Throughout my career I’ve been fortunate to cross paths with some amazing people who have influenced, encouraged, challenged and championed my work. Through personal friends, professional connections and my fair share of luck I’ve been afforded some opportunities I couldn’t have dreamed up on my own. Over the years, some of the most exciting work I’ve done marries my two loves: graphic design and the tactile art of screenprinting. It was through one of these serendipitous connections that I happened upon the opportunity to create the visual identity for the Bunbury Music Festival.
Like many artists in our industry, I’ve always drawn inspiration from music and harbored a desire to somehow be more closely connected to that world. After collaborating with local artist Keith Neltner in 2005 on a project for the (then) new artists The Avett Brothers, it appeared my dream was realized. Since then I’ve parlayed my screenprinting work into Tommyink.com, and have continued to create pretty powerful collaborations with some of the musicians I admire most: Moe, The Black Keys and others.
Earlier this year, a colleague contacted me to tell me that Bill Donabedian—the creator of the wildly popular and successful MidPoint Music Festival—was interested in meeting up for a possible project. Bill and I instantly hit it off as he laid out his vision for a new music festival that would take advantage of Cincinnati’s riverfront park space at Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove. He had some gestural ideas but really needed help creating the visual world that would become Bunbury Music Festival.
After meeting with Bill I went away for 2 weeks to create a mark for the festival. I returned with much more—I couldn’t help myself. I presented three concepts along with a holistic array of visual artifacts and assets. Bill immediately fell in love with the ‘Bee’ mark and accompanying assets I’d created—now visible on billboards and advertisements for the event all around the city, on the stage banners and on t-shirts you’ll see at the show.
It’s amazing how it really all begins with a screenprint. That initial ink on paper is the rawest and purest form of creative expression. The physicality of the process and the tangible product that results is, at its most basic level, where my ideas meet the page for the first time. The posters I create become a framed memory on somebody’s wall to serve as a memento of a great night they had—which just blows me away. The work I do everyday as a designer ends up on store shelves around the world, but there’s just something so humbling about the fact that I know people have purchased my prints to hang on their walls from Australia to Iceland. Now an entire music festival is wearing my work.
I am thrilled to see Bunbury Music Festival come to fruition for the City of Cincinnati. The fact that we have people like Bill Donabedian putting their neck on the line to make this happen is incredible—and as we get closer to the event, I’m excited to see the Bunbury Bee starting to gather visual momentum. This is a city that I’m so proud to be a part of and knowing that I have played a small part in helping the process to make this festival what it is and what it can become is truly fantastic and a great thrill.
Enjoy the shows everybody, hydrate and take care of your shoes!
Don’t have your ticket yet? There’s still time, get yours here.