You’ll find the Parma native in the whimsical eye-spy frame of our Fall Arts & Entertainment Preview’s books, paints, theater masks, instruments, film reels, elephants (though I’m not sure why) and creepy mystical eye.
The hypnotic eyeball seems to beckon, as does the hand-drawn take on our usual lettering by Higgins’ partner, Nicholas Rezabek.
Together, the Kent State University grads make up The Bubble Process, an illustration and design firm best known for their intricate, screen-printed concert posters for artists such as Dave Matthews Band and Death Cab for Cutie.
Yet their long-distance working relationship also makes them unique: Higgins lives here and works as a graphic designer at Cleveland Public Theatre, while Rezabek, an associate art director at Guitar World magazine, now lives in New York.
That separation has produced an almost musical approach to their work, where the final piece is built layer upon layer.
Sometimes Higgins starts the brainstorming process, other times it’s Rezabek. Then they trade sketches via instant message and e-mail (“We really don’t talk on the phone all that much,” admits Higgins), playing off each other’s ideas, adding, subtracting, experimenting until it all works together.
Like any artists, there’s even a bit of friendly competition, though Higgins isn’t quite sure he likes that word. “It keeps you motivated to do good work,” he says.
Take their poster for B.B. King’s March gig at the House of Blues (King returns to town Oct. 9; see page 71). At the center, a huge pot — etched from the letters of B.B. King’s name — boils over with the help of an electric blue flame and a guitar to stir things up, while an intricate frame evokes the House of Blues’ décor. Type and illustration mix with a weird, whimsical edge (two tiny chickens run on human-like legs outside the pot) for a piece that matches King’s musical might.
The Bubble Process was a natural choice when we decided to do something different with this month’s cover — a return to illustration for the first time in ages — to make a statement about our arts scene.
“There’s a million different things that fall under the arts,” offers Higgins. “You can’t just have one thing define it all.”
But we made him try anyway, asking for his take on the season’s arts and entertainment offerings.
Give us one event you’re looking forward to.
Since you work at Cleveland Public Theatre, what’s the one show people shouldn’t miss?
While people are over in the Gordon Square Arts District, where’s one place they should visit?
What’s with all the eyes in the illustrations for this month’s issue?