I like a challenge, creative or otherwise. Ideally I’d prefer to explore new mediums and directions within personal work, rather than experiment with an assignment, just because there is more latitude for errors. However, when Rob Story approached me with this assignment, I thought it was a good opportunity to explore the silkscreen process that I’d been fascinated by, so I jumped onboard.
These three 18” x 24” silkscreen posters were available for sale at the recent Moontower Comedy Festival, to raise funds for the preservation of the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas.
As a painter, it was an interesting challenge to be limited to 3 colours, plus black, and work with mostly flat areas, and I enjoyed revisiting my former pen and ink style.
For the line work I use both brush and pen on top of my pencil sketch.
My biggest challenge with this assignment was to work within the boundaries of a predetermined design and copy. I typically work on ideas first and present those to an art director.
Rob (and his colleague George Ellis) had already conceived the sideshow poster concept, so I had to create portraits of these comedians that would work with the titles “Fire Breathing Comedian”, “Palest Performer on Earth, and “The Man with 1001 Personalities”, as well as some bylines.
The rest of the process became a wonderfully collaborative experience. Rob suggested that perhaps these portraits could be part beast, like dragons and hydras, and I countered with the visual hyperbole that is synonymous with sideshows: perception vs. reality. He was open to letting me choose the colour palette.
Carvey as co-joined triplets (plus 1/2) with his church lady and Garth characters, plus his turtle character from his movie Master of Disguise.
For the Carvey Poster, Rob had already included the small vignettes at the top of the Carvey poster, with the words “Amazing” and “Absurd” assigned under these blank spaces. At the 11th hour I came up with the idea to depict Carvey as both Bush Sr. and Jr. I had viewed some of Carvey’s stand up routines on youtube and he does a great skit of the two of them in conversation.
Doing a portrait of someone doing a portrait felt like a mind game.
Last week, I was amazed by the coincidence of the date of the poster (and Carvey’s performance at the Paramount) and the unveiling of the George W Bush Library in Dallas.
Rob sent me this photo of the fresh prints. I'm still waiting to receive mine.
I want to thank Rob Story for the fun assignment, Marcos Chin for helping me out with some advice on how to create gradients, and my husband (motion graphics artist and lapsed illustrator), Balvis Rubess, for helping me with the vectors and layers.