By Marie Louise Espenido
Queen - Phindile Sithole-Spong Size 23" by 33"
Poster Mounted on 1" Card
Delivery Time: 1 week within Alberta; Up to 6 weeks outside Alberta
The Queen that is represented through this illustration is Phindile Sithole-Spong. She is a South African HIV activist who founded Rebranding HIV. From birth Sithole-Spong was diagnosed with HIV, but did not find out until she was nineteen. The news affected her both physically and mentally; however she refused to let HIV define her life, and strived to prove to people she could still live a normal life despite living with HIV. Sithole-Spong’s stand on HIV has influenced and empowered other women to be strong and independent both emotionally and physically. With charisma and spirit she acts as a leader progressing towards an HIV-Aware Generation, tackling issues on misinformation about HIV, promoting awareness as to what it means to be infected, the treatment of the disease, and representing the current needs of South Africans living with HIV.
For the illustration I aimed to create a positive and uplifting tone with imagery that celebrates who Phindile Sithole-Spong is and her accomplishments. I wanted the illustration to emphasize how she is strong, independent, and how she is an up-coming leader to an HIV-Aware Generation. The illustration shows Sithole-Spong leading a group of people while breaking through some sort of barrier. This composition was used to emphasize her leadership and how her efforts have brought together a community. The red shatter pieces represent the breaking through of the HIV stigma, and Sithole-Spong’s actions to influence positive change from South Africa’s HIV-Free Generation and to an HIV-Aware Generation. Red was used for the shatter pieces because red signifies HIV. The blues in the background were used to create a sky effect, as well as creating a sense of openness, freedom, and positivity. The colors of the shirts were taken from the colors of the South African flag; they were used to tie Sithole-Spong’s background into the illustration.
A majority of my illustrations have been done through traditional means in the past but I am currently trying to branch out more to digital illustrations which are much more accessible to the public. My art style consists mainly of vector images and making use of the layers, textures, and color to make the illustration more interesting and dynamic.
For this particular illustration I started with a process of elimination by compiling rough concept sketches that best represent the theme Queens, and then taking the more effective concepts refining them as larger thumbnails. Afterwards a final concept is decided and I refine that one thumbnail to a rendered pencil sketch that consists of the major elements that will definitely be included in the final piece. That pencil sketch is then scanned onto the computer where the design process shifts onto illustrator to create my vector images. Once all the vectors were created I stationed the shapes into their right positions in terms of the overall piece and their individual layer. For this piece I also created a textured sky in photoshop to give the illustration some contrast between the vector images and to also make the overall piece more dynamic. There is also an additional transparent layer over the people behind Phindile Sithole-Spong to add visual hierarchy, and make it easier to identify Sithole-Spong among the crowd of people.
Twitter Handle: @MarieEspenido
More about the GDC - RRF collaboration here
2015 Theme - QUEEN!
“Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva is not all about singing. It has much to do with your service to people. And your social contributions to your community and your civic contributions as well.” Aretha Franklin
Ribbon Rouge #8 is QUEEN!
Our theme this year explores powerful women; women of vision and unsung heroes in our communities and globally. “Unruly” women who broke away from the status quo…bothered people…shook up the system and birthed social revolutions. To their various capacities, these women used whatever they had to be the difference and they inspire us to become our own brands of heretics. A few of them have worked directly in HIV relief efforts, others have put in tremendous efforts to further women’s rights. In all, their efforts have directly or indirectly contributed to progress on gender equity, which in turn, contributes to getting to Zero HIV.
These Queens inspire us to each cause a RUCKUS!
…To get out in front and create our own tribes, our own movements for positive change. To believe in ourselves, as such inspire others to do the same.
Ribbon Rouge #8 presents these women, their ideas, their thoughts…feelings to you through the night.