Card games never cease to thrill or surprise. All you need is a shuffled pack of 52 cards to escape into a micro-universe of chance, strategy, calculated risk-taking and surprise.
Bridge is a card game played by two partners working together, which adds a whole new dimension - communication - into the mix. It is a very social game full of interactions, misunderstandings, success against the odds, and the inevitable disasters. Never a dull moment.
It is no ordinary card game. It is the ultimate collaborative card game.
But, although there are paintings and prints that show players at a bridge table, I couldn't find one that truly captures all the special aspects of this game. I wanted a tableau, something that captures all the different facets of this international community bonded together by one game. I wanted to show in a painting the underlying spirit that richly deserves the heading "Thank You Partner". So I reached out to the artist Martin Holt.
One of Martin's lithoprints hangs on the wall in my living room. It is a picture I spotted in the window of a gallery in Paris; loved it on sight; but the gallery was closed. The image haunted me, so several years after seeing it I tracked it down in the Internet and finally managed to buy my own copy of this beautiful numbered, signed, and embossed lithoprint. I adore this picture. Its liveliness and cheerfulness make me chuckle every time I look at it.
Martin is an internationally acclaimed artist, cartoonist and caricaturist who has had many solo exhibitions all over the world including New-York, Toronto, Paris, Brussels and Venice. He practiced as an architect for many years and had his own gallery in Tel-Aviv. He is also a portrait painter and much of his work has been published in newspapers and magazines. He lives and has his studio in a Bauhaus building in Tel-Aviv.
When I got hooked on bridge a few years ago, a flash of inspiration drove me to contact Martin to ask him if he'd paint a tribute to bridge players. It turned out we had similar backgrounds (we both come from the UK). We held weekly Skype calls discussing the elements of the tableau, and eventually hit on the idea of turning this into a crowd-funded venture on Kickstarter.
The original painting and the lithoprints
The lithoprints will be printed on finest quality, wood-free, acid-free heavyweight paper. The printer's location is at the traditional center of fine-quality printing, Heidelberg in Germany, using the most modern techniques and most vivid inks to achieve the best results.
The lithoprints will be the same size as the original painting.
Image width 52.0 cm. Image height 39.0 cm, (20.5 in x 15.4 in)
There is a white border (passepartout) around the image giving a total paper dimension of 60.0 cm x 49 cm (23.6 in x 19.3 in)
You have probably noticed two banners flying boldly above the center table. Martin has come up with a very nice design which looks just perfect.
But, because this is a community effort, and because good bridge players have the imagination it takes to surpass what common mortals think is humanly possible, there's a chance that the banners will look even better when this campaign finishes. So as we start the campaign, they are intentionally blank.
And for those of you who want a very personal message on your banners, there are rewards available so that with Martin's help you'll achieve just that.
So what's with the TYP "Thank You Partner"?
Each hand of bridge starts with an auction, which is communication using printed bidding cards in competitions or just speech in "kitchen bridge" (bars, after dinner...). While partners bid, they indirectly communicate the strength or shape of their hand to their partner. No secret codes are used, but you are severely constrained by the "language" used in the bidding so misunderstandings are inevitable. Because you play with the same partner throughout the evening, you have to stay on good terms with each other or you'll lose disastrously. So to ease tensions it's a convention that when you see partner's cards for the first time, no matter how miserable or awesome the cards are, you simply say "thank you partner". If you're playing online you type the abbreviation "typ" into the chat window.
This phrase captures the quintessence of partnerships; at the card table and beyond. It says, "We are in this together, taking risks, sacrificing, losing, winning, coming out on top - or bottom - but we're in it together - and buddy - I appreciate that. And I appreciate you."
So I want this picture hanging in my home to energize and celebrate all the partnerships in my life, at work, at play, both serious and frivolous. Thank you partner - we're in this together.
This lithoprint makes the perfect gift for special partners or friends who play bridge - birthday, work anniversary, favors done, pinnacles achieved. It can be hung with pride in their office, waiting room, lobby, or study.
And we can crowd-source this together.
Risks and challenges
R i s k s - Yes. we are realists.
I am a seasoned Kickstarter aficionado, so I understand the risks involved.
I have sourced the printer of the lithoprints and a printer for the cards. We have tested the packaging that will be used. Martin has seen the test results and agrees we're good to go. The painting is complete. We're all set to produce your rewards.
G e o g r a p h y
We live in different countries, but that doesn't faze us. My first published book was with an author the other side of the world (Australia). We never met until after the book had been published and it is now in its 3rd edition. I love the opportunity that modern Web tooling gives to make collaboration even easier.
Martin will travel from Israel to Germany to sign the prints. We clarified that right at the beginning and we are both looking forward to this epic meeting.
T e c h n i c a l - I n a c c u r a c i e s
There are certainly a few. For example, you don't find bridge players at the top of trees. Martin puts poetic license above the technical restrictions the game of bridge follows. But there are sufficient bridge-specific subtleties distributed around the painting to make this appealing to even the most nit-picking tournament director. We will point these out to you as the campaign progresses, and we welcome you to preempt us with your observations in the comments section of the Kickstarter campaign.
So by the end of the campaign, even backers who've never played a hand of bridge will appreciate the humor in this painting.
F i r e/ F l o o d /T h e - w o r l d - r u n s - o u t - o f - i n k . . .
Yep. We're covered. The bulk of the financial expenses are caused by the production of the prints and this is the very last step before shipping. So if things really do go seriously wrong, we're in position to offer refunds.
A w a r e n e s s
If you log on to one of the main online bridge platforms you'll see over 1000 partners playing day or night. There's no shortage of people playing bridge, no shortage of people who know someone who plays bridge, and no shortage of card-players who don't play bridge but do understand the value or partnerships and gratitude.
So we are super-grateful to each and every one of you who spreads the word, even if you cannot support us directly.
- (30 days)