by Nicholas Taupier
For the Art of Sustainability contest, I am proposing to research, write, and draw a graphic novel about sustainability. Entitled Sun Farmer, it would be set in the not-too-distant future, in a time when people’s wanton use of energy and lack of foresight has left gas prices soaring, energy shortages sweeping the nation, and global warming changing the environment in which we live. In the setting, the book’s protagonist seeks to create a life for himself, where he can live sustainably off the land, and provide clean, renewable energy to others, all through the power of the sun. Given the quality of the land in the Pioneer Valley, it would make a fine setting for our Sun Farmer, although the scope of the book would make it clear that these are tenable and noble goals no matter where you live. To get a better idea of the concept of sun farmer, please read the attached pages, and consider them to be a “trailer” for the completed work, as you would see for a feature film.
It’s time that we face it: each year, the sun sends to earth many thousands of times more energy than even we humans use. It would only take an area the size of a small country covered in solar panels to supply all of the energy that the entire worlds needs each year. Sustainable energy is fully within our grasp, yet somehow it continues to elude us. Sun Farmer would provide factual evidence of the ways in which solar energy could improve our lives and preserve our world (through all manners; industrial, agricultural, and otherwise), and a fictionalized (although based in fact) account of what the world may look like if we continue down the path of wasteful energy usage and pollution causing sources.
I believe that a graphic novel is the perfect format to spread a message of sustainability; through the combination of words and pictures, I will clearly be able to present information about sustainability, and do so in a way that is dynamic and interesting to a wide audience. I believe that presenting in this format will make the concept accessible to more people, draw them in with the story, and then get them thinking about, and hopefully acting on, what they read.
In its completed form, the graphic novel will be fully drawn in ink, colored, and approximately 25-35 pages in length. I am proposing that the final project be posed on the Internet, on its own website, which could be set up and maintained through the budget from the contest. There are several reasons for realizing the project through this method; first, in the name of sustainability, publishing the graphic novel on the Internet would negate the need for reprinted paper copies of the book, which would be costly, and not very sustainable. Second, it would allow us to reach a wider audience; not only in the Pioneer Valley, but all over the world as well. This way, the final product will be accessible to virtually anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Although creatively this is my own project, as I will be writing and drawing it myself, Sun Farmer will be a somewhat collaborative project, in order to cut down on some of the work I will have to do myself, and to create it in a fuller form than I would be able to alone. To this end, my friend Chris Manchester, another artist from the Pioneer Valley area, with whom I attend school and have worked with before, is ready and willing to do the coloring for Sun Farmer. Chris is usually a painter, although he has worked in a wide variety of styles, formats, and media, and I know his work and help will bring great beauty and life and each of the pages of Sun Farmer. I also plan to get another person to set up the web page for me, so that I do not have to spend time doing it myself within the timeframe for the completion of the project. I already know several web designers from the Valley area who are willing and able to work on this project with me, so the only question is to pick exactly which one.
I know that together we can work to make Sun Farmer a great success and inspirational work. The materials should not have much effect on the cost of the project; recycled paper, inks, and coloring supplies are all readily available and fairly inexpensive, so the largest costs would be hosting the website and compensating the people working on the project for the amount of time and effort that would have to go into a project of this magnitude.
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York. 2005-present.
Orchard and grounds maintainer; New Salem Preserves, 2005-present (summers only)
New Salem Preserves is a small low-spray orchard and organic garden, where I have been the sole continuous employee for four years now. There I have learned many techniques for protecting and growing fruit bearing trees and bushes with limited or no chemical means, and minimal impact on the environment.
Unfortunately, since I am but on the cusp of my senior year of college, I have not yet had much time to build a career around or a public archive of my work, and thus do not any way to grant you access to my prior works and endeavors other than in person. I do not, however, want you to mistake this for a lack of experience. For many years now I have been completing and working on graphic novels and other works of comic art, for reasons ranging from school projects (which have been completed in time frames ranging from a few weeks to several months), works for my own edification (I have several finished and on-going works), and my current employment (I am currently finishing work on a script for a dramatic/comedic graphic novel about student life). The topics of my works have ranged from mystery, to fantasy, to an historical graphic novel about the exile of the Kalmyks by the Stalinist Russians, to analysis of existential philosophy, to stories based on real life events. I am wholly committed to this work, readily to look critically at this issue, and would love the opportunity from you to move Sun Farmer from a vision into an actuality.