French multidisciplinary artist Guillaume Grando – AKA SupaKitch – is the latest in an illustrious line of artists to design the poster for the Montreux Jazz Festival. Featuring realistic nighttime rippling waters inspired by Lake Geneva, Guillaume's design will appear on the festival's poster for its 57th edition.
Returning on 30 June 2023 and running until 15 July, the Montreux Jazz Festival has a long history of handing over the design of its poster to artists and giving them free rein to create whatever they want. The likes of Keith Herring, Andy Warhol and David Bowie have all helped to realise the festival's poster in the past, and now Guillaume joins their ranks with his aquatic artwork.
Described as "radical and enigmatic" by festival organisers, Guillaume's poster is a dramatic departure from the colourful one designed by Camille Walala last year. Whereas hers was an explosion of colour and shapes, this one is darker, more subdued, and yet no less captivating.
Influenced by the ripples on the surface of the breathtaking Lake Geneva, a body of water closely linked with the festival, Guillaume's design sees its surface illuminated by events taking place on its lively waterfront. And as well as evoking the area's natural beauty, the festival's energy and vibrancy are captured in its free-flowing and mesmerising finish.
"I am incredibly proud to have been asked to design the poster for the 57th edition of Montreux Jazz Festival," Guillaume tells Creative Boom. "It's an honour to work for this legendary music event and join a list of some of the most radical, iconic, and forward-thinking artists who have designed its poster.
"As an avid surfer, I spend a lot of time in the ocean observing nature, especially water: its material, colour, movement and interaction with light. I was struck by the particularity of Lake Geneva when I attended the Festival in 2018, so I aimed to capture this beauty and allure in my design."
To bring his concept to life, Guillaume used the complex processes that have defined many of his artworks. Starting with a wooden support, he applied several layers of acrylic paint and resin before sanding them down and sculpting them to reproduce the texture of water and the illusion of light playing across it.
Once this stage was complete and the physical object was finished, Guillaume took various photos of the artwork, which were then used to form the final image that became the poster. Then all that was left to do was to add the distorted typography digitally, which bends and curves to create the illusion that it is beneath the surface.
This poster isn't the first time Lake Geneva has been used in a musical context. It has appeared on numerous album covers, been mentioned in Deep People's iconic hit Smoke on the Water, and each year during the Montreux Jazz Festival, it invites guests and performers to swim in its depths. However, it does not often feature on official posters, with only Bruno Gaeng's postcard poster (1974), Per Arnoldi's swan-saxophone (1994) and Zep's mermaids (2005) using it as inspiration until now.
"In the refined style that characterises his work, [Guillaume] moves away from the touristic image of Lake Geneva in order to extract what is essential," adds the Montreux Jazz Festival website. The physical work, without typography, will be exhibited during the 57th Montreux Jazz Festival, due to run from 30 June to 15 July 2023.