May 4, 2009

Although I’ve been doing a lot of small projects throught the course of my FMP, I’d like the chance to work on something a bit more substantial for the last few weeks, and have decided to develop one of my live projects further out of my own interest – specifically, one dealing with the sport of roller derby.

The Denver Roller Dolls – Season Opener: Shotgun Betties vs. Green Barrettes and The Bad Apples vs. Fort Collin Chanel Cartel - 03/28/09

The Denver Roller Dolls – Season Opener: Shotgun Betties vs. Green Barrettes and The Bad Apples vs. Fort Collin' Chanel Cartel - 03/28/09

The Denver Roller Dolls – Season Opener: Shotgun Betties vs. Green Barrettes and The Bad Apples vs. Fort Collin Chanel Cartel - 03/28/09

The Denver Roller Dolls – Season Opener: Shotgun Betties vs. Green Barrettes and The Bad Apples vs. Fort Collin' Chanel Cartel - 03/28/09

Turning to the bastion of information that is Wikipedia for a definition, roller derby is “is an American-invented contact sport—and historically, a form of sports entertainment—based on formation roller skating around an oval track … Contemporary roller derby is international predominantly female, typically operates on an amateur (or unpaid) circuit, and has a strong do it yourself ethic which often features both athleticism and a satirical punk third-wave feminism aesthetic.”

What I like about it is that it’s both playful and violent – teams often wear kitschy costumes, often with a punk or rockabilly essence to them, and come together in what can be a fairly brutal sport – injuries can and will occur, and a lot of the imagery connected with the sport involves blood and bruises. However, it also seems an incredibly inclusive and empowering sort of thing to do – there’s a spirit of community, with a common goal of having fun and kicking arse. You can read a good article about it here: Roller Derby, Uniting Younger Women, One Bout at a Time.

I got in touch with a local derby team and offered to do some design work with them recently, and while that’s ongoing I’m also going to be taking the project in my own direction, looking at the design aesthetic surrounding the sport and adapting my own illustrative style to the spirit of roller derby.

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