31 Mar POSITIVE: Stand + Be Counted
When Tobagonian reggae artiste Positive tipped DesignbySPIRIT to art direct ‘Stand And Be Counted’, I saw quite a few aspects of the cover instantly. It’s great when you are designing for an artist and you’re a fan of the music and when listening, I almost always see images. The concept was strong and forceful and he was making a clear, unwavering stand and speaking on issues from a Christian perspective. My task was to visualise this.
For years, I’ve been tired of the endless string of studio posed glossy RnB shots and I have become more intentional about telling a story when I do produce cover art (which is now quite rare). My goal was not to make a pretty cover but to create an environment to house the narrative given to me by Positive. It had to be unashamedly local but high quality and intricate and above all it had to tell his story by drawing in the viewer.
“I wanted to find something that was loud, aggressive, intrusive and representative of Trinidad and Tobago culturally...”
THE PROPS: The village ‘mic-man’ that drives around making local announcements on deaths, marriages, water shortages, political announcements in the loudest most forceful manner, waking you out of your sleep and disturbing your routine symbolises the boldness we are to adopt as we STAND + BE COUNTED. The red, white and black bullhorn used in marches and protests further solidified the concept. Together they represent his chosen vehicle ( #wordplay 😉 ) – music.
THE TEAM: This project is extra special as it was the first time I got to work with my God-daughter Keziah Lendor who is all things fashion. Because I’m hardly in Trinidad this opportunity never presented itself before. It was a pleasure, she is the consummate professional and the perfect photographic director. My chosen photographer was Ron Charles whose work I have been following for years. His ability to pick an entire scene and frame it is beautiful and so is the way he picks up colour and texture.
THE LOCATION: Once Ron found the ‘mic man’, I went to inspect the car. A lowered old-school Cressida fresh out the paint shop? SCORE!!! In my mind, I saw it juxtaposed with galvanise fences and unpainted walls. Keziah scoured the country and came back with a beautiful location in gritty and historic Belmont complete with the zinc fence I saw in my head. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Time to start designing…