I was commissioned to create another poster for the ongoing Freak Folk Show series held every few months at Downbeat Lounge in Chinatown (Honolulu). The most recent iteration, FFSVII, was held the day before Earth Day. The organizers are environmentally and socially conscious folks and wanted FFSVII to be Earth Day themed.
So I got to work on something that was meant to be trippy and surreal, but made the mistake of listening to some pretty intense drum & bass while I was painting. The initial result was pretty dark and pessimistic, a reflection of how current events and the state of the world in which we live.
That wasn't quite the vibe the organizers were looking for however, so I hastily painted a new skin on the iconic VW bus (and adjusted its proportions a bit) and painted a wash of psychedelic color over the grungy city in the background to lighten the mood and obscure the harsh reality. The color wash creates the form of a dreaming woman, which adds to the ethereal feeling of the second poster. But I like that the grungy city, polluted water and smog-filled sky is actually still in the second poster, just hidden beneath a layer of pleasant distraction. Kinda like real life.
The organizers ended up printing out copies of both versions and putting them up side by side, another decision that I really appreciated from them. Seeing the posters up side by side is almost like a cautionary statement, like two very different versions of the portrait of Dorian Gray hung next to one another.