The official poster commemorating the 2018 Richmond Folk Festival was revealed Wednesday night at Glave Kocen Gallery in The Fan.
This year’s poster was designed by well-known local muralist Hamilton Glass. If you live in Richmond, you’ve seen Glass’ work – even if you don’t know it. One of the most prolific muralists in the city, the artist is the master behind more than 80 murals on the walls of Richmond buildings.
It’s a smaller format than Glass is used to working with. He’s creating the Folk Festival art on a 36×48-inch canvas, which will be reprinted on smaller posters. Usually, he gets the entire side of a building to work with.
His most well-known piece is Richmond is untitled but eye-catching – a black man with an American-flag themed X taped over his mouth, painted on the side of a business at 1208 W. Main Street in the Fan.
He’s also the artist behind “JAMES IS THAT YOU I SMELL,” a Canal walk mural depicting a woman wrinkling her nose in the direction of the river.
“My style is very bright and colorful and vibrant,” he said. There’s a lot of shapes in my work. Most of it is about movement.”
Originally from Philadelphia, Glass was no stranger to Richmond as a child – his mother is a local and he spent time here with her family. After finishing high school, he went north for a while but eventually ended up back in RVA, working full time as an architect, with art as a side job.
By 2009, he was a full-time artist and has become one of the city’s most sought-after muralists. This year, Folk Festival organizers reached out to Glass to design the 2018 commemorative poster.
“I was so honored to be asked to design the poster,” Glass said. “I go to the Folk Festival every year and love the energy there. It’s like having a gala of music from all over the world, which attracts people from all over. I’m really excited about it.”
For the Folk Festival poster, Glass has a harder challenge than just working on a smaller scale – the poster must include the names of every performer. With more than 30 acts each year, it’s not an easy feat.
Glass said that like many artists, he starts by sketching out concepts, usually on paper, but for this piece, he’s working in Photoshop.
“I’ve got to be sure all the names fit,” he said. “I’m creating the concept in Photoshop so by the time I get to the painting stage, I’ll pretty much know what’s going on so I won’t be erasing anything.”
A limited quantity of signed prints will be available for sale at this year’s festival, which runs October 12th through the 14th on the Downtown Richmond riverfront. Signed posters and festival merchandise are also available at Plan 9 Music in Carytown.