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2018 & 2019 WCMA Excellence In Visual Design [final nominee]

Feed The Fire cover photo by Russel + Sohn

Kinne Starr photo by Ryan Nolan

Kinnie Starr provided me with the most comprehensive album concept package I have ever received. This thorough pre-production work provided me with a wealth of insight into the narrative she wanted to explore with this album. Being able to glean insight into her vision while listening to the album allowed me to create some of the most in depth work of my career. Below are my artist statements for the hero artwork. There is a recurring narrative carried through the course of these four covers… “The rise of a digital grrrl”, we follow our heroine as she moves through the different stages of life… birth of sexuality and “womanhood” (Feed the Fire cover); the discovery of the cruel dichotomy and experience of life as a woman (Gotta Do Something cover); the breaking of societal chains, discovery of inner strength and resilience (Big World cover); the confidence and inner peace that comes from overcoming a lifetime of challenges and emotional safety of personal boundaries (I’m Ready cover).

Feed The Fire
Showing compassion and opening up our naked selves to those we love delivers a great sense of freedom and brings us closer to the true nature of who we are. The image speaks to that intimacy we share face to face, which is lost in the voyeuristic digital sphere. Their naked bodies a symbol for the vulnerability we have as we open ourselves up to the online world, where we all participate in the gladiatorial arena seeking attention and affirmation from people we barely know. The grainy treatment and intentional pixelation was added to give the sense of pulling the subjects into the digital world, almost against their will as they embrace each other. Under the banner of “freedom” these digital worlds actually pull us farther apart, making us slaves of our own devices.

The “A” in “Starr” is a triangle as reference to the alchemy symbol for fire. The red neon type is an homage to the red light districts of our mind, often presented as deviant by the media, but in truth we all have these districts within ourselves and our sexuality, which is as unique and complex as we are. The red line details beneath the title are actually pulled from a comparative DNA analysis, which are also being pulled into the digital realm – computers and online worlds are becoming a part of who we are physically.

Gotta Do Something
This concept carries the pixelation from the album cover and dives deeper into the digital deterioration of our connections. The statue of justice image rendered almost unrecognizable, and the glitching of the typography exemplifying how our online relationships are distorted. I felt this was more in keeping with the narrative and how online trolls believe they are dishing out their own brand of twisted (glitched) justice onto the world. The damaged image of lady justice also speaks to how there is no “justice” in the online realm. It can be very difficult and often impossible to see any real world punishment for the threats of violence shared online. The coy vintage pinup is shrouded by anonymity in that her identity is considered irrelevant by those seeking pleasure or seeking to cause pain. The rich purple and red represent the passion with which the subject of the song “attacks” the world online, whether it be for pleasure or pain.

Big World
The hero figure is a female “prisoner” who has cut herself free from the patriarchal strings of society by using a tool of men (the straight razor). Now presented with a world of choices, she sits in contemplation of her new found freedom letting her mind grow wings and take flight with others like her. The rising sun exposing the dawn of a new day and new possibilities. The light pixelation of the ground and trees exemplifying her reconnection with the natural world and disconnection from the digital realm. The rich warm tones give a sense of urgency and passion, while also tying into the overall colour palette from the album and Gotta Do Something covers.

I’m Ready
When we’re ready to leave a serious situation we are confronted by waves of emotion, both good and bad. We stand from the point of view of our heroine as she looks at the future and the past simultaneously. Resting momentarily in a liminal space preparing to move forward, knowing she must walk through her checkered emotions to reach a place of peace, embodying the innocence she once had, with the enlightenment that only comes from age. An ocean of possibilities await her as she leaves the past behind, embracing a brighter future with the courage to love like she’s never been hurt. One might assume she would fear being swept out to sea, falling victim to the rolling tides of others, yet she finds herself at peace. She discovers safety and solace in the boundaries she has established, so much so that she leans on them to look out and chart where her heart will explore next.

Date & Time

October 19, 2018