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Young Canadian Launches Dream Career Designing Posters for Coachella

Young Canadian Launches Dream Career Designing Posters for Coachella

  • 5/16/2017
  • Gary Butler
From art prints to greeting cards and posters to wedding invitations, the dynamic designs of Canadian screen printer Stephanie Cheng reflect their creator’s wide and varied interests.

Talent and a lucky early career break set Stephanie on the path to successful self-employment. “I definitely took the scenic route to get to where I am,” she says. Around 2012, six years after completing a BFA in Design Arts (at Concordia University, in her hometown of Montreal), Stephanie found herself unemployed. To pass the time, she started designing gig posters, “paid or not,” for musician friends. She became further immersed when she decided to make her own wedding invitations. “From there, it was a lot of word of mouth.”

Everything changed in 2014, when Stephanie landed a gig poster contract with Goldenvoice, the California concert promoter best known for the annual Coachella music festival. She’s continued to design band and gig posters ever since. “The 2015 Courtney Barnett gig poster is probably my favourite. It was the first poster where I was really pleased with the printed version and it felt like a shift in my career.”

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Stephanie’s sports prints, including a lively series on the Toronto Blue Jays, convey a strong sense of motion. “I like to work with negative space in my illustrations,” she explains. “I’m a big sports fan. I’ll get inspiration from the games/highlights I watch and use photos for reference when I sketch.” She created the Jays series the day after Jose Bautista’s infamous “bat flip” in October of 2015. “It grows as more moments happen.”

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Stephanie’s eye-catching creations are all made in her Toronto-based print shop, located downtown in the eternally-boho Kensington Market. “Toronto is an interesting place to be right now,” she says. “There are amazing musicians, artists, chefs, designers coming up, many of whom are being recognized globally. This has infused an exciting energy into the city.”

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Having studied graphic design and printmaking in university, Stephanie has since developed a fascination with early to mid-century advertising art. “When I started my travel series, I felt it was important to focus on cities I have travelled to. It has since grown to include some areas that clients have requested.” Recent commissions have included Killbear Provincial Park and the surrounding Georgian Bay area in Parry Sound, Ontario. Clients send reference images and “from there I’ll do my own research/brainstorming to create the artwork.”

Screen printing is Stephanie’s medium of choice — and it’s all about the process for her. “It’s methodical and quite soothing in a way. Sometimes I zone out, like when I’m swimming laps, and it becomes all physical. Creating something tactile is always rewarding.” It’s rewarding for the viewer, too. Check out more of Stephanie’s work and discover for yourself!

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