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This project was successfully funded on December 16, 2014

Postcards from Paradise: A Coal Export Road Trip

by Ryan Pierce


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Postcards from Paradise is a sequential art project that considers the route of a proposed coal export corridor through the lens of the larger history of industrial exploitation in the American West.

In 2013-14 I traveled to small towns between Gillette, Wyoming and Blaine, Washington— a route that Peabody Coal hopes to use to export coal via rail to terminals on the coast. From the Washington coast, the coal would be shipped to China.

As I traveled, I photographed empty public spaces in each of the small towns. I chose 26 sites to feature, and when I returned to the studio I printed the photos on archival rag paper. I then created imaginary monuments to honor the legacy of industry’s abuse of the West— its people and environment— and painted them on top of the photographs.

I have rephotographed my invented monuments and with your support will print them as a series of 26 postcards. Subscribers can experience the journey over the course of 2015: one postcard every two weeks for a year. The back of each card has a caption and a reproduction of my handwritten text sharing thoughts and research about the sites and the supposed monuments.

Help me reach my goal of $2,500 and I can afford to send complimentaryeditions of the cards to 20 libraries and cultural centers in the affectedstates. Help me exceed that goal and I can print more pro-bono editions andreach a wider audience.

Please visit to get background information, keep track of the project, and find links to groups that are organizing against the coal corridor.