Beautifully Banal is the creation of Alexander Culler and Danny Travis. The project celebrates the beauty of the ordinary (when mixed with a little whimsy) and follows the journey of Phineas the fly. The end product aims to produce an alternate reading of the “everyday”, in order to showcase how through the correct lens of thinking even the most banal of environments can become a fairy tale. It is a fantastical zine that merges story-telling efforts with rigorous drawing technique, the end result being a product we think both architectural enthusiasts and story-connoisseurs will love.
Beautifully Banal was the 2nd place winner in the Blank Space 2015 Architectural Fairytales Competition. For that, we developed a single self-contained 5-spread story that showed Phineas on his adventure to find his way home after being displaced for unknown reasons. Following the competition, we realized there was more to the story we wanted to tell and more drawing techniques we wanted to explore. It is now through this kickstarter that we are aiming to develop both a prequel and a sequel to our original story.
Story and Technique
Beautifully Banal is a detail-packed three part trilogy loaded with experience and adventure. Part 1 unveils the mysterious origin story of Phineas as the house fly is born outside of a suburban residence. Part 2 has our hero desperately searching for food in a commercial office tower. Part 3 pits Phineas against his greatest challenge yet-- an industrial water treatment facility.
Part 1: Fly by Night (residential)
Part 2: House Fly no More (commercial)
Part 3: The Industrial Flywheel (industrial)
Each page of the story is grounded in a strictly conventional architectural drawing type, to never be repeated within the book. This method allows a reader to fully engage with the environments in the story, and to uncover aspects of the story that would not be addressed in a standard comic book. For example, we see drawn instances of site plans, floor plans, ceiling plans, elevations, sections, plumbing sections, axons, exploded detail drawings, developed surface drawings, info graphics, multi-view projections, and more. Working in this way uncovers a variety of scales and vantage points to enhance the story, all injected with elements of narrative and character. On the flip side, the narrative components of the story activate these normally stoic drawing techniques to do work beyond mere representation and start to engage a series of possible worlds and scenarios behind the drawings. See below some scenes and artwork from our saga thus far, Beautifully Banal Part 2, House Fly No More. See a link to download Part 2 after the break.
ceiling plan detail
wall section detail
wall section detail
Download part 2 as a FREE PDF Today!
Beautifully Banal is produced by Alexander Culler and Danny Travis, designers based in Chicago, IL. Their blend of skill-sets allow this project to be possible, mixing the narrative minded with the detail oriented. Beautifully Banal, like other projects of their interest, is an effort to re-define the audience of architectural oriented works, by adopting the drawing style of cartoon and the highly accessible texts that reads like a fairytale. This way, a broader range of people can get in on the fun, and of course, what's more fun than architecture?
The standard edition of Beautifully Banal is a soft cover, portrait-styled book that opens up to reveal full-bleed 11x17 spreads. The book is 44 pages loaded with supremely fine details, writing, and extras. Each spread contains its own drawing type unique to itself while continuing a single story-arc. Back this project to find your name printed within the Beautifully Banal Universe.
We are thrilled to be a in position in which we can offer stretch goals! And now, without further adieu...
Stretch goal number 1 will allow us to upgrade each copy of the standard edition with a higher quality paper, to really make the black and white details of Beautifully Banal shine on the page. Meeting this goal will allow us to deliver a higher quality product for you (strength in numbers/bulk pricing) and so it is our ambition that you can help us get there.
See where it all began! Critical Mass was the first collaborative drawing effort between the team of Beautifully Banal, and in some ways acted as a pre-cursor to the conversations that allowed Beautifully Banal to form as a concept. Critical Mass follows the events of two paper architects (physically made out of paper) as they attempt to make sense of the built environment. If this amount of money is raised, all backers who have pledged at the $15 reward level and above will receive the bonus mini comic free as a separate booklet!
What in the world is this you ask? Well, it’s a commemorative drawing, of backers, with festive accessories! Upon completion of this goal, we will devote a full two page spread in the acknowledgements section of our zine that features a crowd of backers which reference, well, YOU the backer! Think of one of those big drawings that capture a whole universe of characters, something like you would see from the Simpsons, showcasing everyone in town. Each and every backer of this project will be represented in the crowd of people, and since it probably won’t really look like you all that much, we will send out a survey to let you choose a custom festive hat or accessory to wear, so at least you can have some control over how your visage is reproduced. This should be a lot of fun, and the more backers we can cram into the drawing the better, so be sure to spread the word!
But wait! You say, Beautifully Banal is supposed to be a trilogy, how can you add a chapter? Well, without giving too much away, let’s just say over the past couple of weeks we have been spinning a couple of ideas around as to how to connect this story to a larger one. This bonus chapter would serve as a tangential account to Beautifully Banal, and would be delivered from an alternative perspective. All of the same drawing styles and techniques from the original story would remain intact for this special bonus, of course.
Risks and challenges
We are still finishing up the artwork for our zine, but we are sticking to a rigid schedule to ensure it is completed in a timely manner. We have done ample research and have lined up a production strategy for all of our product printing and manufacturing, in addition to being fairly seasoned in setting up files for print. We do not foresee any particular problems with printing or distribution of this project, but if we do encounter problems with a particular print supplier, we are confident we can overcome them and source products from an equally qualified source, and deliver our rewards on schedule.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)