I designed this for one of our Knoxville Dance Festivals as a t-shirt design. Knoxville has a festival every year, but there has never been a theme per se--it was always called after the band who was playing. We wanted to get away from just doing a t-shirt design just for the band, so I decided to relate it to the band, but not model it directly on them. The band this year was "Hudson Bay Band," so I researched and found that the Hudson Bay Company was involved in Canada and the Northwest territory around the late 1700's-early 1800's, and with finding a route to the North Pole. East Tennesse has had it's own share of winters--especially during dance weekends (it's always held in mid February), so I decided to put several different elements in, black and white and color, an old style map, and hand done illustration and computer graphics. I took a photo of some friends of mine swinging (coincidentally the piano player for the band and his girlfriend) and rendered them in late 1700's period costume in black scratchboard with a #11 Xacto blade. The map I tore into its shape and burnt the edges to give it an aged appearance, and the circle has a repeat pattern made from a Canadian leaf, a little modified. The fiddler I added last, as a line drawing scanned and colored in Illustrator. He lends flair to the design--sort of a Circque du Soleil actor from the present stepping back into the past. Contra dancing is popular in modern times, yet is a part of our culture, and was around in the early days of exploration.

The shirt below was one that I drew for Summer Soireé. This dance weekend always has an Art Nouveau woman on the brochure, so I wanted to have some parallell in the t-shirt.


I'm not sure how the dancing bears came about, except that for the 2004 flyer, I found all this good clipart of musician bears, so I wanted to create some bear dancers the next year to continue the theme. It's a "potluck" dance weekend, an assortment of whatever talent shows up, so bears seems to fit well into that context--sometimes rough around the edges, but the result is good ol' fashioned fun that is sublime.