Photographer John Edmonds will attend Skowhegan, a nine-week residency program for emerging artists in Maine. Edmonds is a D.C.-based photographer and recent graduate of the Corcoran College of Art + Design. He used IndieGoGo to raise money for the residency. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Edmonds about his fundraising experience. He offers his advice below. For more on crowd-sourced fundraising for artists, see my article in the June/July issue of Professional Artist magazine.
EBR: Tell us about your fundraiser.
JE: In my campaign, I raised funds for my residency over the summer at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture. I am using the money raised to fund supplies that I will use during my residency. As art-making is expensive, I gave myself a budget to include film costs, photo paper, development of negatives and other miscellaneous materials needed. A portion of the funds will also go toward the remainder of my tuition.
EBR: Why did you choose IndieGoGo?
JE: I used IndieGoGo because it is a platform that allows flexible funding; meaning if you raise money but do not reach your goal, you are still able to keep the funds. Crowd-sourcing has been something I have always wanted to try, and I viewed this as the most ideal time.
EBR: Is this your first time fundraising?
JE: I have done something similar in selling prints in the past to fund raise a personal book venture I am hoping to do. Other than that, this is my first time crowd-sourcing.
EBR: What research went into the fundraiser prior to launching your campaign?
JE: I just looked at other successful campaigns. Many were Kickstarters, and from there, I moved to looking at IndieGoGo campaigns. I look at those that were successful and some that were not so successful.
EBR: What were the challenges of your IndieGoGo campaign?
JE: I think the biggest challenge for most people is the money! Figuring out where it would come from and who would be interested in donating.
EBR: Any surprises?
JE: I was surprised over and over again at how generous people were, surprised that people believed in me enough to share my campaign. There were a few people who shared the campaign a number of times, which helped immensely.
EBR: What advice can you share with our readers?
JE: I think the best advice I could give is to not be afraid to really put yourself out there — be honest about why you are doing what you are doing, how much money you need and the impact your fully funded goal can have. When people see that honesty, I think they can truly relate and will want to help.
EBR: And, what’s next?
JE: Skowhegan! A summer of art-making, now that I have a fully funded campaign.
About John Edmonds:
John Edmonds (b. 1989) is a photographer who lives and works in Washington, D.C. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Art Photography from the Corcoran College of Art + Design. A recipient of an artist residency with FABRICA: United Colors of Benetton’s Research Center, he has lived and made work in France, Italy and the United States. His work has been shown both nationally and internationally at Photography Festivals such as Photo LA, Fotoweek DC and Pingyao International Photography Festival and his self-published books are in permanent collections of the George Eastman House, the Indie Photobook Library, The National Library of Australia and FOAM Museum Amsterdam.
His ethereal, intimate and lushly colored portraits of men belonging to marginalized backgrounds — African Americans, gays and urban young men with tattoos and aggressive, hyper-masculine dispositions — explore the intersections of masculine identity, beauty, race and sexuality.
In 2013, John founded ABOUT-FACE, a blog featuring work by early, emerging and mid-career artists of all disciplines, focused in the field of portraiture.