Thursday, July 28th, 2011 | 10 Comments
An idea for a project that would build authentic community through the collective creation of something meaningful.
On the 12th of every month for a year, 1200 Posters is releasing a limited-edition print (100) by an up-and-coming, young artist, speaking to the power of community, collaboration, and conversation. We caught up with the good people at Big New Ideas to learn more about the 1200 Posters project.
Thanks to all who participated!
Thanks to all who participated and congratulations to the winners: Charis Loke and @verwho !
Can you tell us about Big New Ideas, and how the idea for 1200 Posters came about?
1200Posters: Big New Ideas is a multidisciplinary team of creative thinkers and doers working to make change. We help forward-thinking businesses and organizations start conversations, communicate effectively, and activate community. Building systems and tools to facilitate meaningful community engagement is not limited to any particular industry or skill-set, and we continue to discover that the best ideas rest in the overlaps between industries. With so much happening online, and so many new tools coming out every day, we work to instill our values of community, collaboration, and conversation, into everything we do.
Last spring, Aaron came to New York and got dinner with Max, Greg, and Robyn. Aaron had been consulting on web projects, Greg and Robyn were new arrivals to the city as freelance artists, and Max was working with a new charter school. We were all following, in different fields and different mediums, the same feeling of community we’d all experienced.
The conversation continued, and landed on an idea for a project that would build authentic community through the collective creation of something meaningful. As with any project we encounter, the possibilities can sometimes be the most overwhelming part. In brainstorming ways to structure our project, we revisited a piece of text we’d found from Margaret Wheatley’s “Turning to One Another.” The text says everything we were trying to communicate beautifully, while leaving enough room for limitless unique interpretations.
As artists and illustrators themselves, Robyn and Greg were ready with a community of artists eager to make these prints together. And by selling the posters to fund the next month’s printing, we could engage an even wider community of customers in that conversation by supporting, purchasing, and owning the prints.
Poster #1 • Mando Veve
“My process involved collaging and digitally composing an accumulation of small drawings into a larger composition. This was the first project in which I had to utilize the computer to organize the chaos that usually characterizes my process in order to have something legible”
Poster #2 • Catherine Chi
“I’m fascinated by nostalgic objects; faded colors, smoky patinas, and other imperfections that mark the passage of time. I also love the accessibility and versatility of digital media. My digital work often strives to replicate the quality of traditional print media, particularly that predating latter half 20th century.”
How did you go about choosing artists for this project? Was there a particular style, medium etc that you were looking for? How did you approach each artist, was there something you were hoping to communicate?
1200Posters: Our main criteria when hiring our artists is their visible appreciation and understanding for the importance of community in the art / design world. We tend to select artists that employ whimsical and dreamlike imagery in their work as well as having excellent type/image integration skills. Before we hire each artist we also make sure that they have an open attitude towards sharing their process as well as their support for other artists in the project.
“There’s a Chinese saying: “it takes hard work, talent, and luck to be successful”. I believe having good relationships with people makes up a large part of the “luck”. Since graduating in 2010, I’ve been trying to find a place in the highly competitive editorial illustration industry. In the limited few months of my career, I was very lucky to encounter and be helped out by a lot of great people”
Poster #4 • JooHee Yoon
“I like to create pictures that are odd and interesting, that have a narrative. Sort of a parallel world inhabited by strange people, who at first glance might seem absurd but which are in fact based on the realities I observe in my everyday life.”
What are your goals for 1200 posters? Is this something you plan on continuing in the future. What have been some of the challenges you have faced?
1200Posters: Our goal with 1200 Posters is to offer these artists the space and the freedom to express their values, while living those values as members of our 1200 Posters community. When we started, we were offering the chance to break out of their day to day and introduce their work to a new audience.
As the project has grown, we’ve found a more compelling opportunity in the collective nature of the project, and continue to see our artists support each other and grow together. Whether through the website, on twitter, or on Facebook, by aggregating the posters and the community in one place, we’ve made it easier to find these artists and support their careers.
We’ve faced quite a few challenges in launching this project, keeping it financially sustainable, buying so many tubes! and working to keep each and every customer happy. We’ve gone through at least a dozen iterations of our printing process, how we bring each new artist into the group, and how we share the project to a larger audience. Social media has proven an invaluable tool in helping us grow a regular machine out of nothing, and we’re sure will help carry it forward.
We don’t know what’ll be next, other than it will be something. We’d like continue exploring the role of community, collaboration, and conversation, perhaps in this medium again, or maybe others. Ideas?
Poster #5 • Ole Tillmann
“Talk to people you know. Talk to people you don’t know. Talk to people you never talk to.” serves as one of the most fundamental rules to progress in community, in my opinion. While it may seem very basic it ends up connecting so many strands of what it means to be.”
Poster #6 • Caitlin Heimerl
“I will “expect to be surprised” by the boundless possibilities of imagery and design that come from a collaborative effort like this. I have felt most engaged in communities where I am asked to put my best foot forward and am met with support and respect. I think that this project has engaged me in a similar way.”
What does “creating community, collaboration, and conversation” mean to you?
1200Posters: We think it’s simply about being real people. Being honest with ourselves and each other, no matter what the context. When we look each other in the eyes we can solve problems, whether trying to sell posters, imagine an idea, or all the way to our most important issues like education and climate change.
We’ve all experienced it, whether through the arts, local communities, family, friends, or any number of other organizations – the power of a passionate group of people to accomplish something together. We hope these posters capture a little bit of that, and remind people how important it truly is.
Poster #7 • Lia Marcoux
“Using the text as part as the environment, as art directors Robyn and Greg urged, helps make this part of their relationship instead of just the line of a moment. This piece was more conceptual than my usual, purely narrative work.”
Poster #8 • Kali Ciesemier
“I decided to indulge my childhood love of secret places, which led to the idea of a floating hideaway that these explorers (and birds!) had helped build. Also, c’mon, who wouldn’t want to climb up an impossibly tall ladder to plant a sky garden?!”
“When I think about creating art, I always see it as a solitary process. Something that is solely between the creator and the created; a relationship that requires itself to be detached from anything else in your life. However, in order to create, you need the drive and you need the inspiration. I don’t think there is anything more important than these two things, and in order to obtain them, it is crucial to have a growing community.”
S&TM: Tremendous thanks to 1200 Posters for generously contributing the contest prizes and for all their time!
All images © 2011 of the originating artists.
CONTEST DETAILS: 2 winners will be selected randomly and notified via email or twitter on Friday August 5th!