The Ideal Relationship Project

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Click here for a portrait and to participate in our Kickstarter Project!

In a Nutshell

The ideal Relationship Project is a community Kickstarter aiming to create 100 portraits, and collect the subjects’ ideas about their ideal relationships in a self published book. Low budget and/or gift giving options include postcards of existing portraits and/or a copy of the final book (portrait not included), once it’s completed.

The book will be organized by age, gender, and relationship status. Each chapter will begin with an article summarizing the most salient themes in its category, using an arts-based, heuristic research methodology. The purpose of this project is to encourage personal insight, spread the wisdom of healthy relationships, and provide a positive experience for participants.

What is the process?

Each subject is asked to describe his or her ideal relationship in no more than two sentences and submit an image they would like to see rendered. The portraits are rendered in a uniform in style, including a mandala form, intended to promote mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. A process note in the form of a video and blog entry is created for each completed portrait as well, and posted on this website, under Process Videos.

How can I support this project?

There are three ways to support this project:

1. Participate. Check out our rewards and select an option including a contribution of your face and personal quote ($50-$125). A personal video clip and interview is not required (but it is appreciated).

2. Pledge. Check out our rewards and select an option including the purchasing of postcards and/or the final book, once it’s completed ($3-$35).

3. Follow Us. If you’re still unconvinced, check out our website and follow our blog. When you follow us, others will too, and that’s a big help! (Free)

Below you’ll find a sample mock up of the final book (final design may vary from these images, but this will give you an idea of where it’s headed):

5 Reasons to Support This Project

1. You Might Fall in Love. There are three basic steps to the Law of Attraction: ask, believe, and receive. Before the Universe can give you your hearts desire, you must be sure of what you want and how to articulate it. This project forces you to do just that, in a most concise manner. Help us help you manifest the love you want!

2. It’s Community Oriented.This is an arts-based community project, the purpose of which is to encourage personal insight, spread the wisdom of healthy relationships, and provide a positive experience for participants. The long-term goal for the artist–should The Ideal Relationship Project be successfully funded–is to turn it into an intergenerational project.

3. Everybody Gets Something. Every pledge has a physical reward attached to it. From a $3 postcard, to your own digital portrait, to a copy of the book itself, every participant walks away with a momento.

4. Its a Unique Gift Idea. Have a friend or loved one getting married? Celebrating an anniversary or the end of a painstaking divorce? Or perhaps you are just looking for a unique, one-of-a-kind gift for your boo? The Ideal Relationship Project’s book is the perfect blend of charitable consumerism and quality gift giving. For $35 You will receive a promissory Thank-You postcard from me, as well as three blank postcards, and a copy of the book, (anticipated date of completion is June 2016). The note and cards can be given at the time of your occasion (if occurring before this date) and then I will send the completed product to the address you specify.

5. Kindness is Contagious. In a study designed to identify cause-and-effect links, political scientist James Fowler and medical sociologist Nicholas Christakis of Harvard University found when one person gave, others in their group tended to be more generous. Recipients became more generous in turn, and so on down the chain. Surprisingly, when a punishment round was added, generosity lasted even longer, promoting elevated, positive feelings. And as researchers at the University of California have discovered, better you feel, the kinder you are towards others.

The Backstory: In Search of the Ideal

In January 2015, I wrote a post on my community blog  in which I reviewed a mountain of neurological, sociological, and psychological information, focusing on the battle of the sexes. I was surprised to find most research indicating  people want the same things when it comes to long-term relationships. If that’s the case,  why do we seem to struggle with finding the love we want?

While chastising me for harboring fanciful ideas about sexually faithful men who’ll hold your hand during sunsets well into old age, a good friend once said to me, “There are only two kinds of men. Those who treat their wives and their mistresses well, and those who don’t. You decide which on turns you on, then you decide which role you want to play.”

“I don’t believe that,” I responded, “There are men who are devoted to their wives.”

“Miserable men who wish they had the balls not to be. Tell me, does your Prince Charming day dream about internet porn?”

My dear friend is not alone in her assessment. Jokes abound about the drudgery of marriage, even as we celebrate #LoveWins. Oscar Wilde once said, “A man who marries his mistress leaves a vacancy in that position.” The Spanish word for “spouse,” esposas, also means “handcuffs.” Why are married women usually heavier? Because single women come home, see what’s in the fridge, and go to bed. Married women come home, see what’s in bed, and go to the fridge.

In light of my own divorce, I realized I had never truly asked myself, “What is your ideal relationship?”

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 11.44.46 PMAfter  traveling to my sister’s wedding in India, I found myself falling in love again (i.e. riding that razor’s edge of hopeful wantonness and a debilitating fear of rejection and abandonment). As the relationship developed, the ambiguous misfiring of two people’s needs and expectations arose.

Not wanting to screw it up, I felt I needed to clarify my desires. I had a lot of ideas floating around in my head, but nothing I could succinctly state. No log line or “hot premise” to sell potential suitors. No mantra on which to meditate while holding a rose quartz and praying to the Goddess of love. I found both the content and aesthetics of my artwork taking on a distinctly spiritual and interpersonal nature. I started drawing mandala forms to focus and center myself. I began to think, “If I don’t know precisely how to articulate what I want, than how am I supposed to find it?”

I decided to ask a few friends what their thoughts were. Then I asked a few more friends, after that. And then I asked people I didn’t know. Single people. Married people. Divorced people. Widowed people. People in long-term relationships. People who just broke up. Almost all of them laughed and said, “That’s a hard question to answer.”

“I Know!” I would exclaim. “But why?”

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 11.47.20 PMI started writing their thoughts down. Then I started doodling their faces. Doodles turned into sketches. Sketches became portraits. Pretty soon, it became a whole series of portraits. And I realized I had tapped into something. I decided to turn the portraits into a Kickstarter project called, The Ideal Relationship Project.

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 11.47.31 PMSo far, I’ve completed twenty portraits, and feel no closer to coming up with my own definition. In fact, I have decided to suspend my thoughts on the matter altogether, until I have finished absorbing the opinions of 100 other people. In the mean time, I might suggest taking a moment to ask yourself, what is your ideal relationship?

This is a great gift idea for an engagement, wedding anniversary, or birthday present for your boo. It is also a good exercise for single and/or divorced folk, such as myself, who aim to manifest the kind of love they want in their lives.

The Artist

business card photo

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, to an Irish Catholic family, Briana  MacWilliam MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT has always been surrounded by natural-born storytellers. After graduating with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Illustration and a minor in psychology, she moved to New York City where she earned a Master’s in Professional Studies and Creativity Development from Pratt Institute.

For several years, she has practiced as a licensed and board certified Creative Arts Therapist in various healthcare settings in New York City, working predominantly with traumatized women and addiction. Currently, she is an adjunct writing professor and clinical coordinator at a brain research and diagnostic facility.

Writing, drawing, and painting have always been her passion, and she strongly believes there is no greater magic than the power of the creative process.To learn more, please visit her community blog, Yellow Bricks.


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