September 7, 2012 in City

Artists apply their talents to neighborhood branding

By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

Graphic artists, from left, Joel Barbour, Eric Smith and Nick Tibbetts sit beside some of their work on “The Hoods” project on Wednesday at Bon Bon, a bar in the Garland District.
(Full-size photo)

Several local artists are trying to make their mark on Spokane’s neighborhoods.

With professional backgrounds in graphic design, the five artists created brands and logos for a handful of neighborhoods, including the South Hill, Browne’s Addition and Peaceful Valley.

The logos – some computer-generated, others hand-drawn or painted – are then superimposed on T-shirts, tote bags or photographs that represent the area.

The work will be on display and for sale this month in a show called “The Hoods” at Bon Bon martini bar, 926 W. Garland Ave., which is hosting a debut event today at 4 p.m.

For 31-year-old Nick Tibbetts, the project allowed him to get to know a new neighborhood. Tibbetts and his family moved from West Central to Indian Trail last year.

“For me, community is really important,” he said.

Artist Joel Barbour has spent all 26 years of his life in the Spokane area, in three different neighborhoods. After growing up mostly in Hillyard, he moved to Mead and then recently bought a house with his wife on the South Hill.

It was clear when they moved in, he said, that there was a cultural difference between the areas. On his first day on the South Hill, he said, one neighbor asked the young-looking Barbour, “Is your mom or daddy home?”

The challenge with his art, he said, is to accurately yet tastefully portray the differences between areas like the South Hill and Hillyard.

“I don’t want to make fun of it or bring controversy,” Barbour said.

His logo for South Hill is a gold “S” over a gold “H,” forming a figure similar to a dollar sign.

His portrayal of Hillyard includes images of railroad tracks.

“The concept was really pretty simple for both of them,” Barbour said.

The three artists, who finished setting up the display Wednesday, will be joined in the show by Jesse Pierpoint and freelance artist Karli Ingersoll. Four of the five – all but Ingersoll – work for digital marketing firm Seven2.

While the show is a way for the five friends to come together on a fun project, they also said it is an opportunity to show off their hometown.

“There’s a lot of cool areas here that nobody knows about,” 32-year-old artist Eric Smith said. “I love Spokane. Be proud of it.”

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