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Dimensions: 30 inches wide, 36 inches tall
Inkjet on matte paper, printed on both sides
Artist's narrative: Paul Laurence Dunbar was a fascinating poet and writer. He was ahead of his time, and his writing was special and loved by all who read it. However, Dunbar was very hard on himself; he talked down about his abilities and writings. In Letter 3, he was writing to a close friend and mentor, James Newton Matthews. He talks about how he is not confident in his writing abilities and is doubting himself, saying he hasn’t been able to sell a single poem. At the time of this letter, he was 20 years old and had already published his first poems at the age of 16 in a Dayton newspaper. My goal was to create a poster that reflected this self-deprecation by creating a drowsy and discouraged poster for the front to show how Dunbar felt about his work. But because others loved his work so much, I wanted to show that conflict by making the back of the poster for people to see and understand how much his work was loved. Dunbar inspired so many people, yet he was very discouraged and doubtful, so the contrast and conflict in my two sides of the poster is meant to show this feeling. The type palette I chose was based off Corundum, which is a transitional face; this was because I wanted to have the mark of the human hand but have it a little more structured and serious because of how serious Dunbar was about his work. I paired it with Halyard, a humanistic, because being human, you are always bound to not see how amazing you are. Having that mark of the human hand brings the people into the work.
Paul Laurence Dunbar, Dayton history, Black history, Dayton, Typography, University of Dayton, Graphic Design
Art and Design | Arts and Humanities | Graphic Design
Mitchell, Maddison, "Self-Deprivation" (2023). Life in Letters: A Typographic Poster Exhibition Featuring Paul Laurence Dunbar. 13.