The cartoonist, painter, illustrator, and sculptor Herbert Crowley was an innovator at the dawn of comics, and a defining figure of the early 20th century New York City avant garde art scene.
He exhibited work alongside Picasso, van Gogh, and Monet. He received countless glowing reviews. His visionary cartoons were published in the now-storied New York Herald Sunday comics section, printed on the reverse side of Winsor McCay's masterpiece LITTLE NEMO IN SLUMBERLAND.
He was a rising star in a brand new form of art. And then, in 1917, he vanished from the art world, never to be heard from again.
In October of 2016, we launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund THE TEMPLE OF SILENCE, a large-format art book and biography collecting the work and telling the story of this fascinating specter from vanishing past.
A lot of backers, as enthralled by Crowley's astonishing artwork as we are, asked us if we would be willing to produce high end fine art prints of some of the images featured in the campaign. So when Kickstarter invited us to remix the Crowley project for their Kickstarter Gold program, we knew exactly what to do.
So, with our giant, gorgeous books currently rolling off the presses, we are relaunching this glorious campaign with a brand new line of limited edition of archival giclée fine art prints. We are incredibly excited to share our works in progress with all of you, and keep spreading the gospel of Herbert. We hope you'll get on board with this campaign to save one of the great geniuses of early 20th century art from being lost forever in the sands of time.
Where did Herbert Crowley go?
Our tome includes hundreds of newly discovered Herbert Crowley pieces which have never been published or exhibited anywhere, in any form.
Our seven years of primary-source research have taken us from Texas to Toronto to Zurich. We've literally crawled into the ruins of Crowley's collapsed home in upstate New York, reclaiming incredible artwork from the raccoons and silverfish.
We've spent time with Crowley's family in Zurich and New York City, digging up a huge amount of correspondence and ephemera, and slowly and painstakingly uncovered his long-forgotten story—a strange and incredible saga that arcs across the planet, from the Americas to Europe to the middle and far East, through the front line of the first World War, the early days of experimental theatre, and the inner circle of the visionary psychoanalyst Carl Jung.
There is a peculiar void in the world now, where Crowley’s artwork used to be. An artist of this caliber should never have been—and cannot remain—forgotten.
With your help, we hope to bring his work to the world.
"As someone interested in the weirdnesses and Roads Not Taken in the history of comix, Crowley is one of the most idiosyncratic and quirky artists in the cohort. I salute him, and you for doing the heavy-lifting archaeological dig of bringing him to the surface again."
"[Crowley's characters] are complex icons, more akin to mandalas than any cartoon character. Crowley accomplished a vision in newsprint that could only have snuck into print under the guise of a comic strip, at a time when the medium was first finding its feet."
"Herbert Crowley's insanely detailed architectural renderings, hairy devils, and countless creepy creatures are mind-boggling, deeply mysterious, and long overdue for a collection. His work was psychedelic decades before that term came into use. I wish he had been around when I was publishing Dope Comix."
"...drawings by Mr. Crowley are quite interesting in as much as they contain curious symbols referring to the sympathicus as well as to the multiple luminosities of the collective unconscious. He has been driven in to astounding depths -- quite dangerous when consciousness is not up to it. Such things usually leave a peculiar void in the conscious world after they have passed."
-Carl Jung, 1951
THE TEMPLE OF SILENCE: FORGOTTEN WORKS & WORLDS OF HERBERT CROWLEY is an oversized hardcover archival art book that contains the greatest works of Crowley's remarkable career. At 108 pages and 11" x 17”, this handsomely produced prestige edition will contain a wealth of his artwork, much of it at its original size—alongside a comprehensive 20,000 word biography recounting his unforgettable tale. What we’re publishing here is not just a collection of his work—it’s a definitive volume celebrating and contextualizing a unique creative force in the world. This book is how history will remember Herbert Crowley.
The edition will be printed on lush textured 150 gsm Ivoprint stock, and designed by Paul Kepple and Max Vandenberg, the geniuses who crafted JJ Abram's and Doug Dorst's meta-novel S, one of the most ambitious design projects of the past decade.
For this Kickstarter Gold campaign, we've decided to create a line of fine art giclée prints, each hand numbered and limited to an edition of 100. They will be printed in archival ink on archival velvet fine art paper. The five following images will be available as prints through this campaign.
"The Effect of the Moonlight is Extraordinary." 11" x 15"
"Ghouls." 10" x 16"
"Slander." 10" x 16"
Untitled Mountain Landscape. 6" x 17"
"Rye." 10 x 16"
All backers at the slipcase and slipcase-plus levels will be officially inducted into the Order of Crowley as Knight-Saviors, empowered to spread the gnostic secrets of of the Wigglemuch gospels wherever they are necessary, in the material plane and beyond. They will receive their identification pins free of charge.
These 1" beauties will also be available as their own reward tier at the $15 level, or as a $10 add-on for any backer already receiving the hardcover book.
These unique pins will be handsome, sturdily crafted, and, of course, imbued with the spiritual power of Crowley's great icon, the Wigglemuch.
If you want it as an add-on to an existing reward package, just message us and let us know!
A print of Herbert Crowley's gorgeous TEMPLE OF LOVE illustration, produced at 11x17" -- the same size as Crowley's original art. A copy of the print will be included in any reward package over $100, and is available individually or as an add-on to any other package for $25.
A replica of the prints that Herbert Crowley personally produced in 1913. At a luxurious 27x20" in size, this print will show off the glorious detail of this mind-boggling drawing. Here's a photo of Justin in Zurich, looking at one of Crowley's Temple of Dreams prints in his family's collection.
"NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT" ACCORDION FOLDS
We're replicating Crowley's mysterious Nemo Me Impune Lacessit accordion-fold arcana set! These little darlings look great at 5x16" on 100# uncoated paper.
A limited run of two hundred hand-numbered slipcase editions of THE TEMPLE OF SILENCE, signed by author Justin Duerr and publisher Josh O'Neill, will be created exclusively for this campaign. The slipcases are double die cut in two layers, to create a recessed presentation, with dusted champage foil on rich grey paper. All slipcase editions also include an 11x17" TEMPLE OF LOVE print and a DRM-free digital edition of the book.
ORIGINAL ART EDITIONS
TEMPLE OF SILENCE author Justin Duerr, who is a highly regarded visionary artist in his own right, will create original pieces of art using Crowley's characters and settings.
The purchaser of each of these drawings will also receive a special limited-run slipcase edition, signed by the author and editor, as well as a TEMPLE OF LOVE print, a DRM-free digital edition of the book, and an all-access digital pass to Justin's complete research.
CROWLEY GROTESQUE SCULPTURES
We are pleased to offer replicas of Herbert Crowley's strange & charming grotesque sculptures in resin, bronze and gold-plating!
These lovelies will be sculpted by Greg Nangle of Outcast Studios, who worked for years with H.R. Giger and cast many of his most famous pieces. They'll be molded via lost-wax casting -- the exact same process that Crowley used when creating his original sculptures over one hundred years ago.
Here's a video about Greg's artistic process. We are very lucky to have such a talented and experienced sculptor making work for this campaign.
STRETCH GOAL #1: STICKERS!
If we reach the funding level of $15,000, we will produce a set of three different Herbert Crowley stickers. Each sticker will be included with every slipcase edition of the book, and the stickers will be available in packs of 12 (x4 of each sticker) as a $5 add-on for anyone already purchasing the book, or a $10 stand-alone reward.
STRETCH GOAL #2: PATCHES!
If we reach the funding level of $20,000, we will produce 2" embroidered patches featuring Herbert Crowley's Wigglemuch character . A free patch will be included with every slipcase edition of the book, and the patches will be available as a $10 add-on for anyone already purchasing the book, or a $15 stand-alone reward.
Philadelphia artist, musician and scholar Justin Duerr is best known for his research documented in the 2011 Sundance award-winning documentary Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles.
The term obsessive is very often employed in describing both his artwork and his unflagging commitment to research. His devotion to this project has been characteristically all-consuming. By following every possible lead and dissecting every available trace of Herbert Crowley around the world, he has managed to uncover a remarkable story, resurrect a lost piece of art history, and unearth the heart-stopping artworks of a true forgotten visionary. The rediscovery of Herbert E. Crowley is the second major research undertaking of Duerr’s life.
BEEHIVE BOOKS is a new small press founded by the artist and designer Maëlle Doliveux, and editor and Locust Moon co-publisher Josh O’Neill. They just finished funding a line of literary classics, illustrated by great modern artists Paul Pope, Yuko Shimizu and Bill Sienkiewicz. Along with his partners at Locust Moon, Josh published the Kickstarter-funded projects THE LOST WORK OF WILL EISNER and the Eisner and Harvey Award-winning anthology LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM. THE TEMPLE OF SILENCE is another art book exploring the influences and legacies of the early days of cartooning and illustration.
Risks and challenges
There are fewer risks than usual with this campaign, since the books have already been funded, and are currently in the capable hands of our printing partners. We are producing the giclèe prints in-house, so we will have total control over quality and color reproduction. Problems certainly can and will pop up along the way, but we are well equipped to handle them. We have plenty of experience with book publishing and with fulfilling Kickstarters, and we can guarantee that we will deliver beautiful rewards to each and every one of our backers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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