Adam Hayes Puts Creativity on the Map
Sometimes creativity feels like an island. An artist’s mind requires a unique look at the world, and that can feel isolating. When a creative person comes back to the rest of us, they show us what they’ve discovered in their exploration, bringing back a map of new findings, sometimes showing us how they got there while other times leading us there blindfolded, letting us find our own way back to the familiar. This summer Ars Nova, the indie New York theater, is celebrating their annual ANT Fest with a series of more than a dozen acts with a poster designed by Adam Hayes. Adam reached deeply into the exploratory process with the folks over at Studio Usher to help visualize the perfect image for the poster. He created a map of an invented place and put each of the acts on the map, letting inspiration flow from spontaneity and a little bit of kismet. “My job was to conjure up an imaginary land where each of these acts could exist, using the geographical features to categorize each performance,” Adam explains. “The tricky bit was to accommodate the acts, which straddle the different genres - these are the ones that sit in-between the geographical zones.”
When creating an original piece for a performance with a ton of artists, it’s all about balance. The hosts of the event spent a lot of time and effort balancing the acts to create an awesome festival. The ANT Fest is diverse and exciting, exploratory in nature, but still has to remain attractive to anyone who is new to it. Adam kept it light and exciting, bringing a little personality to each person he mapped out. Adam used photographs of each of the actual performer’s faces but everything else was original illustration. “I drew bodies for each of the head photographs, basing these mainly on the locations they were in,” says Adam. “Some relate more closely to their act, like the girl with the guitar, but it was more playful to have surfers at the beach and drunken youths at the ruins!” That meant dozens and dozens of variables that had to be accounted for, each one speaking to a different truth for an artist or their act. After each of those elements was honored everything came together.
“Once I positioned all of the characters, the map came to life with strange cartographic icons and I was able to have a lot of fun with it,” says Adam. It’s not every day that visual artists get to collaborate with performers, musical or otherwise, so this poster for the ANT Fest was not only unique, it was a creative treat. These kinds of projects are sometimes hard to find, but lucky for us Adam provided a map.