Airigami 2013 review
We've reached the end of another year, and boy, what a year it's been, from doubling the size of the studio to completing a Kickstarter campaign that will result in 2014 starting even busier than 2013. Kelly and I decided to take a little break from planning the upcoming Beanstalk Project in order to look back through the year's big events for Airigami. Here's some of what we found, and what came out of each project.
We completed our first Kickstarter-funded project. It took longer than we anticipated, but we were finally able to ship copies of And He Puffed, our fully-illustrated version of The Three Little Pigs, to all of our backers. We learned quite a bit about illustrated story-books, and the whole process of launching a Kickstarter-backed project. This is actually our second illustrated children's book. But we had done Artist Eyes entirely on our own. And He Puffed had a number of challenges we hadn't expected. In the end, we overcame those challenges and put out something that's received fantastic reviews.
Follow-up: Many people have told us they want copies, but we've resisted printing any more artist edition copies than we had Kickstarter backers since we're actively looking for a publisher to take it to the next level of distribution.
Once And He Puffed was finished and actually shipped, we decided to celebrate by doing something completely unrelated to balloons. We created the first Oreogami video. It was really intended as nothing more than a fun distraction, but this 30 second stop motion animation with Oreo cookies turned into an unbelievable success. Almost overnight it was showing up on a variety of social media sites and blogs. Even food writers were talking about it.
Follow-up: A few months later, we ended up creating more stop motion videos for Oreo. The Cookie Chronicles became a three part series about the need for cookies to be dunked in milk.
This was a truly exciting, and nerve wracking, time for us. We doubled the size of our studio. Projects were growing, in number and size, and we needed more space to work and store the growing amount of equipment and inventory we had acquired. Doubling the size of the studio of course meant a similar increase in rent, and we went through a little panic phase, wondering if we'd be able to keep up.
Elastic Park returned. We built a twenty-foot Acrocanthosaurus at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. The video of that build was our most popular of the year, with over 80,000 views. Apparently the formula for success on the Internet is to do things with dinosaurs. This installation was picked up by major news shows, including Good Morning America and Science Friday.
An Atlantic City hotel, Good Morning America, and Imagine RIT all happened within the span of a couple of weeks. that meant a rather intense period of traveling and never knowing where we had to be.
The first episode of the Cookie Chronicles was released. We also did our first installation at the Memorial Art Gallery here in Rochester. The gallery is less than 5 minutes from our studio and we were thrilled to do a recreation of a work in their collection: William-Adolphe Bouguereau's Young Priestess.
For a week in July, we practically lived at the Phelps Arts Center in Phelps, NY. During this time, we added one more piece to our Masterworks series: Jean Honoré Fragonard's The Swing. This was a piece that was on the drawing board for months. Unlike most of the Masterworks series, we did this full scale with every element, rather than just the main subject, being created out of balloons. This piece was intended to be viewed both as an installation and as a print on canvas. And to make it even greater, it was a community effort to pull it off. We led teams of local community members in the construction of the entire outdoor scene.
Relaxing with family. Well, what can I say? After an insane amount of time spent in Phelps, we needed to spend time with the kids before summer vacation came to an end. While we enjoyed time off, we invited a good friend, Robbie Furman, to make use of the studio and invited him to teach a class for the local artists.
The Big Brew Beer Festival took us out of town for a smaller installation down in New Jersey. How can you not love an eight foot beer stein?
We built a dragon that traveled from Rochester, NY to the Brooklyn Children's Museum. This was a first. We always build our large pieces where they're going to stay until they're popped. This was an interesting challenge. We had to build something that would be seen in person by two different audiences over 300 miles apart. It was completely worth the effort as the collaboration between two children's museums was a lot of fun to take part in.
Our second Kickstarter project, Jack and His Giant Beanstalk got funded. The project, scheduled for this coming February, is going to be our tallest project ever. Almost the entire month of November was dedicated to working on plans for this enormous feat. Of course, the real work is still to come when 75 artists from around the world join us to help make this happen.
A large installation at the Eastman School of Music was created with students there, more planning for the Beanstalk sculpture took place, and a review of our last year is being written.
The year in video
The videos we've published this year can all be seen below. Click each, one at a time, to view specific videos, or watch the full playlist straight through on youtube.
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