During the fall 2019 semester Drama Director Nick Garcia commissioned a new mural for the Little Theater ticket booth. The mural, named “The Girl in Red,” was executed by Eric Sanchez’s ART-010 2-Dimensional Design class.
The design team included Ashley Cervantes, Donna Ashley, Ginger Cole, and art director, Lana Nguyen. Sanchez helped with budgeting and facilitating. The class of 29 students was split into five groups, each coming up with a design for Garcia to choose from. He chose Nguyen’s, which made her art director of the class project.
The mural is a dark take on the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood, with various shades of red and black that are meant to guide the viewer to a forest clearing. Once the viewer enters the ticket booth, the red and black walls are covered with images from left to right: a house in the woods, a girl in a red hood, a lumberjack and a dark wolf with sharp teeth.
“It’s supposed to be like a comic strip layout but instead of being constrained by panels, it’s a continuous image.” said Nguyen, continuing, “The scent of red from the wolf connects to the trail that connects to the girl’s hood.”
Nguyen and her classmates had to work with a minimal color palette. “The Girl in Red” was a mock commission piece, meaning that although Garcia was the client, work experience was the payoff rather than actual money.
“This project is tied as a design challenge in which students work with a real world project that may or may not come to fruition. If the client is not satisfied, then we redesign or cut our losses.” explained Sanchez. “It is nerve-wracking and energizing at the same time. If the client says no, there is no project and we go back to class, if they say yes, we have to deliver.”
Students learned how to work in a team, create their budgets and execute a design from paper to wall. Their deadline was before the campus closed for winter break.
When it came to his vision for the piece, Garcia looked for a storybook aesthetic, something dark and edgy with a limited color palette.
“With the ticket booth originally being red and black, naturally the words ‘red’ and ‘storybook’ alone would lead to Little Red Riding Hood,” said Nguyen. “I wanted a piece that could make sense if you were to view it from left to right or right to left because of the positioning of a person that were to approach the ticket booth.”
“Guests can see a girl in red approaching a house who went through the forest followed by a wolf or a wolf smelling the girls path to the house,” Nguyen explained referring to the switch in perspectives.
“Working in a small space with 29 students in your design team was a big challenge,” Sanchez recalled.
“I’m also very short so painting anything too high was difficult too,” said Nguyen. “The wolf was originally more hairy and you could see his legs, but the commissioner asked for a slight adjustment. I had to paint over the entire thing to resketch and repaint it.”
Because the commissioner’s opinion was final, they made sure to make it happen.
“Overall, from Nick’s [Garcia] response we have a successful project,” said Sanchez, “I believe we can continue work like this through building design challenges attached to a maker space.”
Nyugen also expresses appreciation and pride in their work, ”I am very grateful to the teachers who arranged the whole project for giving me the opportunity to work on something so big and public and for choosing my design.”
The next time there is a Drama production, students will be able to see “The Girl In Red” when purchasing a ticket — or simply stop by the Little Theatre to take a peek.