Spring is blossoming around the country and so are new funding campaigns! This week, let’s explore a new audiocast, a new way to look at death, putting authors in their own world, and accessible art education!
Look, it’s hard to think about what happens to us when we die. I get it. My eyes were first opened to this world after death by reading Mary Roach’s spectacular book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Caitlin Doughty’s Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory. I was also fascinated by the Bios Urn which turns human or pet ashes into a tree. What makes the Urban Death Project different is its approach. By composting whole bodies, we eliminate the impact both burial and cremation have on the environment. In fact, it contributes to a healthier environment. It also eliminates the problem some have with being cremated, especially those with religious restrictions around how they are laid to rest. I love the sensitivity of this project, the imagery of my loved ones carting me up to the top of the core like an ancient Egyptian Queen, ready to take my place in the afterlife, nourishing a lemon tree or some roses. It also brings the concept of death back into our communities as a significant rite of passage. I can only imagine that if death were once again part of community ritual, how our society could transform in thought and action.
I came across this campaign on the page of a friend, who is actually one of the authors in the stretch goals. I was immediately intrigued. Amazing photographer JR Blackwell is setting up photo shoots of authors in scenes of their creations. Full makeup, full costume, epic scenery—she is really going for it. The results will be printed as rewards and there will be an accompanying gallery show. While I love this idea in its most basic visual premise, the authors’ interacting with the environments and characters they created excites me. What will these photos reveal about the stories? The way the author perceives them? This has the potential to be simultaneously deep and delightful!
Founded by artist/illustrator Bobby Chiu and Imaginism Studios (which, by the way, has an amazing website that you won’t regret taking a look at), Schoolism provides an online art education. Kind of like what YogaGlo is for yoga. For a low subscription rate, you have access to all kinds of art classes, from classic to digital. As any artist knows, you never stop learning and deepening your craft, and I can see this being a very convenient and useful tool towards that end.