Monday, May 11, 2015

The Look of Three-Part Harmony

On Friday, I picked up the Music, Movies & Magic poster from Triple Stamp Press, and I'll have to say it's one of the best posters I've had anything to do with for quite some time. It also reminds me how much fun it is to collaborate with others on a creative project. In this case, the collaboration was with Terry Rea, my Bijou partner, and Michael Harl, local musician, WRIR deejay, graphic designer and longtime collaborator -- a trio.

I first met Michael when I was running the Richmond Flicker, a bi-monthly screening of short Super 8 and 16mm films by area filmmakers. Fairly early on I secured a studio space at the Hand Workshop (now Visual Arts Center of Richmond) with a combination of money and barter. I agreed to teach an "Intro to Super 8 Filmmaking" class in exchange for a discount on rent.

Michael attended Flicker and decided to take my Super 8 class. Soon after he offered to help design the Flicker zines I produced for each show. During the first year or so I did them myself using the old paste up method and photocopy machines. Michael and several other designers offered to take over the design duties. Then, much later, I was able to return the favor and offer him a paying gig doing graphic design work for the VCU School of Nursing.

So, Michael was the first guy I thought of when Terry and I were kicking around ideas for a poster. Having done posters for two previous events, we knew that we wanted to strip the poster down to the basics: who, what, when and where. And we wanted a clean, crisp design that evoked an earlier part of cinema history.

All it took was one meeting of the three of us to get on the same page. Terry brought his Speedball Book and after flipping through it and geeking out on some old school type and design, Michael and Terry zeroed in on a look for the poster. Michael gave us two designs for Terry and me to choose from, we picked one, and then we all made a few tweaks. Michael took the file to Triple Stamp and, with their advice, selected the paper.

As I loaded the posters in my car on Friday and gazed at the hot-off-the-press poster, I smiled and thought to myself, "I've always loved the sound of three-part harmony."

Turns out it looks good too.

-- James Parrish

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