SO last night I had the pleasure of attending the American Savings Foundation Scholars reception at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville, CT (holy fancy pants, Batman). As a former scholarship recipient, I was privileged to be there as one of three featured alumni now making a career in the arts. The other featured alumni were Angélica Huertas, marketing manager of Shakesperience Productions), and Christopher Weigel, vocalist and musician. Christopher brilliantly performed a classical operatic piece as well as a contemporary song of his own, while Angelica brought along the fun and laughter of Romeo and Juliet in 7 minutes, performed by just two actors. It was super funny and the audience enjoyed it immensely! A surprise appearance/brief speech by Senator Blumenthal made the evening even more special. (I especially respect him for his proactivity on the Lyme disease front). It was a beautiful reception and it was really lovely to see this foundation really take great pride and care in the students to whom they provide financial assistance.
Even amongst the glowing chandeliers and grandness of the massive ballroom the Foundation managed to make it feel intimate, welcoming, and an important piece of the community. Although I received their scholarship while at RISD, I never attended any receptions. My parents, not being much for social gatherings, sort of avoided these types of things whenever possible. Looking back, it's a shame we never went because it is a very generous thing to give the students and it's a proud night for the parents, too. Ah well, live and learn...
|FEATURED ALUMNI: Me, Angélica Huertas, and Christopher Weigel.|
Anyway, my contribution to the event was 1: designing stuff (discussed below) and 2: displaying my artwork around the ballroom, including 9 or so doodlepaintings on easels and my illustration portfolio. Knowing that I am not at all of the public speaking sort, I did not give a speech (thankfully!). But sometimes its nice just to let the artwork speak for itself. At the end of the reception, a group of young girls came over to talk to me about my artwork (I guess they liked what they saw :) and I got to answer some of their questions (including the ever-present kid question "Did you really draw these!?!"). I really like talking to kids because, well, I was one once! And if I had known at age 10 that in 18 years I would be making a successful life for myself as an artist, I would have been beside myself with excitement. It's very important to me that young people are exposed and introduced to the possibility that they, too, can pursue a career in whatever makes them happy.
Over the past couple of months I had been working with ASF's COO Maria Falvo to create the event's invitation, program, and alumni scholar posters (shown below). I very much enjoyed the chance to design on the side, and working with an organized professional like Maria made my job exceedingly easier! It was also a lot of fun for me to be able to just jump in and design the look and feel of the event from scratch while drawing on the colors of their logo and the feel of their organization.
|INVITATION (front & back)|
|PROGRAM (tri-old, double sided)|
Design has the power to transform basic communication into an aesthetically pleasing experience, crafted with the specific intent to impact your subconscious. Yes, I want to make things that look nice, but most importantly I see it as the designer's privilege to make something out of what could otherwise be nothing. Branding an event is creating an event. Design gives life and personality to whatever it is applied to. It's magical to me that colors, fonts/type, and other visual cues can come together not only to communicate necessary information clearly, but to provide an experience for the psyche itself. What would a Happy Meal be without the package? Just a tiny hamburger and a cheap toy that no one wants.
I hope to be able to work with Maria again for other needs the ASF may have, whether it's a future reception or something else. Working at the Gamm Theatre has been strengthening and broadening my skills and I'd welcome the opportunity to freelance design more often.
Ta-ta for now!