Friday, July 26, 2013

A Year Later: Retrospective. Create to Destroy.

The alchemy of the process...

About a year ago today the fundraiser for Words of Traitors kicked off. A year later, it’s been released as a book, an ebook, and some of the pieces have been featured in numerous art shows across Philadelphia. Moving on to new projects in the same general world over the next year. Many thanks to the artists that collaborated with me on this one, and of course to the contributors to the Indiegogo campaign, who helped me defray the costs of producing a project like this.

But I have a bit more to share here then just the usual back-patting and congratulations for making it past the finish line without dying or whatever. With a project like this you're really talking about 40-50 hours a week for five or six months to get it from concept to first edition. Definitely a labor of love. Why do it? I am forced to wonder what the meaning behind all of this is, when all is said and done. Beyond the narratives, beyond the art and brass tacks, what's the meaning and the message? I can't say I've found anything definitive, but I haven't found nothing, either. It isn't about me and it isn't about the characters in the stories. It's about all of you -- and the distance we create between one another in the midst of all these "communication tools" that we have at our disposal. It's a bit about signal to noise but not about marketing--
Listen up. Seriously. Maybe these videos convince you to check out the final book (or eBook, if you can't cover a full color illustrated book). It's the most meaningful way that I think I enter the world, so I hope so. But just as importantly -- maybe more importantly -- I hope it inspires you to realize that there's nothing standing between you and your own creative muse, so long as you are willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to get from here to there. We don't do it to get famous, we don't do it to get rich -- those goals are perfectly delusional -- we do it because we have no other choice. But sometimes we need a little push from someone else to remind us that it's time, right now, to stop thinking about it and start doing it. 

It's not about identity branding, it's not about con-vincing anyone of anything. It's about listening to your dreams, listening to your fears, to your history, to your losses, and engaging with them. It's about finding your weak spots and splitting them wide open. It's about being crazy enough to not only do that -- but to share the results with the world. Being genuine has been something I've been willing to sacrifice anything for. I'm certainly not giving that up for the approval of strangers. And yet we make these things to be heard. We don't create them to lock them up in a box. The process transforms us, but the detritus at the end of the process is what gets transformed by the audience from lead back to gold.

Time to destroy and create. I expect to be hearing about your projects shortly, yeah?

One final thing... While running the fundraiser, I made a habit of updating everyone every few days with a video. At first it was the usual stuff, details and updates. But when you're babbling in front of a camera without a real plan, sometimes you'll find yourself saying the darndest things. In a way making these videos really helped inform me as well in terms of what the hell this thing was all about. It becomes a sort of weird feedback mechanism. Looking back, I think some of these may actually be of some use to others that are willing to slog it out against all the challenges that face "indie production," from the bare bones financial ones to the common creative ones to the physical hurdles -- you start to discover that the challenges themselves can even inform the narrative.  There's more, but I think I've typed enough words here. I hope some of these videos are useful for other artists and writers out there, as they are embarrassing as hell for me but I'm plenty willing to get past that so long as some of you are likely to get something from it:

And the Book Trailer, including a lot of the art from the original sketchbooks:

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

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