New SPAC poster sets tone for season

The new poster by illustrator Ibrahim Rayintakath. (photo provided)

The new poster by illustrator Ibrahim Rayintakath. (photo provided)

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Summer at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center may seem far off, but a look at the 2023 poster makes it feel a little closer.

Designed by Ibrahim Rayintakath, the new artwork is swathed in reddish pinks and purples, with greenery in the foreground lit up by white orbs. The amphitheater is almost in the background and seems to rise up out of the greenery.

It evokes memories of sitting on SPAC’s lawn, the feeling of grass against one’s legs, as the sun sinks and the lights around the amphitheater start to glow.

“I was very much intrigued by the space when I first saw pictures of the amphitheater. How the architecture entwines with the landscape,” said Rayintakath, who is an illustrator and art director based in India and has done work for the New York Times.

“I immediately wanted to make something that would visually tie these together. This inspired the composition — to create foliage as a pathway and the lamps also made perfect sense to integrate into the foreground similar to how the amphitheater sits within the landscape.”

The artwork sets the tone for the upcoming season, appearing on everything from SPAC’s brochures to its website, advertising, etc. It’s part of a renewed effort to have seasonal artwork of its kind. SPAC has previously commissioned posters, some of the most notable done by Milton Glaser during the 1980s.

Last year Texas-based illustrator Kate Dehler and local graphic designer Shawn Carney created a retro-style poster for the season, with the amphitheater front and center, and blue butterflies fluttering around.

This time around, the design is a bit more whimsical and abstract, capturing the transient time of day falling into night.

“For anyone who’s ever been to a SPAC show, that time of night where it’s right between day and night, it’s really special there,” Carney said. “We really wanted to encapsulate that dusk feel. It’s a magic hour almost.”

Carney previously worked for T: The New York Times Style Magazine and is the creative director of Pushkin Industries, an audio production company co-founded by Malcolm Gladwell. He moved to Saratoga County from New York City in 2020 and has since enjoyed performances by the New York City Ballet and Willie Nelson, among others at SPAC.

This year’s artwork embraces not only the stage and the music it offers but also the feeling of being at the venue.

“Not all the seats are in the amphitheater. A lot of people like myself, often even if I have seats, I end up in the lawn anyway. It’s just an enjoyable place to be,” Carney said.

The design also reflects SPAC’s theme of the summer: earth.

Elizabeth Sobol, the venue’s president and CEO, noted that since she started working at SPAC several years ago, she’s thought of the venue as the perfect confluence of human-made and natural beauty.

“When I came to SPAC, I started realizing how much more deeply and profoundly I was experiencing the music and the performances. I realized that it’s because being here in this beautiful park . . . really enveloped by nature just makes you so much more receptive to these experiences,” Sobol said.
This season, it seemed time to celebrate that.

“Over the years, we’ve celebrated Balanchine and we’ve celebrated Beethoven and we celebrate the art and the artists but what we haven’t really celebrated is this magical, natural location that feeds our souls and makes us that much more open to these experiences that connect us all,” Sobol said.

The release of the season artwork comes shortly before SPAC announces its classical season programming. (See Sunday’s Life & Arts section for more.)

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Categories: Art, Entertainment, Life and Arts, Life and Arts, Saratoga Springs

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