Billboard for Create! Don't Hate.
PROGRAM: RE:ACTIVE | STUDIO: CARY DESIGN GROUP | MENTEE: PARIS HART | MENTOR: LAURA CARY
Over the years we've sought different ways to engage with youth, from volunteering with national programs to building art curriculum and providing class time at our studio for a local alternative high school. Creativity is the ultimate form of expression and there is much to learn from younger generations. This billboard project with high school student Paris Hart was monumental in experience and scale. The theme of tolerance was the thread for spirited discussion and exploration into personal and societal perceptions, observations and experiences. Paris developed the concept and a team of designers, writers and photographers led her through each step of the process.
The goal Paris set was to “inspire people in a positive way to be open-minded, accepting and united”. She wanted to create awareness around tolerance, because “everyone is affected by the decisions we make, directly or indirectly”.
In our discussions about the medium, we recognized there are only seconds to get the message across—the billboard had to be direct, simple and strong. The headline began as a question "Do you see me?", but later evolved to the bolder and more action-oriented "SEE ME".
Paris chose photography to visually communicate the message since she had photography experience working under the mentorship of Julie Keefe and Caldera. After a concept photoshoot at the CDG office, we headed over to Julie’s photography studio for a professional finished product. Paris was inspired to turn the concept into a series, and later photographed individuals of different races, ages and genders with “SEE ME” scribed onto their hands. The background of the billboard was a result of motion blurs and collage, using images from her hometown. She challenges viewers to take a break from their busy everyday lives to stop, focus and see individuals for who they really are.
This project was a collaboration between youth mentorships and education organizations; re:active, AIGA Portland, Caldera Arts, p:ear and Open Meadow. Michael Etter, founder of of re:active, paired us up with Paris based on our experience working with organizations focused on women's global empowerment.