August 30

Kickstarter Art Project Success Story

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Kickstarter Art Project Success Story

Learn how Tina Mammoser’s Kickstarter art project hit stretch goals.

[Editor’s note: I have known Tina Mammosera and admired her art and her numerous contributions to the art community since meeting her on WetCanvas.com many years ago. In this guest post, she shares insights and details on her encouraging, remarkable story of how she successfully managed her Kickstarter art project and surpassed two stretch goals in the process.]


Previous Kickstarter Experience Helps

Having run a Kickstarter campaign for a friend’s first film, I knew some ins and outs and had done quite a lot of research. I knew crowdfunding could be an interesting and most importantly, engaging, way to fund a project. However, it took me a while to work out my project—something different and interesting enough to not just be everyday art fundraising.

While working on a business mentoring scheme called New Creative Markets, over about four months, I brainstormed and planned where I wanted to go with my work.

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Three things kept getting written down:

  1. Moving to the coast (which has been on the wishlist for a decade)
  2. Strengthening the art/science tie in my work; bringing my love of geology and astronomy into the studio practice
  3. Opening a gallery

sketchbook drawingWhen I finally got to the crowdfunding workshop (with Henrietta Norton, founder of wedidthis.org.uk) everything seemed to fall into place.

On an artist’s income, the decision to move cross-country was an obviously scary financial venture. And “Fund me to move my studio” isn’t a good enough proposal for backers.

Moreover, I also wanted to really launch into the new side of art/science in my work and London was too limiting. (Unfortunately, London is not particularly renowned for its geology or astronomy in the urban light pollution.)

Personal Experience Plays a Part in Kickstarter Success

My background for both goals was strong. I’d been cycling and walking the coastline for my painting for almost ten years now. It was easy to narrow down the candidates for new homes.

I already had a system of three sketchbooks in place—seacoast, geology, and astronomy—but never felt comfortable combining them. Recently I’d been invited to start giving art and astronomy talks—just combining topics I loved because I loved them. So if I moved somewhere with more geology and astronomy communities that side of the practice could have a chance to grow.

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Scarborough Beach - Kickstarter Art Project destination

Sea, Sky, and Stone” was drafted to achieve the first two goals in one project: moving my studio to the Yorkshire coast by means of sharing a unique sketchbook combining my art, geology and star drawings.

Kickstarter Success Takes Time & Energy

Doing my own Kickstarter project, I learned the most exhausting thing is promoting it. It was a gruelling 30-day schedule of blogs, social media posts, newsletters and personal emails. I decided to have a 3-tier approach on launch day.

First, I personally emailed all my VIPs—not just collectors, but people who have continually supported my career as an artist over the years—and asked them to share news of the campaign. Note that I did not ask them to pledge, just to help spread the word. And they were awesome at that!

12 hours later, I sent a newsletter to my mailing list subscribers and gave them a special head start on the campaign too. Lastly, it was announced on social media and my blog. I’d say having your own existing support network is crucial—both for financial backing and word of mouth. By the end of the first day, my VIPs alone got me to 50% of my goal. I was fully funded within three days. Flabbergasted is the only word to describe how I felt!

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Passionate Supporters Pushed Project Higher

Some very staunch supporters insisted I keep the energy up and go for way more. So I added stretch goals. With their help, I came up with other reward ideas to add that were cool but wouldn’t cost me much. (Not spending all your fundraising on the rewards and postage is vital!)

In addition to screenprints and videos, my favourite “stretch” goal idea was to send fossils with the finished books. I love fossil hunting on the stretch of coast around Saltwick Bay, just north of where I’ve moved. I can’t believe I’m giving a reward that is really a fun excuse to go hit rocks with a hammer.

One amazing supporter kept bumping me to the next goal when I got close. At first I chided her but gave up because she kept sneaking in and pledging again anyway. She’ll soon realise what a crazy artist she’s enabled!

Kickstarter Art Project Success Tips

So here are my top tips for starting on your crowdfunding project:

  1. Research, research, research. Get ready to create a giant page of info. Go through and research successful projects in your field and ones with a similar product but maybe in another creative industry. Write down their target, their reward levels, their reward items, their description, their images, watch the video and jot down an outline of it. Write down bits or phrases that really jumped out at you. Most importantly: find projects that really interest you after reading/watching their page, and figure out what they said or did that got you smiling.
  2. Now… support that project! Top tip from my mentor was to become a supporter yourself. Get a feel for how it works, how you pledge, what kind of updates you like to receive. By taking part, you can tell what makes you feel special, what you enjoy about the project, and how to do that in your own campaign. Most campaigns you can support starting with $1. Warning: supporting is addicting!
  3. So now why did you support that project? What was in it for you? Supporters are clever, and they know it’s really about you. But you still need to write a pitch that makes it involving for them. What are they getting that is totally unique? What are you giving back, perhaps to your community or other artists? Best comment I’ve seen online about crowdfunding is, “Don’t just ask me to fund your dream; I could fund my dream.”
Author Tina Mammoser at Scarborough Beach
Who wouldn’t be thrilled at super stretching a Kickstarter art project?

Excitement and Enthusiasm Carry the Day

Most of all, just do something that gets you excited. By the time, I was ready to launch you couldn’t shut me up. (sorry everyone)

Oh, and that third goal of mine? Working on that. My campaign is just the start of a three-year project. Next year will be working on a second book where I’ll commission and involve other artists and scientists with their drawings. 2016 is the planned date to launch an art/science-themed gallery specialising in drawings. In the seaside town of Scarborough where there is little high-end art scene. Heck, I like a challenge! Oh, wait. I should shut up now.

[Editor’s Note: My takeaways from this fascinating Kickstarter art project success story are these:

  • Be intensely passionate about your project
  • Make your rewards valuable and compelling
  • Start with a tribe—it does not have to be large—Tina succeeded with 93 backers

Combine those elements with your Kickstarter art project campaign with Tina’s other invaluable advice to give yourself the best odds of success with it.

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About the Author

Tina Mammoser

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  1. I tried kickstarter to fund all the materials for THE 26 PORTRAITS FOR THE VICTIMS OF NEWTOWN.The timing must have been wrong because it didn’t work.I am a Graphite Artist,photorealistic style.I live in MA.,I was going to surprise them by delivering them myself as a remembrance an memorial to their loved ones.Never got off the ground

    1. Sorry it did not work out for you. Good ideas, even very worthy ideas such as yours, sometimes go unfunded. Tina’s experience showed she had a loyal following and avid backers, plus she worked all the angles to get as much exposure as possible. As she said, the 30 days after the launch were intense in promoting project.

  2. I’ve promoted, and posted… and then promoted and posted even more. My Kickstarter project is not working out at all. I’m using actual science in the creation of my work, but getting backers are slim to none. Unless, you wanna count the “kick-trolls”.
    I’m not sure what the formula is to make it work, but I guess it just works better for some more than others.

    1. Try again perhaps? Definitely do some of the steps I mentioned – particularly the research. One key discovery I made is that the 20-25 reward point is the more popular so should have a really cool tangible reward. I had a quick look at your project description but needed a lot more info. Why are you creating this project? What’s your background with the idea? Who will see it or where do you have planned to show it? What’s the future for the general idea? Think about your description as possibly the only thing the visitor will read to decide if the project gives them something cool. (many visitors won’t click the video) Best of luck if you try again!

  3. It’s nice to see a success story here for a fellow artist. Sometimes you can feel like one among millions, times like this, it’s one in a million. Gives hope to artists everywhere, goodness knows the pay can suck sometimes!

  4. I am happy to be one of Tina’s backers. 🙂 An artist myself I love her work and her enthusiasm she brings to the whole project. Please don’t shut up Tina!

    What Tina does really well is keeping in touch with the people that have supported the project. Her posts come with a video and with humour. I just love it. Can’t wait to see and hear more of the unfolding of the project / work.

    1. Thanks for your comment! I think your enthusiasm exemplifies what makes some Kickstarter projects work while others go unfunded. It requires a turned on person with a worthy project repeatedly connecting to a group of loyal friends, fans and followers.

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