SPECTRAL MORNINGS LIVE AT CRANBROOK / performance and posters - 2010
In January of 2010, I brought my band, Spectral Mornings, to the Cranbrook Academy of Art campus, and we performed a set of songs, written mainly in 2007, culminating in a passionate rendition of a piece that has always been known as Drum Song. This performance served a few purposes for me. First, it served as a demonstration of the cathartic nature of my own music for my classmates, so that they could hopefully understand the depth of feeling that I had been trying to convey in my other Cranbrook work. Second, it allowed me to explore the connections between location, identity, and expression, by creating a singular moment that encompassed both expresser and audience; a one-time event that touched on elements of ritual and marked a crossroads of time, place, and personal trajectory.
To accompany the performance, I designed and screenprinted a run of 12” x 18” posters, and I created a set of four unique posters on 24” x 36” canvas, one for each member of the band. The posters for the show featured an illustration of all the Spectral Mornings equipment over the years, as well as a swarm of airplanes. The planes became an avatar of sorts, a stand-in for dynamic machinery and the idea of being overwhelmed.
I saw these particular posters as a kind of culmination of all the Spectral Mornings posters that came before, and as a demonstration of my design interests: geometry, custom typography, texture, noise, illustration, lines, density, emotion. I was interested in questioning the role of the contemporary poster, particularly in terms of music promotion in the age of the internet, where a posted piece of paper doesn’t have much point. The poster has moved from an announcement to a commemoration, something to put up on a wall after the event. I created large posters on canvas, the size of typical paintings sold at the mall, to mark this transition: the large posters blatantly presented themselves as souvenirs, not advertisements. They carried information, not necessarily textual information about an upcoming event, but textural information about the emotional nature of the event. This emphasis on emotion gets to the heart of my interests in design, particularly when traditional design overlaps with the idea of promoting something more personal and mercurial, like musical expression.