Designer: James Flames
Size: 18 x 24 inches
Printing Process: Screenprint
Number of Inks: Four
The average gigposter designer is so prolific these days that, at times, it can make it difficult to honor individual pieces within a greater body of work. But I am always on the lookout for those golden moments when someone pushes their boundaries of style and execution, only to be rewarded with one of their finest creations. When I looked upon the newest James Flames print, I simply beamed, knowing one of those moments had happen right before my very eyes.
Following the North Carolina, by way of Brooklyn designer in illustration and poster circles for years now, I have always been impressed with his comic book inspired style, but I often felt that his sketches were more interesting than his tighter, more refined, final posters. (If you have the time, I recommend going deep in his blog for a lot of cool sketchbook and drawing class studies.) Making that transition from ink and pencil and acrylics to a silkscreened final product can either add life and texture to a piece, or take it away. Far more often than not, it blunts that quality though. It's just the nature of the beast.
That's why his leap to such a loose, flowing, and integrated type solution grabbed me, as well as the bits of texture and flow and colors bleeding and blending. Just gorgeous. It is also a more shape and line-quality driven figure than he usually deals in. Combined with the color palette, the whole thing feels like a leap of faith that in turn bursts into a magical reward.
But let's be honest how I really ended up here: Look at all of that whitespace!! Who risks so much real estate on a gigposter these days? The entire thing hinges on keeping well over two/thirds simply for a falling key to descend downward on. The desperation palpable, the break in realities believable. All of it only possible thanks to the dramatic composition.
James confirms everything for me when he excitedly explains, "I really wanted to try some new techniques, playing wth textures, different ways of drawing, even how I settle on a concept, to the next level." Even down to the most basic of decisions. "Making the outline of the figures, I chose to have that be lighter than the darkest color on the poster, creating a subtle, but cool, effect." Adding in that all important texture, he says, "I actually created a watercolor painting, which I scanned and manipulated to work as a screenprint."
The concepting, usually a fairly tight process for him, took on a "stream of consciousness" bent, thanks to the freedom afforded by a client like Mogwai. "Letting me run free with my ideas, I started with the simplest little pencil sketch, and then barely stuck to that framework as I moved along. Each step, from pencils, to inks, to colors, to printing—I allowed to change the project and it's direction tremendously."
The end result is a great leap forward, and no looking back.
NOTE: Poster of the Week runs every Wednesday. Check it out each week!