The Blue illustration advertises for an upcoming Toledo Opera performance of a revolutionary new opera. The story is of an African American couple in Harlem and their journey to parenthood and the loss of their teenage son at the hands of a police officer.
This moving and timely opera needed an image that was equally provoking and thoughtful. Purposely representing this young boy in a symbolic hoodie, while montaging images of the Black Live Matters movement, newspaper clippings, the roses from his funeral, there is texture and new vignettes to discover at every glance. But the most provoking part of the illustration is the boy himself and the look in his eyes. Even though his role isn’t as large as the mother or father’s in the opera performance, his legacy is the true focus of the tale. He looks the viewer directly into the eye – not smiling, nor aggressive, but powerful, important and with a crucial message that needs to be heard.
In the words of the Toledo Opera: "The poster Wehrman designed for Blue, a portrait of a Black youth who returns the viewer’s gaze with an almost celestial calmness, his face encircled by a hoodie, with a collage of newspaper headlines referencing the Black Lives Matter movement, police, and protest in the background, had a profound effect on librettist Thompson, who considers her artwork an authentic reflection of the libretto he wrote for Blue."