Posts Tagged ‘kickstarter’

Could Kickstarter Be Better Than Government Grants for Artists?

17 Jun

Artist Molly Crabapple has just been given $17,000 to lock herself in a paper-covered room for five days and make art until the walls are covered.

But that sum didn’t come from the National Endowment for the Arts or a wealthy patron; Crabapple, like many in her subversive art-making shoes, turned to Kickstarter to find funding for the stunt.

In her Kickstarter proposal, she outlined the basic premise of the project, dubbed “Molly Crabapple’s Week in Hell.” Anyone who donated a dollar to the effort would get to watch a live stream of the whole five-day shebang. Anyone who pledged $10 or more would get to name an animal for inclusion in the artwork; donations of $20 or more would get an actual piece of the ink-filled paper sent to them. And backers who fronted $1,000 or more would get an absinthe-infused lunch with the artist.

Crabapple set a $4,500 fundraising goal; so far, the total raised is $17,000 — enough to make a short film about the project, which Crabapple says will debut online shortly after Crabapple’s Week in Hell wraps.

Why Art Needs the Web

This is a project that Crabapple says could never have existed without the Internet.

“I mean, before the Internet, I could have gotten a room and markers,” she told Mashable in an email. “But funding it? Pre-selling an entire body of yet-to-be-created-art in an alternative space? Even the logistics of finding the space and gathering my staff would have been infinitely harder offline”

Historically, the kinds of projects that do best on Kickstarter are actually film and music. Over the past two years, these two categories have accounted for more than $32.7 million in fundraising — more than every other category combined.

Crabapple says the Week in Hell is her third Kickstarter project. She did a Kickstarter proposal last year to help fund SketchyCon, a gathering of organizers for Crabapple’s unique life drawing events, Dr. Sketchy’s Anti Art School. And she did ker second Kickstarter project just a couple months ago to fund a stop-motion paper puppet film.

“An artist like me (ie a poxy illustrator who dropped out of school) has basically no chance with the grant system, and Kickstarter has been amazing for helping me bring my most ambitious projects to life,” said Crabapple.

Why Grants Don’t Work

While entrepreneurship projects such as the ill-fated Diaspora do exist on Kickstarter, they get relatively little attention on the site when compared to the overwhelming popularity of the arts. For artists who seek funds to further their dreams, the crowdfunding model of Kickstarter is something of a godsend. Gone are the lengthy, difficult grant application processes and the endless pitching to would-be patrons.

As Crabapple told us, “I once sat through the introductory session for applying for a Brooklyn Artists Grant. In between the forms filled out in 8-plicate, having to have a nonprofit organization sponsor you, and the fact that the grant was forbidden from covering the entire cost of the project, I figured it was probably just easier to earn the money.

“A Kickstarter is populist and fast, where a grant is elitist and foot-dragging.”

Crabapple said she was surprised, though, that the project got so much interest and so many pledges.

“Week in Hell is a deeply personal project, and there’s always a risk of those coming off as horrifically wanky. I posted it with some trepidation on Sunday at midnight, and woke up to find it funded. In my fever dreams I never would have imagined such an incredibly warm, generous response.”

Keep an eye out for the Week in Hell event, as well as subsequent photos and film, to take place from September 3 through 8 in a secret location in Manhattan.

Image courtesy of Facebook, TheLegion

More About: funding, fundraising, grants, kickstarter, Molly Crabapple, National Endowment for the arts, NEA, trending

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iPod Nano Watch Project Makes Kickstarter History

17 Dec

The iPod nano watch kit TikTok+LunaTik is now officially the most successful Kickstarter project of all time.

The all-or-nothing funding site has had its fair share of successes in the past, but the TikTok and LunaTik multi-touch watch kits are on another level. The project reached its conclusion late Thursday evening, bringing in a staggering $941,648 from 13,511 backers in just 30 days. That figure is all the more impressive when you consider that TikTok+LunaTik’s original goal was only $15,000.

The project itself was born after Scott Wilson, the founder of the Chicago-based design studio MINIMAL, first saw the new iPod nano. When we spoke to Wilson last month, he explained it was clear that the device could be a great wrist watch, after seeing the size and shape of the new nano. Wilson wasn’t alone. To date, scores of companies have brought their own iPod nano watch straps or kits to market.

When the success of TikTok and LunaTik became clear, Wilson took measures to ramp up production at the factories in China. Through the course of the project, Wilson has offered up additional updates on the status of the kits, created a website for interested users who missed out on the Kickstarter pledge bonanza at and promoted other worthy Kickstarter projects.

When speaking with Wilson, it was evident to us that he recognized that actually manufacturing and distributing LunaTik and TikTok would be a massive undertaking. Coordinating with the factories, preparing packaging and handling shipping are not trivial tasks, especially when talking about an order of this size.

Earlier this week, just ahead of the project’s closing date, Wilson uploaded a video compilation of his trip to China, showing off his hands-on time with the manufacturing process.

These updates and this “inside look” at how something moves from concept, to prototype, to finished project are part of what we think makes Kickstarter so special. Beyond just acting as a great way to raise funds, the ability to share updates and include backers in the journey is unique. Aspiring entrepreneurs are encouraged to take notes on Wilson’s approach to making the most out of Kickstarter.

As a backer of this project, I can’t wait to get the final product in my hands — and on my wrist. What do you think about Kickstarter’s potential for funding small and large scale projects?

More About: ipod nano, kickstarter, lunatik, tiktok

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