Student Work Spotlight: Melanie Maynard

Portfolio Center Gallery. photo: Michael West

Melanie Maynard created this terrific series of posters for Philip Glass’s album Songs from Liquid Days in my Message and Content class at The Portfolio Center.

During Summer Quarter, the class read the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. In this book, Csikszentmihalyi  shares his theory that people are most content when they achieve a state of flow: described as a state of focus and absorption on an activity or situation. Maybe you can identify times you have been in a state of flow: a state where you have been so involved with an activity that nothing else matters and you do not notice the passage of time. Sometimes this state is described as being in the zone or groove: when you are totally immersed in something.

In an interview with Wired magazine, Csikszentmihalyi described flow as:

being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

The book was a jumping-off point for designing a series of three posters. Melanie was listening to the Glass album Songs from Liquid Days as she read the book and again as she started to sketch her posters. The 1986 album was composed by Glass with lyrics by Suzanne Vega, David Byrne, Laurie Anderson and Paul Simon. Described as haunting and ethereal, the songs focus on themes of  love and time, and feature the mystical connections between people and objects.

Melanie found that the music put her in a state of flow and creativity. Upon researching the album, she found that 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the album’s release. She decided to create posters commemorating the anniversary with a concert by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The titles of the three posters: Honesty, Clarity, and Bravery came from Melanie’s personal hallmarks of being in a state of flow. The result is the arresting set of posters featured below.

positive posters message and content

Melaniemaynard_messageandContent_clarity)09122015 copy

all posters designed by Melanie Maynard

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