Staff Spotlight: Director of Art Randy Gilmore
When I tell people I’m the Director of Art at Ruth Eckerd Hall, their first response is usually “how exciting!”. And they’re right. Even though my job is almost entirely behind the scenes, it never stops being filled with all the drama of a large, successful performing arts center. On a daily basis, we’re adding shows and my team is tasked with creating the huge amount of art and collateral that is needed to go along with each performance offered. In most cases, the performance sends us pre-designed art which we alter as we need it; but just as often, we’re busy creating new and unique art to help promote any particular event. It’s very exciting knowing that our work, while not necessarily being the reason why someone will buy a ticket, is often the image that catches the patron’s eye. How often does a fan leave one of our theatres clutching the program as a cherished memory or winning the show poster in the auction only to frame it and hang it on the wall at home or in their office?
It’s not just our patrons that are affected by the designs we create. Everything we design is sent to the performer’s management for approval. It’s very exciting when I get an email from a tour manager full of praise or asking for the art to use with the tour, which has happened countless times. I was particularly thrilled when the manager of Sophia Loren informed me that Ms. Loren loved a piece of art I stylized of her, and could she have it? And while we didn’t use the art in our promotion of her appearance at Ruth Eckerd Hall, she was wonderfully gracious and autographed it for me. It now hangs at my desk in a place of honor.
But it’s not always so rosy with performers when they see art we create. I’m reminded of a famous diva who performed here several years ago. We received a beautiful photo to use for our promotions but it was black and white. To make it more eye-catching, I added color by painting her lips and nails red. As the story goes, on the day of the show she eyed her poster hanging up with my handy-work on full display and informed everyone in earshot that she would never be caught dead wearing that shade of red. How embarrassing! I was a little terrified thinking the artist was mad about something I created for the show.
What we designers do, whether it be resizing pre-designed art or creating something entirely new and unique, may be something that is often overlooked for the big picture, but I take great satisfaction in knowing that what I do is a small part of creating a memory for someone that will last a lifetime. In my book, that’s pretty cool.
Randy Gilmore has been with Ruth Eckerd Hall since 2008, where he started as their first graphic designer. He attended school at George Mason University and Corcoran School of the Arts and Design and is now the Art Director for the Ruth Eckerd Hall team of graphic designers. Randy draws his creative influences from Japanese anime and all forms of art. In his spare time he likes to enjoy everything Clearwater Beach has to offer and studying foreign cultures.