Every year, we collaborate with local artists to create unique & original artwork that will define the vibe and feel of all the marketing materials we use to promote the festival. For 2021, we selected Los Angeles based artist Dean Westerfield, a long time enthusiastic fan of our festival, who can often be found somewhere in the audience hand drawing at our concerts . We’ve long admired his ability to capture the energy generated on stage through his drawings, so it seemed only natural that he would be a perfect candidate to create original artwork for us.
When Rocco told me the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra were celebrating their 60th anniversary, I knew the Ark was to be my subject. Horace Tapscott had to be the focal point of this drawing. I am relatively new to the creative music scene and I never saw Tapscott play but he represents what LA jazz means to me. He founded the Ark to be educational and inclusive. He states on the back of The Call, “Our music is contributive, rather than competitive.” By the light of this founding principle, the Ark includes players, singers, dancers, and poets, from all walks of life, cultures, genders, and ages. They reach out to the youth to teach them not only to play jazz but also its cultural and political significance. That is LA Jazz and it is truly inspirational.
My drawing attempts to demonstrate this inclusivity as various members of the Ark, both past and present, bloom from Tapscott’s piano. I attempted to draw as many members, and include a wide variety of instruments, but it was not possible to include all. Additionally, it was truly a challenge to capture so many likenesses of so many players in a relatively small drawing. I am happy with the final product. I hope you enjoy it too. Included here is my first drawing of Horace Tapscott which inspired the final drawing that became the poster. You will also find some early ideas and pictures of my process. See you at the Fest,
Dean is a high school English teacher by trade but when he is not teaching, he is drawing. His real love is comics. Dean has been published in Top Shelf and Tower Records’ Pulse Magazine. He, along with partner in crime, Jeff Guarino, has self-published two graphic novels, Dust of Midian and Amboy, pop. 5. On his own, Dean is currently working on a graphic novel, provisionally titled, Visions of Ayler. This book currently stands at 114 pages and intermingles Dean’s reflections and personal experiences with key biographical sketches from the life of free jazz innovator, Albert Ayler. Dean attends many concerts in and around Los Angeles, where you will often see him doing live sketches of the musicians.