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.
I’m excited to release the artwork for my first full-season brand — Fabrefaction Theatre Company’s 2012–2013 season. Branded as FTC’s “American Season,” the ’12–’13 season takes Atlanta theatre-goers on a journey through what being an American is all about. Using four colors — red, white, blue, gold (and black) — each poster is based on typographic folksy fair and Americana posters.
Along with these five “Professional Season” productions are four “Young Artist Series” — plays and musicals that give students of all ages the chance to perform. The YAS uses the same colors, but with strong vector icons to represent the individual productions.
The “Young Artist Series” at Fabrefaction Theatre Company gives student of all ages a chance to perform and be involved with the Atlanta theatre community.
The 2012–2013 professional season is based on what it means to be an American. That brand carried over into the YAS artwork utilizing the same colors as the professional series’ artwork. To be more kid-friendly, each show features a vector icon illustration to represent the individual production.
Upon graduation in May, the NTC Classes of 2011 and 2012 traveled from Denver to New York City to perform a showcase of work for directors, agents and casting directors. This program handed out to the attendees was a collaboration with photographer eric laurits.
Designed to stimulate the creation of high-quality, new plays for young actors, Waterwell’s New Works Lab at PPAS offers emerging and established playwrights the chance to develop their work with the support of professional directors and designers and a cast of exceptionally talented high school artists. This annual workshop series presents stripped down, actor-centric productions that add to the canon of thematically rich, complex and original scripts and roles for student actors. After the workshop, the scripts are published by Playscripts, Inc., listing the PPAS production as the original cast and creative team.
Waterwell’s educational mission is to deliver the highest caliber theatre training available to young artists in the nation. Central to that mission is preparing students to be full participants in their profession and to make their own contributions to the canon of new American plays.
‘The Magic of Movies’ is a touring interactive theatrical lecture on film hosted by my main man, the charming Mr. David Sherman. Truly a one-man show, David conceptualized and wrote The Magic of Movies, editing clips from popular movies to demonstrate different aspects of the language of film. Tying in the history of photography and the science of how your eye works when you see a film, The Magic of Movies is an educational performance that tours to middle and high schools in and around Dayton, Ohio. The in-school artists program is produced by Muse Machine, a student arts organization in Dayton.
I created the poster/marketing image for The Magic of Movies based on the photo/concept by David Sherman and Doug Merk. Now that the show is up and running, I also designed a study guide pdf that can be downloaded and distributed to students after the performance at their school.
In February 2010, the Board of Directors at the Denver Center Theatre Company announced that they planned to close the doors of one of the top MFA programs in the country for acting—the National Theatre Conservatory would have its final bow in May 2012. This logo was an effort to keep the school alive. It circulated on Facebook, websites and was featured in an article by the Denver Post. Unfortunately, there was no change with the board’s decision and the school closed this May.
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.
I spent the summer of 2009 in the beautiful Berkshire mountains designing as the Print & Graphics (PNG) Assistant. Hand-in-hand with the PNG Manager, we were responsible for any and all materials distributed at the Festival during the summer season. Here are a few of the program spreads from the 2009 season at WTF.
NOTHING IS THE END OF THE WORLD (EXCEPT FOR THE END OF THE WORLD)
by Bekah Brunstetter
directed by Stephen Brackett
In the near-distant future, an NYC charter school becomes the first to welcome artificially intelligent students. The social experiment becomes a reality show and suddenly priorities and moralities turn inside-out as the AI’s try to integrate and everyone tries to survive junior year. High school dramedy meets invasion sci-fi in this new dark new play by one of theater’s boldest new voices.
National Theatre Conservatory Class of 2012′s FLEURS DU MAL, in collaboration with Robert Davidson. Denver, Colo.
The movement training at the NTC is based on low-flying trapeze. FLEURS DU MAL was the culmination of months of work by the Class of 2012 consisting of the poetry of Charles Beaudelaire told only through movement and trapeze.