Many people have seen the brilliantly illustrated posters for both Accidental Death of an Anarchist and The Tempest around the school the past few weeks, but not many know about the hard work of the illustrator behind them. I asked Indë Francis about his experience creating the posters.
“Creating posters for the school’s productions of Accidental Death of an Anarchist and The Tempest has been a great exercise in graphic design/illustration, and it’s been a good supplement to my commercial portfolio outside of the work I’ve done on The Northamptones’ albums.
For the graphic of Accidental Death of an Anarchist, the director (of art, and the play itself), Ileana Fournier, gave a presentation on the “look and feel” of the play, and from that, I pulled the play’s signature orange hue. Later on, during a production meeting, we discussed the composition, and I sketched out some ideas before solidifying a design in my journal and redrawing it on my computer. We chose to highlight the preface to the play- the fall of the anarchist from the police station window. The orange reminded me of bricks, so that worked out perfectly in the final design. The style of the poster is supposed to be reminiscent of a murder mystery, with the unintelligible body of the anarchist and the silhouettes below. I made a couple of versions of the police officer in the window: one black against a white interior, and one white against a black interior (as pictured here). We chose the latter because Ileana felt that it reflected the separation between the people and the government, but we used the alternate version for the cast/crew T-shirts.
As for The Tempest, art director/producer Josh Dobrow had a very specific image in mind: he wanted the famous Great Wave Off Kanagawa, a woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai, rendered in a geometric or realistic style, with one of several quotes (I chose “we are such stuff as dreams are made on,” but “hell is empty and all the devils are here” was a tempting choice). Although this poster felt rather unoriginal to me (because it is a rendition of a pre-existing work), I’m still pleased with the result, and the geometric style, while it was rather painstaking, was fun to experiment with.
Overall, working with the school’s student-produced plays has been wonderful, and I also had the pleasure of doing sound design/operation for Accidental Death of an Anarchist. Hopefully in the future I’ll get to do more posters for the school, but next year I might start asking for some compensation for my artwork because all of this has been very time-consuming and while the experience is valuable, I think it’s about time that I used my skills to support myself financially!”
You can follow Indë’s Instagram and see his other work here.