MAGIC FLUTE is a 200-some-year-old German-language opera — my job was to translate Mozart’s work to be visually interesting to 20-year-old college kids.
Initially plagued with “artist’s block,” I had no idea where to go with this poster. To get started on the artwork, I read the synopsis and commentary about the piece and the time at which it was written, reviews images of productions from around the world and listened to the complete opera in German on YouTube. (The internet is a wonderful thing.)
And it all started to come together.
Inspired by the illustrations of Ed Fairburn, Jeremy Cowart and others, I used this photo of a robin that I shot in Versailles, Ohio, as a base and layered the image (a few times over) on top of a triplicated celestial star chart. I sketched over the bird it a few times. And a few more.
Adding more and more layers — I built up the illustration with paper and watercolor textures, and other photos from my archive including a peacock, a tree, fallen leaves and a human eye.
Knowing all of the details that are hidden in the art, MAGIC FLUTE has truly become one of my favorite posters. For my viewer’s sake, I wish that I had recorded the process à la Cowart’s Thom Yorke portrait/illustration, but it’ll have to wait until next time. I promise.
What struck me about the final scene in STREETCAR, Act III, Scene 5, was the burst of color that enters the scene. Particularly since our main character is named Blanche. I see the color as what her world becomes after she breaks from reality and goes into her fantasy state.
“And, Stella—that cool yellow silk—the boucle—see is it’s crushed. If it’s not too crushed I’ll wear it and on the lapel that silver and turquoise pin in the shape of a sea-horse. […] And, oh, Stella—try to locate that bunch of artificial—violets in that box, too, to pin with the sea-horse on the lapel of the jacket.”
“I’m green with envy.”
“Such a pretty blue jacket.”
“One day out on the ocean I will die—with my hand in the hand of some nice-looking ship’s doctor, a very young one with a small blond mustache and a big silver watch. […] And I’ll be buried at sea sewn up in a clean white sack and dropped overboard at noon—in the blaze of summer—and into an ocean as blue as—the blue of my first lover’s eyes!”
Models: Cassandra Engber, Chiara Motley
Photos layered into this poster are from my personal photo archive and include images from New Orleans, Ohio, Massachusetts, Indiana, Ireland, Chicago, Paris, Spain and even one from an airplane.
Shortly after I started working at Law Week Colorado, the CEO of Circuit Media announced that she was in the planning stages of a company service trip to Mexico. A few months later, we found ourselves on a hot, sweaty bus ride from Puerto Vallarta to the small town of Bucerias.
From Bucerias, we met up with men and women working at a nonprofit called PEACE Mexico. They toured the Circuit Media team around the area of Punta de Mita showing us the tangible results of the work they have been doing for years.
When we returned to Denver in November of last year a few shades darker than when we were when we left, I started thumbing through the hundreds of photos that I took while we were down in Nayarit. I found myself drawn to all of the color and texture that Mexico had to offer. From those images, I based my concept for the 2010 Annual Report—a kind of tactile vibrance that PEACE brings to the area. Independently, I designed the entire 96-page report using supplied copy and my own photographs, as well as additional photos by Jamie Cotten, Elizabeth Lloyd Photography, Nikhol Esteras Roberts and Nova Pennison.
Something I never thought I’d say: I love designing for opera.
Working with Dr. Jon Truitt on the posters for the Schmidt Opera Series has been a true joy. It’s provided me with a lot of opportunity to reimagine these great works of art for a modern audience of college students.
TRIAL BY JURY is the latest in the Schmidt Opera Series. Using my own photos shot on a Pentax K1000 in Dublin, I paired it with a hot-pink stencil/graffiti-esque paint job for the title typography.