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The challenge of the brief was to create artwork reflecting the thematically related yet distinct visions of two choreographers, each presenting their own works as part of Berkeley Dance Project 2017.
Choreographer Krista DeNio's NETWORK brings forward stories of formerly incarcerated individuals and considers what happens when confinement keeps people from their support networks. The piece draws parallels between human systems of communication, tree roots, and neural networks.
Choreographer James Graham, on the other hand, explores the human relationship to the elements of earth, fire, air, and water. In his piece, he introduces the concept of "marrow/heart/humanity" as the human element.
Both dance works explore how we communicate with one another, and how this is mirrored in our relationships with the non-human world. What sustains us? What makes us feel connected while we are alive?
The goal for the poster design was to merge the above thoughts in a single image.
In considering each choreographer's works, I envisioned a "heart biosphere," implying Graham's human element and loosely referencing the connections DeNio makes between humans and nature. A dancer leaps toward the heart with arms wide open — perhaps the heart has come from his own chest? Or maybe he strives to join the biosphere? Either way, the heart’s flora connects with the dancer in a viny embrace.
Given the choreographers' focus on the natural world, a hand-drawn and -painted approach seemed most appropriate. The dancer is the sole photographic element, toned to harmonize with the poster's two blue washes. The wash behind the illustration can be interpreted as recalling either sky or water, and was painted in acrylic. Lettering and line work were drawn in graphite, then shifted to a deep navy blue in Photoshop. All remaining coloring was executed in watercolor. A loose painting style, rustic line work, and seemingly pliant letterforms all contribute to a piece that, while bright and colorful, comes off as organic.
The poster art was successfully adapted into a suite of printed and digital collateral dispersed on the university's campus, Facebook, and beyond, providing recognizable and consistent imagery with which to identify the production.