Client: The Farmory
Location: Green Bay, United States
Completion date: 2018
Artwork budget: $5,055
Barb Luhring Graphic Recorder
Van Lanen Printing
Alex Smith, program director for The Farmory – an urban greens and fish farming project in Green Bay, Wisconsin, needed an image to raise awareness of the good work the organization is doing and assist in donor, entrepreneur and volunteer engagement. I suggested a colorful, cartoon-like watercolor painting featuring diverse volunteers and participants portrayed as community superheroes. The painting could be scanned, enlarged and printed to hang permanently in The Farmory's offices. The image could also be imprinted on a satin banner to travel with their education events. In addition, I proposed individual graphics for social media efforts.
It was important to respectfully portray diversity in ethnicity and age an engaging cartoon-like drawing. In other words, diverse people in the community needed to see themselves as part of this community project. To that end, I created many pencil sketches of diverse faces, running them past Alex before settling on the characters. The final illustration portrays enthusiasm, acceptance, education and co-workers helping one another. Thus engaging the community to volunteer, donate, plan a new food-based business or simply learn to love growing good, healthy food for their families, friends and themselves!
Alex Smith, The Farmory program director, was my contact person for each stage as the project moved from concept; to sketches; to final watercolor painting. After the watercolor painting was approved, I took my 12" x 24" painting to Melanie Wishart for digital scanning. Melanie provided me with a large digital file - 3' x 6' - that I retouched in Adobe Photoshop. I was also provided with a proof printed on white paper that showed me the quality of what the final image would be. It was incredible! During the course of the project I had many conversations with Scott Riha of Van Lanen Printing, who would be printing the final image on Gator Board. The final product featured gorgeous color and watercolor texture. It was simply outstanding and Alex Smith, my client, was very pleased. The Farmory received the watercolor and all rights to use the image.
When I create drawings or paintings that feature people, I always ask my client - who is the audience you are trying to reach? People want to see themselves in public art, so I pay close attention to adding images of diversity and inclusion in order to heighten engagement. In other words - when creating public artwork - I want to be sure the whole of the public is represented.