An Interview with Tunes from the Tombs Poster Designer Jose R Gil
HOF staff had a fabulous time working with Atlanta graphic designer Jose Ramon Gil on this year’s Tunes from the Tombs poster. We hope you like the final result as much as we do. In this interview, we ask Jose to talk a little about his processes and the inspiration behind the 2019 Tunes from the Tombs poster design.
Tell us about yourself. What appeals to you about graphic design?
Well, I’m a graphic designer from Atlanta (Douglasville actually) out of Georgia Southern University. Design is something I naturally gravitated to because I’ve always had a “questioning” eye. Why does this do that… What meaning does this have over that… And that train of thought is at the heart of design. Besides that quality in myself, I’ve always been into art as well, so I try and merge the two when I can!
What are some of the most inspirational spots in Atlanta to you as a designer?
A recent spot that I just found that was really cool and inspiring is Brother Moto, down the street from Oakland. The atmosphere in the place is great and the people there really add the environment.
Tell us a bit about your creative process for this poster.
So working on this poster really proved to be a lot of fun. Initially, I tried to keep things as open as possible and wanted to focus on doing something outside of the box. But as I zoned in on the festival and Oakland cemetery I began to notice all the little things that add character to the cemetery. The typography on all the gravestones, the different symbols and what they mean, the backdrop of the city. Once I was able the take all those things in, the design really started to come to fruition.
What elements of the cemetery figured into the poster design?
The poster is a mash of different elements for the cemetery with a fun, musical color palette. The shape of the tombstone is from a grave not too far from the Bell Tower building. And all the little circular symbols come straight from photos I took of graves as well. Oh and the typography… I found that really interesting. There’s this boldness to all the gravesites that I was surprised by and absolutely wanted to play that up. The last thing I’ll add is how fun it was teaching myself to illustrate the acanthus leaves used in the poster.
You mentioned that you hadn’t spent much time at Oakland before we called you in to design the poster, and I think you were able to explore a bit then. As an artist, are there any elements of the cemetery (architecture, color, form, flora, etc.) that really caught your eye?
I think I’ve mentioned a lot already about how the cemetery is full of graphic inspiration. But from more of an artists point of view, the experience of walking around there is so peaceful. And thinking about all of the different people that are represented via these intricate stones, and the artists that had to create them. Oakland, I think, put me in a humble place. Also, all the birds that were there every time I came back for photos added a lot of personality to the place that you don’t get just anywhere in the city.
Tunes from the Tombs happens Saturday, June 8 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. This year’s lineup features Futurebirds, Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics, The Artisanals, and more. Tickets are on sale now.