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The brief was to create a poster advertising “Love and Pride,” a new musical by TDPS student Sy Bocalbos Jordan. The musical follows multiple characters who grapple not only with their own sexual and gender identities, but also with those of the people who surround them. Recognizing and respecting the nuance that exists along the LGBTQ spectrum becomes the key to true acceptance among all the characters — even those who already considered themselves part of the LGBTQ community.
Among the biggest questions the musical’s characters ask themselves is, “Should I express or conceal myself?” I designed my poster around the decision to unabashedly express oneself, so the central image became a mouth speaking into a megaphone. By omitting the rest of the face, the image becomes gender ambiguous; that ambiguity is intensified through conflicting visual cues such as stubble, lipstick, and a “masculine” hand with painted nails. It is unnecessary to define who the speaker is in terms of gender; their declaration of pride is so much more important …
… that declaration is represented by a speech bubble containing the title of the play (jovial letterforms hand-painted in acrylic) with a rainbow acrylic wash as its background, a nod to the LGBT pride flag. I didn’t want the bubble to be of the typical comic book ilk, so I looked to photos from San Francisco Pride (among the many festivals included in the musical) for aesthetic inspiration — so many feathers! So many beads! I painted/drew both to create a suitable, festive border for the bubble.
The ultimate goal was a bright, celebratory image that is both open-hearted and open-ended.
Much to my delight and relief, the poster art was received with great enthusiasm by the musical’s creator! The art was subsequently 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.