I chose my favourite musical “Les Miserables”, I have seen it twice now and the first time I saw it I was completely blown away by the amazing revolving set which reached its high point as the barricades, so my ideas for a poster were based around this. I researched images on line, many of the promotional posters had the actors portrayed but a few had images of the barricades. I thought of some other ideas, one involving the flag and sewing the words onto it, and a third idea using a photograph of dirty cobbles with blood and rosettes on it. I liked these other ideas but for practical reasons, I thought it would take too long to sew the flag and I wasn’t confident about photographing cobbles, so they didn’t get off the page.
I decided that the brief wasn’t for the large, Cameron Macintosh production, but a small local one. Because of this I didn’t have to worry about the Les Miserables brand. In my brainstorming and mood board searches I came across lots of blogs reviewing performances. I realised that Les Miserables is so well known now and the images so iconic, that it wasn’t necessary to use the full title. In conversation and on blogs it is often referred to as “Les Mis” or “Lay Miz”. I decided to use this as an acknowledgement of this being a smaller amateur production which couldn’t have the scale and epic proportions of the original but had the spirit of it.
One of my tutor’s previous critisicms was that I had a tendency to get fixed on one idea too soon so for this assignment I decided to develop 3 different ways of producing the image. I was planning to only take one all the way through but in the event I felt none of them was working so continued to pursue all 3 simultaneously. Although it was more work, I could see the value of this, it really did push me beyond seizing on the first solution. I printed up 3 posters and asked my focus group what they thought. They were unanimous which one they preferred.
I enjoyed setting this up and it took quite a while to get the lighting right. I produced an image which was backlit so the barricades and people were virtually silhouetted. However when I came to make a poster of this image it just didn’t work. If I had more time I think I would have done a fully lit image, where the dolls were much more prominent, so that it was more immediately obvious that it was a model set up. When people saw my model it made them laugh but I completely lost that in the poster.
I wanted to get away from a computer based image so made a monoprint using black and red ink. Even so I had to enhance the letters on the computer to make them legible. My focus group felt that the image was confusing, it wasn’t clear that it was a close up view of the barricades. Annoyingly I made a version on the computer to help me get the colour balance right and this worked better.