GENERAL PROJECT INFO
Hi, My name is Marty Allen. I make and sell Sock Puppet Portraits (among other nice things). So far I've made 52 Sock Puppet Portraits, each with a name and a story, mostly in related sets of characters with extensive lives online.
I'm trying to fund the creation and production of the nine newest characters, The Series 4 Sock Puppet Portraits, and their related book! It would be an awesome dream come true! If I meet my goal of $5000, I'll produce about 1000 new pieces of small affordable art and I will E-publish the first of the related novels: "Theodore and the Seven Layers of Space, Book 1: The Search for Mozzarella Botticelli."
I've been fortunate enough to sell my art full time for the last six years, mostly selling in NYC parks, fairs, and shows. It is my astronaut-dream to not only continue to do this, but to start to tell the epic story that has grown behind my artwork. Due to new legal restrictions on where and when artists can sell their work in New York parks (click here to see a documentary video I was featured in about this struggle), a broken printer, and an increased cost in frames, I need to reach out in order to fund the book and the next series of nine Sock Puppet Portraits. Kickstarter seems like a great solution!
Many of the rewards are for early, as-yet-unreleased-or-seen characters. None of them have been created or photographed yet, but I assure you, they'll be awesome!
In the meantime, here's some sketches and an early preview of one of the lead characters, MOZZARELLA BOTTICELLI:
The first draft of the book is already about 1/3 of the way done. The mythology and universe of The Seven Layers of Space has been incubating inside my art for as long as I've been making things, with early traces and characters going as far back as grade school! It has been so awesome to finally start telling the tale!
In addition to making and selling Sock Puppet Portraits, over the last two years I've added other artwork into the mix: Professor Hero's Old Timey Automatons and The White Book. All this stuff is from the same mythology, hinting at the bigger story of "The Seven Layers of Space."
A BIT ABOUT REWARDS AND UPDATES
Anyone who pledges $25 or more gets a 4"x6" KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE SOCK PUPPET PORTRAIT of
STARSKI the Kickstartin' HORSE!
Born of lava, saliva, and an insatiable love of money (and honey), Starski is here to kick everything! He'll kick it all: cans, telephones, kids, cheeses, boxes, boxers, boxes of boxers. You name it, he'll kick it. He's got stars in his eyes and his eyes on the prize, just don't stand too close.
Here's an example of how the canvases work, featured as many of the rewards:
Pictured here is the 8"x10" canvas. That means it is about the size of a standard piece of paper, but it is printed on canvas, and then stretched over wooden bars (by me!). They're really nice. The other size offered is 20"x30", which is pretty big. You see a few hanging behind me in the video, about as long as spreading your arms out. If you're me...
The 20"x30" canvases are too big to ship stretched at the same cost as the reward. If you are in NYC or can pick it up here, that price is fine. I can ship it to you rolled and you can have it stretched where you are, or we can figure out shipping.
PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL DONATIONS INCLUDE THE COST OF SHIPPING NATIONALLY. PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU ARE NOT LOCATED IN THE United States, I'D STILL LOVE YOUR SUPPORT BUT IT COSTS MORE TO GET YOU YOUR REWARD!
Stay tuned for more video updates! I've got several planned that explain the story and work or just highlight the silly fun of making the video, and I'm going to unleash a few more rewards as the month goes on to entice more awesome-ness!
The Sock Puppet Portraits began as small framed photographs of Sock Puppets I made. After running some workshops while living in Boston, I made a bunch of puppets from the leftovers. I've always had a love for finding strange small picture frames, too. One stray night at work, I shot some stark, simple, and up-close photos of the puppets just for fun. I put these puppet pictures inside the little frames, and the portraits were born. When I moved to New York in 2006, I thought, "Maybe people would like these and buy these if I tried to sell them..." They did. Then it was my job. Sock Puppet Portrait Salesman. The only one in the world...(to the best of my knowledge).
Soon enough, stories began to surround the individual Puppet Portraits. As I talked to people, I got to know them (both the people AND the puppets), and my love of character-building flourished. I began by simply giving them names and quirky habits, then in 2006 I started giving them individual Myspace profiles. Soon, one of the Series 1 Portraits, Uncle Monsterface became the mascot for the touring and related rock band (we've released four albums with a new EP this summer). The nine from Series 2 each got their own individual bands and at least one song in the first person. Series 2.5 came along right as Facebook broke, so these characters became the subject of a Facebook quiz, related “Appreciation Society” Group, and one of the more popular characters, Spot, received a Facebook of his own.
Then Terrycloth Green got a Twitter (he was already in a bunch of other loud-mouthed NSFW videos on Youtube, anyways). The Fabulous Flying Zambinis were featured in a video. Others appeared in more videos, including this outrageous cover of Madonna’s Like A Prayer.
Amidst this wonderful chaos, my love of character had evolved into a love of story. To test my mettle, I set out to tell one — a contained sock puppet soap opera. The stage was set for the nine characters from 2011's Series 3 to star in Sock Puppet Manor. Thus far three fully-produced web-based episodes have aired with more coming soon.
For Series 3.5 I ducked out of the internet, focusing more on design and subtle expansions of the mythology. I made a few extras for the Soap Opera (Dr. Vampire, Tony Imhotep [mummy], and Phineas Von Cliven [elephant]), three noteworthy Kansans (Amelia Earhart, John Brown, and Clyde Tombaugh) for my friends at “Wonder Fair“, and three characters from Uncle Monsterface’s upcoming album, “Rise of the Lava Men” (so far we've only seen the Scuba Diver — Ninja and Sports Robot coming soon!).
Meanwhile, I secretly began work on a permanent social network home for the Sock Puppet Portraits: Click here to see the early beta test for the Sock Puppet Portraits Private social network, MONSTERFACEBOOK.
Most importantly, I began to truly focus on the bigger story that I'd been jotting down notes from for so many years now. I pushed a few other lines of work that were tied into the bigger mythology (The Automatons and The White Book) publicly and worked privately on a few others (The Case Files of The Magician Detective, The Power Patterns and The Doodlings of The Grid), all of which helped to solidify the story. I dug in to the process of telling one epic tale from The Seven Layers of Space — that of a young boy named Theodore and his quest to find his friend, save the day, and find his place in the world that he feels so separate from.
I'm fascinated with this idea of creating a body of artwork that acts as artifacts from a larger tale, and excited to let the already-successful Sock Puppet Portraits act as a cornerstone for that universe. It would truly be my dream to start sharing this story with the rest of the world.
The Series 4 Sock Puppet Portraits, the nine from the book, will include: Theodore (the boy with no Prophecy), The Magician Detective, Mozzarella Botticelli, Professor Hero, Mr. Caruthers (Ghost Monkey), Isobel Earhart, G'zort Bleep, and "Hoody" and "Bunny".
I make everything (except for the frames, which I do often alter). My printer broke, I ran out of frames, and I don't have anywhere awesome to sell them anymore besides the internet. But more importantly, I want to make new art and tell this huge story. Your support will go directly towards getting a new, fine art-quality printer, paper, ink, approximately 1000 frames, a short run of canvas pieces, and production of the book.
If we exceed the goal, that's awesome, and further support would go towards printing the back tags, funding the NEXT series of Puppet Portraits (which I already have planned), updating my woefully-outdated e-commerce site, as well as simply making more of the ones that already exist.
- (30 days)