"Tens” is a graphic novel that tells the life-story of Vivian Chong. Vivian is a former graphic designer who suffered a rare reaction to Ibuprofen, which caused severe burns on her skin. Near death, she was put into a medically-induced coma for two months. When she was revived, her eyesight was blurry. Doctors told her she was going to completely lose her sight over the next few months as scar tissue continue to form. She started working on a graphic novel that told her story of going blind. As her vision deteriorated, she managed to create almost one hundred pages before having to stop drawing because she could no longer see. Upon her complete loss of vision, she tucked her graphic novel away on a shelf, leaving it for ten years. At one point she almost threw it out while decluttering her apartment, feeling hopeless about ever being to do anything with the images. Vivian has gone forwards in her life, adapting to her loss of sight. She cross-country skis, competes in triathlons, travels, makes music, and does stand up comedy. She has learned three different dance forms by feeling the steps through touch. Most of these things she never would have done had she not lot her eyesight. As Vivian says, I can no longer sit on a porch to enjoy nature. I need to reach out and touch things now to experience life.
Award-winning choreographer Kathleen Rea met Vivian through Contact Dance Improvisation. Kathleen was inspired by Vivian as an artist. They started a collaboration. A dance-theatre production that tells the story of Vivian’s illness and subsequent artistic re-birth. The production, called “Dancing with the Universe” will premiere in Toronto in Spring 2020. As part of their research, together Vivian showed Kathleen her unfinished graphic novel. Kathleen was stunned by the details of Vivian’s experiences, depicted in her drawings. As she held the book in her hands, Kathleen realized she was holding an extraordinary piece of art that expressed human truths and represented the pure human urge to create through extraordinary circumstances.
After much searching, Kathleen and Vivian found Georgia Webber, a graphic novelist, known for her critically acclaimed graphic novel “Dumb: Living Without a Voice”. Georgia is the perfect fit for this project. She expressed her own health experiences and the emergence of a new identity through her prior graphic novel. Her drawing has its own style, but there are similarities to Vivian’s work that will create cohesiveness. In the switch between the two artists, there are creative opportunities. The reader will feel the pathos of the switch between artists as it represents the moment ofVivians vision loss and the start of her transition into her new way of being in the world. Fantagraphics had expressed interest in publishing the book but the graphic novel needs to be complete before a publishing deal can be signed.
In order for artists to maintain a basic living wage while working on the project, funds need to be raised for the project to be a go ahead. We are looking to raise $38 000 to cover fees for services.
Georgia Webber - Graphic novel artist:
42.6 hours/week for 22 weeks @ $20/hour = $18,750.00
Vivian Chong - story source and graphic novel artist:
8 hour per week for 22 weeks @ $50/hour = $ 8,750.00
Licensing of 100 original graphic novel images: $10,000.00Art Materials: $500.00
* Please note creative credit in the published book will go towards both Vivian and Georgia and publishing royalties will split between them.