Chelsey Farris is “Celebrating the Power of Tennis” through art at the US Open

The 2024 US Open theme, “Celebrating the Power of Tennis,” has been vibrantly brought to life by a local St. Louis artist. Each year, the United States Tennis Association embarks on a journey to locate the perfect artist to create the focal visual for the Grand Slam event, held this year from August 26 to September 8. This year’s selected artist is Clifton Heights resident Chelsey Farris

The clean, yet potently colorful, theme art consisting of a focal graphic and 16 auxiliary pieces incorporates individual elements of the sport in efforts to uphold the “commitment to promote positive effects on the world’s healthiest sport on its biggest stage,” according to a press release announcing the project. The focal graphic features four tennis balls representing Health & Wellness, New York City, Diversity & Inclusion, and Tradition. It will be used in variations of artwork and in on-site installations. 

This year’s theme art differs from past designs due to its versatile nature and multitude of graphics. Rather than just one visual representation, recycled by the US Open on different merchandise and publicity, the 16 tennis balls complement the focal piece by bringing unique sub sectors within the commanding influence of tennis to the table. 

“As I was doing my research and looking back at all the different past art, I saw an opportunity to create something that was really dynamic and wasn’t just the one piece,” Farris says. “I wanted to create a brand language or design system that could be used differently for different things.” 

Beginning to scout for artists in the fall and early winter season before the national tennis tournament, the US Open had not yet found the “perfect fit” artist to align with the mission of the open when contacting Farris. Arriving on the project a bit late in the game, Farris was originally invited to contribute potential concepts in mid February, giving her only 10 days to brainstorm, create, and polish her final designs. 

Farris says that despite her tight deadline, the scale of the project and the US Open’s global reputation helped fuel her passion to complete the project on schedule, even working around a full time job. “It was easy to tap into that [passion], and easy to find the energy to make the time for it,” she says.

The US Open uses this year’s theme to celebrate the culture, athletes, and fans that have allowed tennis to thrive as a sport on both recreational and professional levels. The USTA’s newest mission, “growing tennis to inspire healthier people and communities everywhere,” builds on scientifically proven positive benefits to the sport, including the fact that tennis players on average live 9.7 years longer than your average sedentary individual.

“In looking for an artist for this year’s US Open Theme Art, we wanted to find someone who could not only design a beautiful poster but help us take a big message and simplify it into a piece of art,” says Carrie Ehorn, the director of pro tennis marketing for the US Open. “I was impressed with the work Chelsey had in her portfolio and could tell she may be a nice fit due to her examples of structured composition, use of shape and use of vibrant colors. Throughout the process she brought those traits into her designs for the US Open, which helped craft the amazing work we see today.”

For Farris, it has always been a “dream project” to do the visual branding for a major sporting event such as the US Open. Farris will be attending the Opening Ceremony for the US Open and looks forward to not only seeing her cultivated designs come to life in physical installations, but being surrounded and celebrated by such a passionate crowd of attendees. 

“I hope to continue working on projects like this, ones that align with my values, ones that cater to such a passionate audience,” Farris says. “For me, design is fun when the stakes are high. When the stakes are high and when you have a passionate audience, you really have to do a lot of research and try to get in the minds of people that might be different from you.”

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