The Starfish and the Whale
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When they want the finances to materialize their dreams, San Diego’s creative minds turn to Kickstarter, the world’s largest crowdfunding website. Kickstarter hosts a bevy of San Diego-based projects (it’s easy to filter the website’s search feature to display local projects). Some of them are straight-up business ventures, but a significant percentage play more towards the arts. Local artists can create pages that ask for money from backers; private citizens who deem the project worthy of funding. If the project hits its fundraising goal in the allotted time, the monies come in. If not, then no dice! The people behind the projects offer rewards, everything from gratitude to merchandise, to their backers. Whether the individuals seeking funding do a good job of justifying their requests is entirely up to the backers to decide. Here’s an update on what’s Kickstarting in the SD art scene.

"The Wind that Sleeps," giclee print by Ulysses

North County fantasy artist Ulysses seeks $5,750 for his current project, Infinite Horizons. The money would go towards producing “a series of six 16x20 fantasy images on museum grade paper with a limited edition run of only 50 signed and numbered giclee prints.”

In his promotional video, Ulysses spells out exactly why his work deserves backers’ investments. Stating that his detailed pen-and-ink drawings are disserviced by a computer screen, he wants to see them professionally printed, and thereby artistically immortalized. “This is the goal of my work,” he says. “It is meant to be printed; meant for you to gaze into its depths, so that, years later, you discover something hidden you never knew was there."

"Art inspires everyone..." from Artifornia

Al Scholl, Brian Johnson, and Garret Laver are the minds behind “Artifornia.” Seeking an ambitious $60,000, the local arts activists have two goals: to start an art and music revolution by igniting creative passion in our children, and to document everything so there's a permanent resource to educate and inspire others to bring art and music back to our children. They want the sixty grand to bring their show on the road, so to speak, and host Artifornia live art demonstrations and outreach programs in six cities between San Diego and Sacramento. They also want to film a documentary to convey the Artifornia message in perpetuity.

“If we don’t expose kids to art and music at a young age, and continue that education through high school and college, where are our musicians and artists going to be in ten, twenty, thirty years?” Al Scholl asks the world at large. The local painter, who dwells in a land of live art and roots reggae, wants to deliver California youth the message that a life in the arts is possible, that there are options beyond the cubicle.

Iron and Ale, by Table Forged LLC, draws close to it $17,500 goal. Described as “a dwarven drinking adventure,” Iron and Ale combines D&D-style fantasy roleplaying with popular things like drinking and hitting your friends in the face. The game, which comprises in-game “resource” cards, drinking challenges, and player characters, revolves around a sort of truth-or-dare drinking game play. Many of the challenges involve players hitting each other, a tribute to the warlike nature of fantasy RPG dwarves.

Table Forged is actually based out of Akron, Ohio, but the company’s lead artist, responsible for the illustrations on the game cards, is Cory Trego-Erdner, who lives in San Diego.

A big, crowdfunded hi-five goes out to the Emily and Chad Robinson, the team behind The Starfish and the Whale, a children’s book project that exceeded its $2,200 goal well before the closing date of its Kickstarter campaign. Author Emily hopes that success with The Starfish and the Whale will lay the foundation for many future children’s books to come from her and husband Chad. Chad’s illustrations for the book combine a “here be dragons” sense of old-time nautical maps with a nod towards biological accuracy in everything from nautilus to pipefish.

All the writing and illustration for The Starfish and the Whale was completed before the Kickstarter campaign opened, and the young couple hopes to use the funds to get the book printed and available before Christmas. Give the Robinsons $60 and a get a copy of the book donated to a local library in your name.

Finally, 95% Harald wants $6,500 dollars to produce a soundtrack to Coronado Dreaming, “a Sci-Fi/Time-Travel/Romance novel set on Coronado Island.” The book’s storyline contains nine songs composed by the book’s author, which “run the gamut from contemporary to rock, with pop, novelty, country and folk in between.” 95% Harald intends to produce and distribute the music via CD, over iTunes, and for free on the author’s website.

Whether these projects live or die is entirely up to local wallets!

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