August 5, 2016
When Lily Johnson heard her mother’s Joni Mitchell records as a girl, she never could have imagined that one day she’d submit the winning poster design for an annual event that celebrates the acclaimed singer-songwriter. The achievement marked Johnson’s first upper-level graphic design class and the first opportunity she’s had to enter an art contest.
It started as a project for her advanced graphic design class at JSC taught by Diana Hansen in spring 2016. Hansen had all of the students in her class design posters for this year’s “JoniFest” and enter them in the contest. Voting was conducted online and was open to the public. Lily Johnson’s was among the designs first chosen by website viewers.
The JoniFest committee subsequently selected Johnson’s poster as the winning design to be used for the poster and other promotional materials for JoniFest 2016, which takes place in September in British Columbia.
Johnson’s winning design features a black-and-white photograph of Mitchell in a beret against a background of colorful artwork, arranged collage-like with images from the cover of Mitchell’s first album, “Song to a Seagull,” released in 1968 – images that Mitchell herself had created for the cover.
“I thought it was important to incorporate Joni’s own work into the poster,” Johnson says of her design, “since it’s for a festival that’s dedicated to her. I wanted it to be an homage to her.”
Johnson is pursuing a B.F.A. in Studio Arts and eventually wants to be a museum or gallery curator. She gained valuable skills through an internship with one of her professors who doubles as director of the college’s Julian Scott Memorial Gallery. “I worked with artists and helped them install their shows, and I learned how a gallery runs and how to make a quality show,” Johnson says.
The art professors at JSC have much to offer as well, she adds. “They really support you and let you be creative without holding you back. They get to know your style and offer advice on other artists that might inspire you.”
In addition to the $100 prize she received for her JoniFest poster, Johnson figures the win will bring her some recognition and ultimately help her advance her career. As she puts it, “I’m hoping that they’ll throw my name around a little bit.”