When I think about the H.P. Lovecraft Bronze Bust project, I think of two things.
An extraordinary debut into the world of crowdfunding and the camaraderie of Lovecraft fans.
Initially, I saw crowdfunding as a way of realizing one's creative ideas into something tangible but had no clue how to go about succeeding at it effectively. It was a largely unknown process to me at the time and other than thinking to myself "I'll launch a Kickstarter campaign." I really had no idea how to go about it.
Enter Jovanka Vuckovic, and old friend and the legendary queen of horror who had steered Rue Morgue magazine from a humble fanzine into a flagship of horror news and literature. Jovanka had her finger firmly on the pulse of horror fandom and when I threw the idea of funding the Lovecraft bust out to her, she wisely told me to step aside and assumed the role of a guiding mentor and project leader, having run a very successful Kickstarter campaign for her film "The Captured Bird".
Although our days turned into weeks and months, they were long and sometimes we butted heads, but I always listened to her wisdom and her business sense stood the project in good stead as I watched and learned from her and made sure that I hit my sculpting deadlines. We knew we had a large fanbase to draw from as Lovecraft enjoys a worldwide following second to none.
Originally, the project was going to be a for a life size statue, but we wisely decided on a life size bronze bust to be donated to the Providence Athenaeum Library in Lovecraft's hometown. The Old Gent even wrote about this very library, visiting often to view their incredible collection of original Edgar Allan Poe material. It was a natural choice to place the bust there and we were eternally grateful that Alison Maxell, then executive director of the library, graciously agreed to our proposal.
In the months that followed, a project audience was gradually built as the strength of social media was utilized. Many incredible sponsors jumped aboard such as Lions Gate Films, Fangoria magazine and numerous authors and filmmakers like Guillermo del Toro, George R.R. Martin, Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman and many others who kindly lent their good name to our efforts.
I would often post "in-progress" photos and videos of the bust sculpture in the works and the fanbase really seemed to like that, so that became a staple all the way through the campaign.
We funded completely in the first 48 hours of the fundraising launch and by the time it finished, we had nearly doubled the financial goal.
One aspect that I'm particularly proud of is that the project team and I were able to donate $1000.00 to the local children's literacy program at the Providence Public Library system, which was a dream come true for me personally as I grew up in libraries, lost in the worlds and education that they offered.
On the day of the unveiling, the historic library was packed as Alison Maxell, Lovecraft scholar, author and good friend S.T. Joshi and I spoke about what Lovecraft meant to each of us in his hometown of Providence and the pride that each of us felt along with all who kindly supported the project that we could give something back, honoring the man who had inspired so much for us all. The crowd applauded without reservation upon the unveiling and it was a night to remember as many new friendships were made in celebration of what we had all accomplished together.
This was also the first of many collaborations with the great English artist Graham Humphreys, who has created the advertising campaigns for all of my sculpture and film projects ever since. A trusted friend and project partner, I can't imagine doing a project without him. Another thrill was when film director Woody Allen showcased the bust in his film "Irrational Man". An honor, indeed!
The high point for me was a year later when I was able to return to the library with my daughter Chloe to visit the bust on our way to Boston for the unveiling of the Edgar Allan Poe bust at the Boston Public Library. Being an artist is great, but being a proud father relegates artistic endeavors to a close second every time.
While I can sculpt subjects that I'm passionate about, these busts would not happen without the incredible support of the fellow fans who make it all possible to which I'm eternally indebted.
May the Old Gent from Providence's influence and work inspire us all to create our own path in literature, art and film. His like will not be seen again.