Update! We have already reached our initial goal, BUT I will be adding something awesome to every physical package for every additional $2500 raised. What has been added so far:
- $5000 - FUNDED!
- $7500 - Adding Brooklyn Buildings and Bookmarks
- $10,000 - NYC Gift Wrap
- $12,500 - City Stickers
- $15,000 - Note cards and Book Improvements
- $17,500 - Collaborative New York
- $20,000 - ???
Part art book, part graphic novel, Continuous City tells the story of two young New Yorkers, Allen and Pearl, as they meet in a New York that is continuously transforming between a variety of shapes and sizes. From a circular New York, to a compact New York, to a New York laid on its side, they wonder if their relationship can withstand a New York that is still struggling to find its true form.
The book will feature hundreds of actual buildings of New York City that I have individually hand-painted with watercolor and ink. In addition to a book, there will be an interactive component where you can create, narrate, and share your own versions of New York.
What Will Be Created
Five primary things will be created as a result of the success of this campaign: (1) A book (both physical and electronic versions), (2) a poster, (3) art prints, (4) shirts, and (5) an interactive web application.
(1) The Book
The physical book will be hardcover, approximately 120 full-color pages, consisting of about 60% artwork and 40% text. All books pre-ordered through Kickstarter will be signed! A free preview of the book (the first 2 of 12 chapters), can be previewed by clicking below:
I will also be creating an electronic version of the book, in formats compatible with a web browser, iPad, and Kindle.
Any money raised beyond the initial goal ($5000), will go directly to making the book and rewards better, including thicker paper, offset printing (vs digital printing), fancy embossed cover designs, custom end sheets, and much more! I will list the details of these improvements as the campaign progresses. Suggestions are welcome!
(2) The Poster
A poster will be made that contains over 200 hand-painted buildings of New York City and their names. It will be 24 x 36” on matte poster paper. Click thumbnail below to view a larger image.
(3) The Art Prints
Limited Edition art prints are available as a reward. They will be printed on 18 x 24” gallery-grade watercolor paper, signed and numbered. Click below to see a larger view of a sample art print.
(4) The Shirt
The shirt will cram in over 50 buildings of New York City onto one shirt! Once the campaign is complete, you can choose your appropriate size (male or female, S, M, L, XL). Designs are subject change and will tentatively be printed on American Apparel brand shirts (unless there are suggestions otherwise).
(5) The App
An interactive web application will be created to accompany the book. It will allow readers to create, narrate, and share their own versions of New York City. You can view a very early prototype by clicking the screenshot below. Feedback is welcome!
History & Inspiration
The road to Continuous City was a long one. Following my previous (and still ongoing) art project called Cities of You, where I envisioned people as imaginary places using words and paintings, I became interested in the idea of a place as a living, breathing creature. I then set out to follow this idea by attempting to write and illustrate a story in the perspective of a place.
Many questions arose, like: What is the relationship between a place and its people? Do the people shape the identity of a place, or does a place shape the identity of its people? When we move, what do we take with us? What do we leave behind? What draws us to particular places? What drives us away?
I turned to my current city (New York City). I asked natives, immigrants, commuters, and visitors. Why New York City? I began to ask myself the same questions. The answers were mixed, and perhaps invoked a deeper, more intimate question of personal identity.
It made me think of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities (a persistent inspiration for my recent creative projects). A city can be something very different depending on who you ask, as each person perceives their own version of their city.
Our relationships with the places we live in are as complex as our relationships with ourselves and other people. Continuous City ended up being a composite of those different relationships and feelings towards the places we live in. Some are like love letters, some are like formal complaints, some are like letters of regret to a city in which we live or left behind.
Short Answer: In order to self-publish my book, I will need enough pre-orders to print them in bulk. I will be listing specific numbers/costs in the FAQ on the bottom of this page as the campaign progresses.
Long Answer: Continuous City is a personal project that I have been working on in any and all my free time when I am not working at my day job as a web developer. I enjoy the freedom of working independently without worrying about the “marketability” of my work or my “optimized target audience.” I believe the best art is personal and honest art, and the best audience are those who appreciate and enjoy said personal and honest art.
I am reaching out to you (Kickstarter), directly, for a few reasons: (1) The cost of printing books is expensive; the more I can print them in bulk, the more cost-effective (and cheaper for the end reader) it will be. And (2) I would like to write and design the book exactly how I believe it should be, and take the feedback of my supporters and readers rather than those of a third-party publisher.
I am a web developer and independent artist living and working in New York City. I most recently worked on a project called Cities of You where I envisioned people as imaginary cities using words and paintings, which ran a successful Kickstarter campaign here. As a project creator of a Kickstarter campaign and a backer of many, I deeply believe in Kickstarter’s vision and what they have accomplished so far.
On a personal note, this project is part of a bigger (life) goal for me to focus more on art professionally. Up until now, art has been a passion that I have been fulfilling on nights and weekends when I am not coding websites (which is what I do during the day). I am extremely happy and grateful to have this setup, since it gives me the freedom to work on art projects that I enjoy. However, in the most ideal of ideal worlds, I would like to work on my art during the day as well, which would (theoretically) double my output. Continuous City is the first of (hopefully) many projects that will get me closer to that goal.
- Fantasy Versions of New York, Continuously Scrambled via The Atlantic Cities
- An Artist Has Hand-Painted 200 New York City Buildings So Far via CurbedNY
- Redesigning New York City: Brian Foo’s Continuous City via Untapped Cities
- Continuous City, Illustrated Book That Explores Fanciful Alternate Layouts of New York City via Laughing Squid
- Continuous City: A Stunning Art Book and Graphic Novel About NYC via JazJaz
- Newww.York via Manhattan User Guide
Giving credit where credit is due. This project and campaign is a "grass-roots" production, and I've received a lot of help from good friends:
Vicky Du is a freelancer videographer and film editor in Brooklyn, NY. She did my awesome Kickstarter video. Check out her website and contact her if you need any awesome videos done!
Wendy Fung is a calligrapher and illustrator in Brooklyn, NY. Notice the awesome lettering of the "Continuous City" title? She did that by hand. Check out her website if you're looking for an amazing calligrapher!
Risks and challenges
Here I will outline the main challenges, what has been done so far, and what I still need to do.
What I have done so far: A rough version of the book is written and the artwork is complete, but I am in the process of laying it out. For the app, I have built an early prototype, and will be looking to get feedback from my backers to complete it. For the remainder of the prizes (prints, posters, shirts), the designs are complete, but I have yet to choose a vendor.
Vendors: I am currently in the process of choosing the best vendors for printing the books, prints, posters, and shirts. Factors I am look at (in order of importance) are: quality of product, service, cost, and convenience (e.g. location, fulfillment). If anyone has suggestions for specific vendors, feel free to share!
Shipping: Depending on how many people end of backing this project, I will use one of two delivery methods: (1) If I can handle shipping myself, I will package the prizes myself and use USPS to ship them out via priority mail, or (2) if the demand is beyond my ability to do everything myself, I will use Amazon’s Fulfillment Services to do the shipping and handling, in order to guarantee the punctual receipt of your prizes.
Me: This project means a lot to me and making sure you (the backers) receive the best possible product is my top priority. I am confident that I will be able to deliver the prizes as described in my campaign details (if not better). If any issues arise, I will communicate them directly with you as I work to resolve them.
Also, this is not my first Kickstarter campaign and self-published book. I successfully ran a Kickstarter campaign and delivered the rewards a little over a year ago. Since then, I believe I have a better handle and understanding of the risks and challenges involved in fulfilling Kickstarter rewards and self-publishing a book.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter