Talking Dolls is an artist residency that has existed in Northeast Detroit for over a decade. The residency has a mission of bolstering their neighborhood’s wellbeing through justice-focused initiatives, as well as encouraging and networking the area’s local artists. During the summer of 2022 I was selected to participate in the residency, and also had the privilege of being chosen to design the Talking Dolls summer publication they released through a grant from the MDW Artist Fund. This small publication was designed to house the writing of Talking Dolls founder Wesley Taylor. Taylor’s writing further elaborated on the residency’s community based mission and history, and I wanted to design a housing for this writing that further emphasized its energy and historical narrative.
Looking back at past artistic movements in Detroit, I was immediately drawn to Motown for its liveliness, color, and expressive graphic style. This reference served as a jumping off point for creative play, and I went through a variety of iterations before pairing back my designs in favor of a more simplistic approach. Through the use of curved image borders, vintage affected imagery, and bright paper colors, I was able to reference Motown and historic Detroit elements in a subtle way. These fifty booklets were Risographed and sewn by hand, then presented to the Talking Dolls founders for their sale and distribution at the Detroit Art Book Fair.