Congratulations! Pinelopi Vassilaki and Anastasia Verteouri.
Tell us how you both found out about the International Reggae Poster Contest 2013 and what was it that attracted you to participate?
We had seen the posters from the First International Reggae Poster Contest in the past and loved the results and the idea behind the initiative, so when graphicart-news.com posted about the 2013 Contest we were stoked and started brainstorming.
Why a collaboration on this poster?
We have been working in various projects since we met in Architecture School in 2005, so entering the competition with a collaboration was our first thought. We have worked as a team in the fields of architecture, photography and graphic design, we have similar taste and it is a natural process for us to work together.
What inspired the concept for “King Alpha and Queen Omega”?
Before the contest our knowledge about reggae music was purely through experience. Being casual listeners we never had the opportunity to learn about Reggae music genres and its history, especially in correlation with the Rastafari culture. So the contest actually got us to make a small research on the subject. We wanted to explore how reggae addresses the relationship between man and woman and many interesting things came up.
Our design finally settled on the idea of equality among men and women, and focuses on the “kings and queens” concept, a recurring theme in rastafari and reggae culture. The Revelation quote: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, … which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty … the first and the last.”(Revelation 1:8, and 22:13) has been a key lyrical concept. In our poster we recreated the original pair of King Alpha and Queen Omega (Emperor Haile Selassie I -Jah Rastafari- and Empress Woizero Menen Asfaw) as viewed in everyone of us.
We thought the song “Glory to the Kings” by Groundation is a good match for our poster.
“We await the day when many become one
Inna high unity, oh but now today
We’re living in a world of confusion
Trying to find a solution
Where each and everyone
Shall rise up as Kings and Queens again
Oh what a day!”
Who worked on what aspect of the poster?
Starting this project, we followed a process that we have established throughout our collaborations and is characteristic of all our work together. We usually begin by throwing ideas on the table, and in this case we did a lot of research to find ways to tie our ideas together with existing themes in reggae culture. After outlining the basic concept, we split the work between us, with Pinelopi creating the lineworks and Anastasia the layout, and once all our basic elements were put together, final adjustments were made and we experimented with colors and details. Usually the whole process is so tight-weaved that we can’t really say “who did what” in terms of creative elements, we just respect each other’s personal view of the theme and build up on each other’s skill.
Out of 1,100 submissions, 5th place is a great place to be, were you surprised?
It was definitely a surprise. We worked with the intention to land among the 100 posters, but finding ourselves right there on the first row was awesome!
You are both from Greece, tell us what the reggae scene is like there? When did you become interested in this genre of music?
Our first experience was after the end of high school and is tied to beautiful summer memories. Since then our relationship with the genre may have become more sparse, since we became acquainted with various musical and cultural influences, but reggae never fails to evoke positive feelings! In Greece there is a quite vibrant scene with many bands of the Reggae and Ska genre and with really interesting results when traditions collide and new musical idioms re-emerge. There are such as Soulfire, which is probably the oldest Greek Reggae/Roots band, Locomondo, which has become really popular outside the dedicated Reggae circle, Baildsa, a band that blends Balkan sounds with Reggae and Ska, One Drop Forward, Skaribas and many others, incorporating greek language and elements.
How would you summarize your experience with the International Reggae Poster Contest? Did it live up to your expectations?
The International Reggae Poster Contest actually gave us a great opportunity to delve into reggae music from a completely different perspective. All these artists working under the same theme and cause and producing all this eye-catching work, all this diversity of ethnicities, media and ideas, all contributed into a valuable platform of artworks celebrating reggae culture. The contest vision was definitely fulfilled, the results and the whole process exceeded our expectations and we’re glad to be a part of this.
Who is your favorite Reggae artist?
We have a lot of favorites from the Greek scene, as we mentioned above, and obviously from among the “classics” of the genre. But we have a soft spot for Ska-P, the Ska-Punk band from Spain who also played live here in Greece as headliners at a major festival this July.
Tell us a bit more about your experiences in Graphic Design? Do you work as freelancers or with a design studio?
Since we got our master’s degree in Architecture in 2012 we’ve worked as freelancers in the field of architecture, while we both pursue personal projects in the fields of graphic design and photography. Unfortunately Greece is going through hard times so working in our dream jobs probably will stay a dream for some time, but we’re not losing hope.
When did you get your first break as Graphic Designers?
The fact is that winning fifth place in the Second International Poster Contest is our first break in Graphic Design and we are really happy for it!
We were impressed with the illustration and the design in general and so was the jury. Did you both study graphic design and illustration?
Pinelopi is the one who does the pencil illustrations and she is self –taught. Our studies were primarily on the subject of Architecture, but through our education we also studied other aspects such as Urban, Furniture and Graphic Design. The creative process from idea to concept to final design is similar, and the problem-solving approach through design is what appeals to us. We don’t consider ourselves graphic designers with the full meaning of the phrase, since being a graphic designer includes a great deal of knowledge and education in many fields. We’re just putting our own experiences and ideas into designs.
What are your thoughts on our objective to have the Reggae Hall of Fame museum built in Kingston, Jamaica?
It is a very good cause, especially since Reggae is a music genre with interesting history that transcends the boundaries of artistic creation and extends to a rich culture. Communicating the importance of Reggae from a museum built in its birthplace would be ideal and we’re happy to participate.
One of the contest objectives is to support the Alpha Boys’ School in Kingston, Jamaica. What is your take on the school’s historical role in Reggae music.
We weren’t aware of this Institution and we learned about it through the International Reggae Poster Contest. We were impressed to learn that many iconic reggae musicians started there, and helping young children and teenagers in need, while providing them with musical end technical education, is definitely a cause worth supporting.
What would you like to see as a career benefit coming out of this International design contest?
Having our work recognized and even printed is a big deal for us! We haven’t thought about possible career benefits, we’re just excited about getting in better touch with the graphic design world and we have more confidence for the future.
What projects are you working on now?
We just finished a proposition for a conceptual urban design competition. We’re also considering solidifying our joined projects and pursuing our interests by setting up a common web platform this summer. Our future plans include further studies in the field of architecture, photography and graphic design projects, with which we will be updating our personal blogs amphicyrtous.wordpress.com and milkofthepoppy.wordpress.com.
What reggae tunes get regular play on your iTunes play list?
Some of our fave songs are:
Bob Marley – Three Little Birds
Dawn Penn – You Don’t Love Me
The Skatalites – Guns of Navarone
and the whole Eurosis album by Ska-P
Thank you, Pinelopi Vassilaki and Anastasia Verteouri.
Thank you, graphicart-news.com for the interview!