If you caught our August blog announcement, you’d know that prolific Birmingham artist Paul Cordes Wilm was selected as the 2016 Featured Artist for Moss Rock Festival’s (MRF) 11th annual poster. Selecting Paul’s work was the easy part. Honing in on an existing piece from one of his numerous art series proved more difficult. So we decided to commission him to create a work of art especially for the eco-creative festival, which we had done with other artists the previous 2 years.
At a preliminary meeting, Paul sketched a few rudimentary designs on the fly as we discussed human-tree hybrids, animal muses, eco-friendly words for thought bubbles, and more. Because of the popularity of animal subjects on the past 3 festival posters and Paul’s own use of them in his work, we leaned toward staying in that vein. MRF seemed to have an unique poster series in the making. In the past, the Festival has showcased a dwarf rabbit by Susan Shoemaker, a squirrel by Darrell Ezekiel, and indigenous insects by Chiharu Roach. What animal could Paul bring to life? Two ideas rose to the top, the deer and the fox.
At our next meeting, Paul presented 3 preliminary works for us to consider (below). We watched with anticipation as he unveiled ink washed pieces on paper void of his usual punches of color. They didn’t scream Paul, but we knew they were only mock ups devoid of his signature black lines, color, and pop art details. We zeroed in on our favorite piece of the three, the fox on top of the state of Alabama. The fox as our subject just made sense in light of the festival’s smart living and nature themes.
Next we discussed the option of Paul hand-inking key text (festival name, dates, tagline, website) that we could drop into the design in lieu of using established typefaces. We thought that the handwritten effect would complement the overall look of the poster. This year, we were keen on the idea of the poster having the feel of a vintage poster, which used to be designed and constructed by hand before the proliferation of computer aided programs. Paul elaborated on that idea and envisioned MRF’s thematic words of Nature, Art + Design, and Smart Living mimicking the falling leaves from his painting. We all were loving the direction of the 2016 poster art. It was all coming together nicely. And Paul was off to paint! When he called a few days later to deliver the finished work a week early, we were surprised and delighted, plus eager to see.
We absolutely love it! The final work merges two of his most popular series, the Business Beasts and his Alabstractions. And its essence is very Moss Rock Festival. What a fox!
The design of the poster quickly followed. But that part of the process came easily. Paul did most of the heavy lifting with the creation of the art. We hope you like how it turned out! Look for the 2016 design in festival ads that will be popping up with many of our print and online sponsors in October and November, including: al.com | The Birmingham News, Hoover Sun, Birmingham Magazine, Hoover’s Magazine, B-Metro, Shelby Living, Alabama Baby & Child, Bell Media, Over the Mountain Journal, Homewood Star, Weld, Vestavia Voice, Cahaba Sun, Village Living, 280 Living, and Ink.
And be sure to check out our short interview with Paul Cordes Wilm in one of our upcoming October blogs. November 5 & 6 will be here before we know it! Mark your calendar. And start inviting friends and family.