Interview: #GoVote Artist Jamie Huntsman

The #GoVote art series features postcards by many great rock poster artists, distributed on various concert tours. For the Dave Matthews Band tour, HeadCount turned to our own Art Director Jamie Huntsman, whose portfolio includes work for the High Sierra Music Festival, Jam Cruise and many more. Here are some thoughts from Jamie on the campaign and her creative process.

HeadCount: The #GoVote project uses visual art as a medium to inspire voting. As HeadCount's art director and primary graphic designer, how do you view the role of art in HeadCount's work?

Jamie Huntsman: Visual presentation is everything for any organization, but especially so with an organization like HeadCount. The people we are trying to reach are going to recognize us by our art and branding first when they see us in the field, but, beyond that, the art we use communicates with our audience. On another level, HeadCount has always been engaged in partnering with visual artists to add to our outreach efforts. There have been many artists over the years who have lent their talents to HeadCount to raise our visibility to music fans through things like custom designed posters, website design, and t-shirt design.

Tell us about your #GoVote design?

10414564_10152443084261279_1236785434787615280_nI was pretty excited about creating an illustration for the Dave Matthews tour to use, and really just excited in general to have an excuse to illustrate again (not much time for that lately). But, when I was told that the theme of this piece should be “Eat Local, Shop Local, Vote Local” I was really happy. I wanted to do something that was reminiscent of those amazingly illustrated labels you see on vintage fruit boxes… something that looks weathered and faded with time, but, still beautiful. I wanted it to remind the viewer of a simpler time, when we did eat and shop local. We ate what our local farmers grew and we shopped at the corner store owned by a family in your community. I think things are starting to get back to that a little bit, but, we still need to support local businesses and local farmers more. So, I was happy to create this piece because it’s something I believe in very much.

You have been involved with HeadCount since 2006. Please tell us how you got involved and the role you play.

HA! Well, I got involved when I reached out to Andy after he posted on a website devoted to Phish poster art. I think he was asking if there was anyone who could help with an ad. I emailed him for what I thought would be a little volunteer gig to put something in my portfolio. That ad turned into 8 years of working with HeadCount. In the beginning, I was just doing some pro bono design work, until HeadCount got bigger and bigger, and needed more and more work. At that point HeadCount turned into more of a steady client. Over time, I’ve done everything from design to art directing other projects to helping with on-site events to coordinating supply boxes to the field. It’s been a great eight years!

You've been instrumental in bringing other artists like AJ Masthay and Jim Pollock into the campaign. Please tell me how that came together?

Well, AJ and Jim are huge supporters of HeadCount, so, it’s a pretty easy ask for them to help us out. AJ did some work with us in the past where he did an amazing print for one of our benefits—The Bridge Session—with Bob Weir and members of The National. He’s always been one of my favorite artists in the scene and it’s been really amazing to watch his skills grow from piece to piece. Jim Pollock is another amazing artist and amazing person. He’s so generous with his time and talents and he’s helped me out personally and helped HeadCount out a number of times, donating re-marked artwork, created a custom print, and now this great piece for us to use in our #GoVote campaign.

Which rock poster artists inspire you and your work?

Oh My! Well, I think the earliest rock posters I can remember seeing and falling in love with are images from Derek Hess. He’s a Cleveland poster artists who’s work I would see hanging in the Odeon in the Flats when I went to see a show. I think I stared at the posters longer than I looked at the band on stage. They were just stapled to the wall. I don’t think anyone thought they were worth anything then. I wanted to rip them off the wall and take them home (but, I didn’t). Years later when I was working for Sony Music in Cleveland, a guy in my office was going to throw out a huge load of Derek Hess posters he got from somewhere. I rescued them from the trash pile and I’m happy to say they are hanging in my hall right now.

What do you do when not working with HeadCount?

If I’m not working with HeadCount, I’m usually working with other clients (mostly brides, whom I’m creating wedding invitations for through my site Hoopla Design Studio) or I’m working on things for my etsy shop. As for recreation, well, a few years ago, I’d say I go camping and go to Phish shows. But, now, most of my non-work time is spent taking care of my baby, Halley Jaye. She just turned one, and she’s a handful, but amazing, wonderful and beautiful.