The second staging of the International Reggae Poster Competition Image

by Biko Kennedy

With the theme 'Toward a Reggae Hall of Fame: Celebrating Great Jamaican Music', the International Reggae Poster Competition returns for a second staging.

Building off the momentum of the inaugural staging, the competition seeks to build positive awareness for Reggae music and celebrate the global achievements of Reggae and its impact on the world. This time around the competition intends to encapsulate all the achievements of Reggae in contemporary iconic architecture. The mission of 'The Reggae Hall of Fame' will be to collect, conserve, and exhibit the treasures of Reggae music as well as narrate the stories from a variety of perspectives in the context of the music's history, and reach a broad and diverse audience internationally.

Closing on March 30, 2013 the competition is expected to surpass the success of the previous staging with hopes of raising funds to support the amazing work of the historic and inspiring Jamaican institution, the Alpha Boys' School. Jamaicansmusic caught up with the last year's winner, Alon Braier from Israel, to see how he's preparing for the competition's second staging.

Jamaicansmusic: The 2nd International Reggae Poster Competition is currently on its way, would you be entering this time around?

Alon: Sure! Already working on a few sketches...

JAmusic: Are there any new techniques you're working with this time around or new approaches being undertaken?

Alon: I don't think I have much to say at this point as to my best approach…I just know it's going to be harder to win this time around...but I'm planning to do my best to defend the title (smiles).

JAmusic: Could you talk a bit on some of your previous work and possibly a few projects you're currently working on?

Alon: I finished my degree in graphic design about a few years ago, majoring in illustration, and since then I've been working on a vast variety of projects from magazine editorials to character design. I'm working full time as an illustrator for "Shaker" an Israeli company that developed and award winning app for Facebook and on my free time I'm trying to push my own ideas and projects forward as much as I can. My main interest has always been the relationship between art and music, being both an artist and a musician allows me to be inspired by these two worlds. Right now I'm working on a multimedia collaborative project between me and the Israeli illustrator and animator Ori Toor as well as some other music related projects including a remake for a famous Israeli album cover from the 70's.

JAmusic: The power of Reggae music is a very unique one. Could you talk on your affinity with it? You were introduced to it by your father as a teenager right?

Alon: Yes, my father used to own a few pop-reggae albums; he is an Eddy Grant fan until this very day. I first got exposed to reggae as a phenomenon about seven years ago while attending a small reggae festival at the woods of north Israel, the people, the music and the good vibes created a very strong atmosphere of love and unity like I have never experienced before. Since then I have a special place for reggae music in my heart.

JAmusic: What lead you to the Reggae Poster Competition last year?

Alon: I was looking for a chance for my art to be exposed on a global scale so I went online In search of a competition. The Reggae Poster Competition seemed to me like an excellent match between music and design and since I was really into Dub music at the time it fitted me perfectly.

JAmusic: How do you go about starting a project like this? With the theme being 'Toward a Reggae Hall of Fame: Celebrating Great Jamaican Music', what is your first step?

Alon: My first step is always research, and sometimes it might even take up to a third of my working time on any particular project. A good research gives you a solid base to build upon and enhances your arsenal of images and quotas. So right now I'm kind of in between research and sketching.

JAmusic: What were some of the challenges you faced while doing the piece last year and how are you working differently this time around to avoid this?

Alon: The biggest challenge for me was the composition and the amount of details within the poster. I wanted to use many different quotas from the world of dub music but I was afraid it would be too much for the viewer, it took me a while to achieve the right balance. Searching for the right font was another challenge as I tried many different approaches and styles. At the end I went with a simple but strong headline font that was used on studio one's early record covers. This time around I'm just doing the research and not try to overthink anything aspect of the overall design.

JAmusic: There are varying views depicting what makes a piece creative; for some it's important that the artist have something to say. What is it that you're trying to say with your 'Roots of Dub' piece? Could you take us through the creative process of designing it?

Alon: In my case, I think the main say for the piece is the act of creating it. I just wanted to pay my humble respect to the music that inspired me so much through the years. Being an Israeli artist who is inspired by original Jamaican music just goes to show how strong the massage of reggae can be and what a great influence it still has on people from all over the world.

JAmusic: Apart from the competition, what other audience did you envision to inspire with this piece?

Alon: Besides spreading the message of dub music for the general public I was hoping to inspire my fellow designers and illustrators to open their eyes and ears to Jamaican culture, which has really grown on me.

JAmusic: Discuss with me, if you can, the relationship you see between graphic designing and journalism.

Alon: I think there is a strong connection between journalism and graphic design, and illustration in particular. As an illustrator I worked with numerous newspapers and the main challenge for me was not only to make an illustration to accompany an article but to give the article extra meaning and character, to draw the reader's attention and to deliver more than the words themselves.

JAmusic: What contribution do you see Jamaica making on the Israeli culture?

Alon: Jamaican culture is not very acknowledged in Israel except for within certain reggae communities that respect and celebrate Jamaican culture and Rastafarian way of life. Saying that, The Israeli radio today plays more reggae than ever before and there are much more local bands that play strictly reggae music instead of using it as a gimmick in one or two songs. We have sound systems and selectors and reggae festivals and it is a positive growing phenomenon (smiles).

For more information on the competition check out their website

Read our interview with the competition's masterminds, Maria Papaefstathiou and Michael Thompson here

Image A music aficionado redefining possibilities while pushing the limits of success...
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