + you get an evening with Abner Preis who will tell stories and share images and video from other cities in the journey.

Funding period

- (60 days)