The stunning new roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium will transform the 2016 US Open this summer, wowing fans with its architectural design and putting an end to rain delays inside the world's biggest tennis stadium.
To celebrate the addition to Arthur Ashe Stadium, Brooklyn-based artist Marcos Chin was commissioned to design the theme art for the 2016 event. His design will be used on the front cover of the official tournament program as well as on tickets, banners and posters.
USOpen.org caught up with the Canadian-born illustrator to discuss the project.
USOpen.org: How did you get involved in the project?
Marcos Chin: The USTA contacted me with a project in mind after finding my work on the internet. A few illustrators were asked to pitch artwork for the US Open 2016. I submitted some sketches and some partially finalized illustrations that were shown to the rest of the team, and one of the pieces was chosen to become the artwork for the Open. I still get a thrill when I see the drawings that I’ve done in my studio show up in real life. That’s why I do what I do.
USOpen.org: How exciting is it to be chosen for this project?
Chin: It’s very exciting. The US Open is a huge event and so many people are familiar with it. That’s part of the reason I’m so excited about it to have this level of exposure in terms of having my work appear on this scale and in such a public forum. A lot of the work I do as an illustrator is mostly editorial, so the size of it usually fits on the scale of a magazine. I know in this instance, it will be shown much larger. A lot of people who have never seen my work will have chance to experience it. I’ve lived in New York for almost 11 years, so to be asked to be part of something so special is really important. Although I’m not a native, I feel like a New Yorker and I do a lot of things that New Yorkers do, so for me it’s really an honor and a privilege to be asked to even present concepts for this project.
USOpen.org: What is your background in design and illustration?
Chin: I’m an illustrator, and I’ve been working for 13 or 14 years working various disciplines within illustration design like fashion, book covers, T-shirts and magazines. I work on a lot of projects and most of my work has been rooted in magazines and editorial, but lots of the clients I’ve worked with lately have moved beyond the printed page. Although I began doing a lot of work in magazines, I’ve been fortunate to work with companies that have wanted to place my work on different types of platforms like textiles and fabrics and more three-dimensional types of applications.
USOpen.org: What design brief were you given for the 2016 US Open theme art?
Chin: I was told they wanted to change direction from some of the previous artwork done for the Open. I was told the new Arthur Ashe roof should be highlighted, but other than that I had pretty free rein what I could present to them at the conceptual stage. The first stage of presentations was in early January, and I revised a couple of pieces that had been selected from the five ideas I presented. From there, two were sent as a final submission and one of these was chosen.
USOpen.org: Your design looking into Arthur Ashe Stadium from above was the one that was chosen. What was the inspiration behind this particular piece?
Chin: When I was creating that perspective, something I wanted to suggest was the idea of discovery because the roof is new and it will revealed to everybody. When I drew it from this particular perspective, it allowed the viewer to look inside from the outside. It was important to suggest that. Also viewing it this way, I wanted to suggest a play between outside and inside and the relationship between these two things that were opposite and to try to see if I could present that visually within the poster.
USOpen.org: What was the hardest part of this project for you?
Chin: I think the hardest part was that I don’t play competitive sports. Tennis was very new to me and I have a very limited exposure to it. But one of my connections with tennis is through fashion and through some of the amazing outfits the tennis stars have worn and how it has been presented throughout history on posters and magazine covers and things that have been illustrated.
USOpen.org: Which one word best describes the piece?
Chin: Celebration. And also a gift. Because I wanted the perspective to suggest it was a present – that you’re opening something up and discovering this new object, this new experience. It’s tricky as an illustrator, because I was asked to make the roof the focus, but I also wanted to draw an experience and that’s not a tangible thing. How do you draw, how do you illustrate, how do you visualize an experience? How do you present a feeling using shapes, line, color, form? That’s what my starting point was. When you look at this from the top, you really just have a peak of the court. You get a glimpse in a graphical way. You don’t see everything, but you understand the roof is open and you can see inside. That goes back to it being a gift – opening a box and seeing what’s inside.
USOpen.org: When fans view your work for the first time, what do you hope they experience?
Chin: I’m hoping they enjoy it and that it will be memorable and that if they have been going to the Open for the past several years, they will see that the artwork is different from versions prior to it. But I want there to be a sense of joy because when I drew it, my starting place was celebration, so I’m hoping that when they look at it, they will feel joy.