On beginnings
Guarding the egg

The art of asking

Just in case you missed it, here is the recent TED talk by musician, composer, and performance artist Amanda Palmer (who is also the wife of my old friend Neil Gaiman), discussing "The Art of Asking," crowd-sourcing,  and the relationship between artists and their fans. It's a passionate, smart, inspiring presentation.

Crowd-sourcing, of course, is one of the means by which artists in many fields are now bypassing the gatekeepers who have traditionally controlled arts funding (publishers, music companies, grant-giving organizations, etc.). It's been fascinating to see the different ways that people are using platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GigFunder, etc., and intriguing to see which crowd-funded projects work and which don't, and why.

And to practice the "art of asking" myself:

I'd like to recommend a Kickstarter campaign by my friend and Devon neighbor Ione Rucquoi, an amazing artist who often explores women's issues, and who is raising funds to mount a gorgeous, provocative, important show called Sanctae.

00_MaryRoseSanctae: Portraits of Secular Saints is a photographic installation comprising 21 larger than life size (8ft x 3ft) images of female nudes, using friends, neighbors, and other 'real' women as models. "Resonant with historical and religious symbols and signs," says Ione, "these larger than life idols 'make saints of the ordinary' by exploring the intense emotions, expectations and sacrifices inherent in the female body's potential to give life, creating a space of challenging reflections and revelations about issues of contemporary womanhood."

As one of the women who posed for the project said: "Every image says so much about the truth of real women's bodies. We all have scars and oddities. Not one photo shows a perfect body. And yet everywhere in today's society, women are bombarded with unreal images of idealized female sexuality - photographs of models with every imperfection eliminated. Ione's work is important because it reminds all women that the images we see in the media are not real. The 'Sanctae' images capture great dignity in the women. As a participant, it took a lot of courage to take part, but I did so because of my faith in the importance of this project."

Please watch the informative (and moving) video below to learn more.

Ione has been working on Sanctae for nearly three years. Despite the success of her previous exhibitions, it has been difficult to find venues for this one because of the scale of the photographs, and the subject matter. She now has a show scheduled at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol (Jan 2014),  and has obtained Arts Council funding of £17,000. -- but still needs to raise another £6000. to  cover the show's costs.  She's searching for additional venues, and hoping to get the project over to to Europe with help from her gallery in Berlin  and eventually to the U.S. as well.

Can you help? Please visit the Santae Kickstarter page to learn more, contribute (no amount is too small), view examples of Ione's past work, and to contact the artist if you can help the project in any way. Also, if you can boost the signal for Ione's Kickstarter, that would be a help too.