Last week the Roger Williams Park Conservancy celebrated the launch of the “Art for the People’s Park” campaign by offering some beautiful art of the Park for you to purchase for your home or office. We caught up with the Pawtucket-based artist, Peter Cardoso, to ask him about the project, the Park, and his art.
Tell us about yourself and Ghost Town Studio.
“I was born and raised here in Rhode Island. I went to Community College of Rhode Island then completed the Continuing Education program at Rhode Island School of Design in graphic design. I started my studio in 1998, solely focused on design within the music industry. I did a lot of album covers, as well as tee shirts and merchandise design. My main body of work was designing and screen-printing posters for gigs both local and nationally. I’ve done poster work for everyone from local heroes to Bob Dylan and everyone in between. If you went to a gig at a local club anywhere from the 1990’s until recently you most likely saw or purchased a poster I designed and printed. I’ve been to so many homes where someone has something I did on their wall and had no idea it was mine. I love when that happens.
Aside from my studio I’ve been a graphic designer for Reebok for the past 15 years. Currently I am a design director there. I love the different design challenges that the sport and lifestyle industries presents. It’s a nice balance from the music part of design that I do. It’s allowed me to travel the world and meet lots of great people along the way. It’s been a lot of hard work and dedication but I love being an artist and designer.”
How did you approach making this art of Roger Williams Park?
“I was very excited when the Conservancy approached me about this project. My wife and I love the outdoors and we are very connected to our community. I called up a family friend that happens to be an incredible local Providence-based photographer (Kevin Bowden) to come spend some time at the park with me and scout out some places to shoot. We spent an early morning when the light was good and got a lot of photos I then used for reference. I took those and then started to draw from that, scan sketches in the computer then work from there digitally. We wanted a Works Progress Administration poster feel. I wanted to also give it a slight painterly look as well. I also worked outside of my own print studio with Sawtooth Editions (ed: for a look inside Sawtooth’s shop enjoy our video blog from last week). They are a local fine art screen print outfit that I have known for a while. They have a look and feel that’s a little outside of what I do with rock posters. So I was excited to work with them on this project. We used some of the highest quality inks and papers in the industry and the final results are stunning.”
Your work often involves other artists, musicians especially. Was this project a challenge, making art from a landscape?
“It was a challenge and it was a great opportunity for me to design out of my comfort zone. Most of the clients I work with know my style and give me pretty open rein to design as I see fit. This was an opportunity to really focus on a specific theme with specific locations. It proved to have its challenges. A lot of landscapes tend to be painted in a horizontal manner but posters tend to be vertical. We looked at a lot of different angles and got the best perspective for an impactful design. I love it and I look forward to doing more work in this vein in the future.”
What surprised you while working on this project? What inspired you?
“One of the things that surprised me the most was how much a location you see everyday can change dramatically depending on the time of day, the lighting and the season. I made the decision early on that I wanted to have each of the four seasons in New England represented. We are so lucky to be able to live in an area that grants us such beautiful scenery all year round. For example, looking at the Iron Bridge in the fall and then summer, it was a dramatic shift in scenery. It gave me such a new appreciation for landscape artists and a better understanding of what they look for in a scene for dramatic effect.
That being said, just being in the park is inspiring. I’ve been to a lot of cities in this country and I can honestly say we have one of the most beautiful parks. I think we sometimes take for granted what’s right in our own backyard. I recommend packing a lunch and heading to the park for a day with some family or friends or even by yourself for some meditation and self reflection. It’s the perfect place for it. Plus, considering our current situation, it’s something you can safely do while social distancing.”