A series of posters created for the Reggae Hall of Fame.
“Creating posters for the International Reggae Poster Contest and the Reggae Hall of Fame foundation is an ongoing project of mine that keeps me busy and excited since 2012. I am lucky enough to enjoy the friendship of Maria and Michael, the two founders of the foundation, and that gives me the privilege to have access to precious sources of information and valuable material about the history and culture of Reggae.
Whoever has studied the history of Reggae and the relative Jamaican music genres has discovered a real gem of popular culture. Reggae isn’t just a music genre. It has been the voice and the expression of the masses of the African population in the Caribbean area. It’s a lifestyle, a political cult, even a religion. And the most impressive thing is that reggae made it to express a much bigger part of the world population than the initial. It started in the townships of Kingston but very soon became the music and the symbol of the depressed person all over the world. It’s a cry for liberty, for peace and for justice.
Musically Reggae is based on the rich tradition of African American and Latin music. Ska, Mento, Calypso, R’n’B, Soul, Jazz and Gospel are the foundations on which Reggae is built. One of the most easily recognizable elements is offbeat rhythms; staccato chords played by a guitar or piano (or both) on the offbeats of the measure, often referred to as the skank. I have tried to visualize these musical ideas in my portraits. I have used sharp (staccato) shapes, in different lengths and weights. There is a limited palette of 8 warm colors. The Green, Yellow and Green of the Etheopean flag. The Black, Green and Red of the Pan-African flag and some brown and oranges, expressing the earthy colors. I wanted to use colors like different instruments. Every color plays it’s own part in a different layer. The composition of all color layers is based on a simple rectangular grid expressing the 4/4 rhythm of the music. The different angles of the color layers are used to create a more rich result following the basic lithographic logic of the different angles of inks raster. There are obvious references to simple print techniques and poster schools like the one from Cuba. Someone could even discover that there is a reference to the religious iconography of the Orthodox Christian tradition. You could probably see the influences of the Byzantine icons. This is probably the link between the Caribbean culture with my Greek Orthodox background.
Here are the first 19 posters-portraits I created. I have tried to portray all the musicians that participated to the historic “One Love Peace Concert” of 1978. I still have to work for 4-5 more artist but I decided to publish the work of my first 3 years of studying the Reggae phenomenon. Hope you enjoy it!
Charis Tsevis: website
International Reggae Poster Contest: website