SVA’s latest subway poster series, “What’s Your Story?,” was unveiled in stations throughout New York City on December 9. The three ads—and related artwork, which will run on the College’s homepage, sva.edu—tell the story of Tako, an artist who wills her fanciful drawings, computer graphics and mechanical designs into reality, and then uses her creations to travel to fantastical locales. They were created by Nathan Fox (MFA 2002 Illustration as Visual Essay)—artist, illustrator and chair of the MFA Visual Narrative Department—and commissioned by Anthony P. Rhodes, executive vice president of the College and creative director of its advertising.
Though the posters’ comics-style sequential art alludes to the emphasis on storytelling in Fox’s own program, the artist conceived Tako’s story as a celebration of creative people of all fields, and the empowering act of “imagining things and then physically creating them,” he says. The “What’s Your Story?” tagline, in this context, is less a question about one’s past than it is an exhortation to viewers to realize their own ambitious futures.
Fox penciled, inked and colored all the illustrations himself, even creating a red-and-blue 3D effect, known as anaglyph, for what he calls the “carnival-bot” poster (in which Tako builds an elephant-octopus robot). But after deciding that his hand-drawn lettering of the tagline looked “a little too ‘tattoo,’” he turned to The Collected Works, a design firm run by MFA 2013 Design alumni Justin Colt and Jose Fresneda,
which helped with the type font and layout.
Since Fox’s fluorescent color palette couldn’t be achieved through the standard offset printing process, Michael Walsh, director of design and digital media at the Visual Arts Press, the College’s in-house design team, decided to screen-print the posters—the first time such a production method has been employed for an SVA subway campaign. The printing was handled by Seaward Printing, in New Jersey, and Brant Screen, in Brantford, Canada. “Brant is the only place in North America that could handle these inks, for works of this size, on the vinyl type of paper that we needed,” he says. “These posters are limited-edition fine art prints, as well as advertisements for the College.”
The “What’s Your Story?” posters are on view through February 4, 2014. They will be available for purchase from the SVA Campus Store beginning January 2.