Fresh, mixed media
gets noticed. The 2005 Hip-Hop Theater
Festival poster combines
Imagery of youthful
style, music, and city
scenery brace a hiphop
You’ve got to break out of the mold
to attract a hip-hop crowd. Think freestyling,
using colors and imagery found
on the street and in the city, getting out
of that corporate rut, and incorporating a
more individualized theme. For this hip-hop color
palette, we focused on a poster composited by artist
D. Kiku Yamaguchi of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival,
where it’s all about the music.
The purpose of the festival, founded in 1999,
is to invigorate hip-hop and theater by nurturing
creative work in the field. It presents art relevant to a
young, urban generation, and serves these communities
by celebrating their language and culture. The
organization fills a definite need for inner-city youth.
Kiku has been working with the Hip-Hop
Theater Festival since its inception, and she and
executive director Clyde Valentin wanted the poster
campaign to highlight local artists. “It’s keeping in
theme with the flavor of what the festival is all about,
combining an array of art mediums—dance, theater,
spoken word,” Kiku says.
The poster at top right was created for this year’s
festival by mixing Kiku’s photography of the city
with artist Chris Mendoza’s urban-style illustrations,
all in Photoshop layers. A notable feature in much
of Kiku’s work, the poster’s colors reflect city life—
evening-sky blue, rust, textures from the street, along
with the stark contrast of black and white.
Kiku combined a silhouette of a featured artist
and his equipment with images of the city, while
Mendoza integrated turntables, microphones, and
subway cars into his illustrations to round out the
mixed-media piece. “It’s a mix of street elements with
a stage setting,” Kiku explains.