Cristian Fowlie honoured to create a concert poster for the album Pleasure by Feist
by Cristian Fowlie
Every year the Polaris Music Prize commissions screen print posters to commemorate their Shortlist of Best Canadian albums. Another illustrator recommended I apply to the open call, so I submitted my name and portfolio. In the application, they also ask you to pick out three of your favourite albums from the Long List of nominees. I picked albums by Drake, Carly Rae Jepsen and Feist.
In the middle of July 2017 I found out I was selected to create a poster for Feist’s album Pleasure. I was really excited because I have been a big Feist fan for over a decade. I was paired with AD Vanda Marasan at The Office of Gilbert Li to work on this project. The brief was very open: the poster only had to interpret the album, and list the name of the artist, album and the year of the prize.
To get started, I listened through the album multiple times, sketching lyrics and imagery. I also read interviews and reviews to get a sense of the creative process behind the album. Hard Feelings: A Conversation With Feist, a Pitchfork interview, and the following annotation by Feist helped.
I made this record last winter with 2 of my closest friends, Mocky and Renaud Letang. I was raw and so were the takes. Our desire was to record that state without guile or go-to’s and to pin the songs down with conviction and our straight up human bodies. I titled the album Pleasure like I was planting a seed or prophesying some brightness. The experience of pleasure is mild or deep, sometimes temporal, sometimes a sort of low grade lasting, usually a motivator. If the way you look at things is how they look then my motivation is to look with a brighter eye. - Feist
I came up with several different concepts, and the idea that was chosen was based around the chorus of ‘The Wind’: “Keep on the horizon/keep on my horizon”. To me, this line summarized the album’s themes of biology, nature, living between emotional extremes, and catharsis.
I began with sketches in my sketchbook, and brought those into Photoshop. I wanted my illustration to match the raw, unfiltered production style of Pleasure so I tried to emulate collage, watercolour, and colour blocking through rough edges, overlapping inks and textured brushes. I pulled the type to the edges of the printing area in order to open up the sky and create a sublime sunset scene. After the final artwork was approved, the PSD file was sent to Kid Icarus where each layer was converted into a silkscreen and printed. 44 copies were made of each poster - 1 going to the nominated artist, 10 copies to myself, and the rest to be sold online or at Polaris events.
The Polaris Music Prize is a not-for-profit organization that annually honours and rewards artists who produce Canadian music albums of distinction. A select panel of music critics judge and award the Prize without regard to musical genre or commercial popularity.
Vanda Marasan is a graphic designer. She works at The Office of Gilbert Li and with select freelance clients.
The Office of Gilbert Li is a graphic design studio that works with discerning cultural organizations, publishers, educational institutions, non-profits and creative entrepreneurs.
Kid Icarus is a screen print studio and retail shop located within Toronto’s eclectic Kensington Market.
Cristian Fowlie is an illustrator who splits his time between Vancouver and Toronto. His work captures the character of people, places, and ideas – both real and surreal. He is obsessed with colour, pattern, and portraying the intangible. Cristian graduated from the IDEA School of Design at Capilano University in North Vancouver in 2015.
2017 Polaris Music Prize Short List:
- A Tribe Called Red – We Are The Halluci Nation
- BADBADNOTGOOD – IV
- Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
- Gord Downie – Secret Path
- Feist – Pleasure
- Lisa LeBlanc – Why You Wanna Leave, Runaway Queen?
- Lido Pimienta – La Papessa
- Tanya Tagaq – Retribution
- Leif Vollebekk – Twin Solitude
- Weaves – Weaves