An Invitation Across the Nation

poster collection and upcoming book.

An Invitation Across the Nation is a personal project and collection of posters featuring music artists from the 1960s who broke racial barriers through their music and influence. Each poster features features hit songs performed by the artist and reimagined through use of humor, thought-provoking design. Each collection accompanies a story that puts the music, artists and America into historical context.

The Poster Portrait Collection

The poster series name, “An Invitation Across the Nation,” is from the the lyrics of “Dancing in the Street” by Martha & The Vandellas. Design reflects the visual aesthetic of the 1960s. This is a project features over 40 artists (Motown and non-Motown).

"Wow...wonderful...
saving this forever,
thank you."

– Louvain Demps, member of the Andantes, background vocals group for Motown during the 1960s and 1970s.

My Dionne Warwick Moment

As a huge Dionne Warwick fan all my life, I was elated when Dionne liked the illustration I posted in response to her "Do You Know The Way to San Jose" joke. She also started following me. An important part of the feedback process for me is getting the thumbs-up from the very subject of the story I'm trying to tell.   

The Collage Poster Collection

The poster series name, “An Invitation Across the Nation,” is from the the lyrics of “Dancing in the Street” by Martha & The Vandellas. Design reflects the visual aesthetic of the 1960s. Limiting the series to just 20 artists (Motown and non-Motown) and one hit was challenging.  

Website

Website showcases all posters, music videos, artist bios and stories by collection to create a multimedia documentary. (Click through slideshow below)

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"I'm not a weather girl, but I did give a weather report...lol"

– Martha Reeves @MARTHAREEVESvan,
   commenting on the Martha and the Vandellas poster

From October 26 through December 14, 2013, we traced all the stops and events of the Motortown Revue of 1962 — 51 years later with daily posts on Facebook and Twitter. 

The Motortown Revue of 1962 was the first package concert tour of Motown artists slated for venues along the "Chitlin' Circuit" in the eastern and southern U.S. right into Jim Crow country. For many of Motown's artists, it was their first experiences with segregated venues, segregated audiences, racism and attacks by white residents. The exhausting tour began on October 26, 1962 and ended on December 17, 1962 after 36 stops with very little days off or hotel room stays.

The tour not only made groups and artists like the Supremes, Martha & The Vandellas, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder into stars, but their music and performances broke down barriers so that later audiences would no longer be separated by color. Very little was documented in the first Motortown Revue and required intensive research, sometimes even reaching out to music artists and Motown personnel. 


 

Banner Ads & Facebook Posts

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"@IATN2013 beautiful"

– Motown The Musical @MotownMusical

"Great site! Thank you for creating and posting this – a valuable contribution
to Motown history."

– Al Abrams, Motown's first publicist (1959-1967) and author of "Hype & Soul: Behind the Scenes at Motown"

Publicity

The Los Angeles Times featured the poster series on their tumblr blog.

I was also interviewed by 20 Minutos, a Spanish newspaper.
The article can be found here.

Jimmy Ruffin Tribute Vinyl & CD Art

Motown artist Jimmy Ruffin passed away on November 17, 2014. His biggest hit "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" (1966) influenced the proposed design of the vinyl cover and CD art for "Remembering Jimmy Ruffin." While his brother David Ruffin basked in much more success and spotlight, Jimmy Ruffin, nonetheless, was a sharp artist dedicated to pouring out his heart and emotion through music.

Art Director: J.D. Humphreys

Copywriter: J.D. Humphreys

Special Thanks: Louvain Demps, Al Abrams, Martha Reeves, Motown: The Musical, Jose Ángel González, Ellen Steinberg, Julie Matheny, Community Food Lab (Raleigh), Meredith Stewart, Chris Todd Miller, Andrew Tew