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Kickstarter Chronicles #3: Yeti Press

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From "Pecos"

From “Pecos”

By Jeff Gilliland

The Kickstarter Chronicles is a series of profiles of Chicago artists, writers, and musicians holding crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter allows creatives and entrepreneurs to raise funds for their projects through small, rewards-based private donations. The third installment of Kickstarter Chronicles features independent comic book publisher Yeti Press, which is fundraising for its 2014 line of comics.

There is something both intimate and magical about reading a comic book. The smell of the paper stock, the heft of the ink, the idiosyncratic lines and color palettes of the illustrations—opening a comic book is like reaching into someone’s consciousness, and seeing what strange beauty you pull out.

That mystique and personality seem to inspire many of the comics produced by Yeti Press, the self-described “small publishing behemoth” that sprang from the 2011 collaboration between comic artists RJ Casey and Eric Roesner. Generally eschewing both the barrel-chested superheroes of classic comics and the dark, pulpy narratives of many graphic novels, Yeti’s comics tend to focus on the richness and texture of interior life, or the sublimity of the supernatural. From Kevin Budnik’s “diary comic” “Our Ever Improving Living Room” to the interconnected and continually morphing world of Erik Nebel’s “Well Come,” each of the comics that Yeti Press takes from pen to print render the layered worldview and personal concerns of its author-artists in lush detail. Read the rest of this entry »

Kickstarter Chronicles #2: Mythical Proportions

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nora dunn 2By Jeff Gilliland

The Kickstarter Chronicles is a series of profiles of Chicago artists, writers, and musicians holding crowd-funding campaigns on Kickstarter allows creatives to share their projects with the world and raise needed funds through private donations. Our second Kickstarter Chronicle features actor, writer and comedienne Nora Dunn, whose one-woman show “Mythical Proportions” opens at Theater Wit on August 15.

It is one of the great clichés of the entertainment industry that the best characters emerge from real life. Every budding novelist is told to write what they know, every actor instructed to find the humanity inside the figure they inhabit for stage or screen. After a lifetime of creating and embodying characters that have delighted audiences around the world, Nora Dunn seems to have hit upon a deep truth of the practice: she’s just doing what we all do all the time, a little more publicly and with a little bit more flair. Read the rest of this entry »

Kickstarter Chronicles: The Soul of Cuba

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Photo: Cesar Augusto

Photo: Cesar Augusto

By Jeff Gilliland

The Kickstarter Chronicles is a series of profiles of Chicagoans holding crowd-funding campaigns on Kickstarter allows for people to finance creative projects through individual donations, and seek new audiences at the same time. However, sometimes great projects still need an extra nudge into the limelight. 

Cesar Augusto doesn’t take photography lightly. “I don’t take many pictures,” the Oak Park-based photographer and creative director says. “In fact, I hate taking pictures when I haven’t had the time to think about what I’m trying to achieve.”

Augusto has had plenty of time to think about what he’s trying to achieve with his most recent project, “The Soul of Cuba.” The hardcover book, featuring more than a hundred stunning photographs from Augusto’s native country, documents his return to the home which has been, in his words, “the place of my dreams and nightmares for the last twenty years.” In it, Augusto grapples with the fading image of the Cuba he still remembers, and discovers the birth of a new economy and culture in a country that Americans still associate with old cars, Communism and exploding cigars. “The Soul of Cuba” captures this nostalgia, pain and wonderment in a sequence of black-and-white photographs that are at once haunting and uplifting, decayed and vibrant, aged and brand-new. “These photographs are exactly how my heart sees Cuba today,” Augusto says, both remote and always familiar, just like the tempestuous nation he fled more than two decades ago. Read the rest of this entry »