Brian Stauffer
December 2009
Soulpepper Theater 2010
Over the past 2 years, and through the work of both Sam Weber and Edel Rodriguez, many of us at drawger have been introduced to the creative folks at the Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto.  It was my surprise and pleasure to get the call from Sandwich Creatives' Anthony Swaneveld asking if I would be interested doing 8 images for posters announcing the 2010 season.  Given the pedigree of contributing artists, I took it as a humbling and exciting opportunity which was made all the more enjoyable because of the collaborative spirit in which the works were created.  Additionally, an artist could not ask for a better AD in their corner through the back and forth process of client approvals. 

The poster below was for the first play in the assignment.  To me, illustrating "Death Of A Salesman" was about as good as it gets.  The rich and tragic story of an aging salesman approaching a bitter end of his unfullfilled career, who has defined himself through delusions of grandeur.  Willy Loman has lived a life of facades, convincing himself that he is a vital part of the company he works as a salesman for.  He has failed as a father, rasing two unsuccessful dreamers and has left many of his goals unfullfilled (he was unable to grow flowers in his garden as well).  When his boss of many years simply casts him aside Willy's proclaims that "you can't take the orange and just leave the peel".  He is a hollow man, beaten down by his own dillusions.

Given that this was our first time working together I decided to go a bit overboard on the sketches.  We agreed to keep them very loose until we circled in on a handful of directions to pitch.  Anthoney asked that I send everything, even those that i felt were weak or clichéd, because maybe they might trigger an unexpected direction with his input.  This was really hard for me to do because the industry has trained me not to show anything that I'm not interested in illustrating becuase its' sure to get picked. 

Indeed, this project was a dream come true.  Three of the posters, which I'll post in the coming weeks, were accepted into the Society of Illustrators Advertising Show, and limited edition prints will soon be available for sale as well. 
I'd like to thank The fine folks at Soulpepper Theater including the Artistic Director, Albert Schultz, the Executive Director, Leslie Lester and the Director of Communications, Belinda Bale, and of course Anthoney Swaneveld of Sandwich Creative.  I'd also like to send a thanks out to drawgers' own Marc Burckhardt who talked me off a few ledges with his seasoned perspectives.

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Stauffer is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!