Staying Power Exhibit Posters
Philadelphia, like pretty much EVERYWHERE, is undergoing dramatic changes in its landscape and demographics. Philly is definitely a cool place to be and people are relocating here like never before. As housing becomes difficult to find or afford in the 'hip' areas of the city, adjacent neighborhoods are seeing dramatic changes caused by disruptive and unbridled development (encouraged through outdated city policies).
Fairhill is one such neighborhood and it is also the home to The Village of Arts and Humanities. In an effort to understand, invest in and amplify unheard voices, they, along with Monument Lab created a project called 'Staying Power' and invited a team of artists and residents to ask "What is your staying power in this neighborhood? In this city? In the world?"
While these questions meant something different for everyone involved, artists Courtney Bowles and Mark Strandquist used the prompt to ask "who is missing from the neighborhood? Who has been displaced? Who is fighting for their return?"
They began working with five women—Tamika Bell, Paulette Carrington, Starr Granger, Ivy Lenore Johnson, and Yvonne Newkirk—whose lives were, or continue to be, ensnared by long-term and life sentencing. Together they gathered stories, took photos, and created a monument that “highlights the struggles of the present, while imagining the day when all women serving life are set free." The monument was installed at the Village of Arts and Humanities.
People's Paper Co-op
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
OK, that was the backstory to provide context. Most of that work had already been completed when Mark and Courtney asked me to create a series of posters to commemorate the exhibit. The posters were designed to be a keepsake for visitors, allowing them to take a part of the experience home with them.
One of the first things I did was design a font. A central theme of their poem was growth and flowering. I created a typeface based on an antique version of the classic 'Bodoni'. I call it 'Bogroni'. I know, I know... so clever!
While designing the posters, I kept in mind that our intention was to print them on a risograph machine (if you aren't familiar with this, think of it as a machine that is 1/3 photocopier, 1/3 color printer, 1/3 automated screenprinting). I created a series of 2 color posters where the green layer could be the exact same print, and only the pink layer would change with each variation.
The back of the poster contains a heartfelt poem imagining a day when women serving life sentences are free and some pretty startling information about youth incarceration in Pennsylvania.