Samaritan Project Poster

This is a poster that I created for a poster design class I took in the Fall 2012 semester at University of Baltimore. The design was for an event called “The Samaritan Project”, with readings honoring the victims of human trafficking.

The project brief required that any illustrations should be symbolic – while the subject matter is admittedly dark there should be some sort of hope being shown.

After cycling through some ideas I eventually came up with the idea of a single white rose standing defiantly on a dark, barren landscape.

I wrote down what I saw in my head then did sketches. Here’s the concept –

A dark, barren, broken, empty landscape – alien, like the surface of mars, or hell – picture Mordor in the lord of the rings. The sky is dark, full of menacing clouds. The ground is cracked and broken, and the cracks spell out (creepy) phrases. The entire image is dark, black, dark greys, and splashes of red punctuating and emphasizing the cracks in the ground.

Rising out of this dark landscape, in bold defiance, and contrast, is a single flower. A white rose, in bloom. Symbolizing love, purity, virtue, honor, and hope – spiritual states which transcend the physical. The rose rises boldly into the the skyline, it is the focal point, it is centered, it is a woman, she is a survivor, her purity and strength of spirit transcends physical transgression.

Visually the blooming rose will be the letter O in the word hope, with the remaining letters hand drawn and rendered similar to vines, but in a translucent white.

The cracks in the ground will also be hand drawn, and rendered as the dark survivor testimony. They will be chaotic, going all over the place, breaking the ground up and forming pits, illuminated by red below.

The image will be set in portrait, fading to all black at the bottom, where in a white, classic serif font will be the title – in caps – THE SAMARITAN PROJECT – break – Readings honoring the victims of human trafficking (mixed case) – break – tertiary info.

Here’s the final sketch –

Poster sketch by Jimmy Smutek

I considered using other flowers, most notably the eglantine rose, which symbolizes “a wound to heal” – but I decided against it because I wanted the symbolism to be spiritual and entirely positive. Something to stand in absolute contrast to the horror of human trafficking.

Here’s a couple of shots of the work as it progressed. I used a combination of tools for this project – Pencil and paper, Cinema 4D to help get the perspective correct, Adobe Illustrator for building the flower, and Adobe Photoshop for coloring, texture, and mood.

The only conceptual draw back I found with the white rose was that it is associated with funerals – regardless, the white rose represents grace, dignity, reverence, resistance and non-violence, so I decided it was fitting as a symbol of hope and resistance for both the survivors and for those who did not make it.

Here’s the final poster –

samaritan project poster by jimmy Smutek

Digital Artifacts

I ran across this stuff while rooting through a backup hard drive one evening. It ranges from, I’d guess about 2003 up until maybe 2009 or so.

None of it is particularly ground breaking, but what struck me about this stuff is that, with the exception of one piece, none of it serves any sort of design function whatsoever. For the most part it’s just stuff I made just for the hell of it. Creativity for the sake of creativity. The tools used runs from Illustrator & Photoshop, to Poser & Cinema 4D, to pencil, marker, and paper. There’s even a charcoal drawing, for gods sake!

I used to do this sort of stuff all of the time, and, when I look at this stuff it reminds me that I used to create, simply to create. It affirms what I already knew – that 6 straight years working in extremely fast paced production environments, well, it wasn’t healthy for my creativity. I pretty much stopped doing this sort of stuff.

I’ve recently executed a pretty major career shift. Almost 2 years ago I moved from the production heavy design environment to a WordPress development shop in Towson then, nearly one year ago, struck out on my own. I’m currently self employed as a web designer, working in the WordPress space. The really cool thing is that learning is exciting again, things are fresh and new again, and I love feeling the creativity in me waking up again.

Hell, that’s one of the main reasons for this blog. Creativity for the sake of creativity.

Awesome! I’m looking forward to making more weird cats, robots, UFO’s and bucket heads!