Show: Les Voix des Morte. Mike Holmes.
Tell: “This piece is a 3D, two-ply teaser poster to promote a pop-up shop store concept and menswear label. It was my final university project, so the brief was self-directed. I decided to promote a fictional menswear brand that took an alternative direction to general fashion marketing. So, no muscle bound hunks with their tops off, no hot chicks, no fast cars.
“My approach was to promote an adventurous spirit of exploration and discovery, something that would allow every man to find the areas in their own life where they can continue the spirit of honest adventure and discovery set by the likes of Ernest Shackleton.
“I began with the idea that the label would create only classic menswear items like white t-shirts, blue jeans, etc. A James Dean-esque aesthetic, but quickly realised that although an image of James Dean will always look great, it will also look like everything that has gone before. I came across a number of 60’s, 70’s and 80’s Ordnance Survey maps in Oxfam and started to use these to create mood boards that led to my realisation of how maps are intrinsically linked with adventure, exploration and masculinity.
“Seeing my black and white inspiration images (images of James Dean, Brando and Bruce Davidson’s New York Gang photos) set against the map background, I realised how the rich texture of the maps contrasted so well with the dynamic images. After finding some examples of map-based art I set about photocopying, cutting, sticking and folding. I added a lot of white space to the pot as well as branding.
“It was important to me that the brand was never presented just as a logo. I therefore reproduced it as a pattern in a very light grey so that it could be placed across everything, whilst remaining almost invisible. Once I had the idea the only challenge in creating the poster was the labour necessary to cut out and lift up so many tiny triangles on an A2 sheet. The effort was well worth it as this was one of the aspects of my project that really surprised and impressed people.
“In other aspects of the project I found difficulties working with the images, not wanting to crop the great images shot by fellow student, Becca Stocker (www.rebeccastocker.co.uk). But it was only when the images had been cropped and chopped that they would fit with the other elements. The rest of the project will be posted to my site in the near future.
“The whole project was fantastically enjoyable, with this poster being only one small element. The main difference that it has inspired in my practice is to work and plan on large sheets of paper or by printing out and sticking together work at each stage of development. I had tended to work in small, pocket size notebooks and this change to a large scale meant that I could see the whole progression of the project all at once. Seeing all of my ideas and experiments together on the same sheet enabled me to make much faster and better informed progress than with previous projects.”
Info: Mike Holmes is a freelance graphic designer, living and working in Manchester, England.
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