Maura Gaven outside Norimoto Bakery in Portland. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

South Portland artist Maura Gaven is a big fan of Florence + the Machine. Come to find out, the feeling’s mutual.

Lead vocalist Florence Welch chose Gaven’s digital illustration as the winner of a contest to design a poster for the British indie rock band’s upcoming Dance Fever tour. Although the poster won’t be used for commercial purposes, the band has said, it will hang in Welch’s home.

For winning the contest, Gaven, 25, is receiving a framed signed print of the poster, two tickets to a show of her choice and financial compensation for her work, though she wouldn’t say how much.

“It’s not the exciting part. The recognition and the tickets are why I entered,” she said.

Maura Gaven’s winning poster design for Florence and the Machine. Image courtesy of the artist

After seeing an Aug. 4 Instagram post calling for submissions, Gaven got to work on her design, based on the “Dance Fever” album released May 13 and described as “a fairytale in 14 songs.”

“I looked at a lot of extant medieval woodcuts and sort of worked from there,” she said.


The resulting design, in black ink against a deep persimmon background, features an illustration of a queen with long-flowing hair with one eye blackened out and shedding a single tear. At the bottom is a rectangle filled with several dancing women wearing flower crowns.

Florence + the Machine announced Wednesday on Instagram that Gaven’s design had won, but did not respond Thursday to questions about the contest. Gaven had been notified by email a few days earlier and said she at first didn’t believe it, but when a second email arrived, it sunk in.

Gaven, who was born in Chicago and grew up in Maine, studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Burren College of Art in Ireland, then finished her BFA at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. She teaches introduction to 2-D design at Southern Maine Community College and also works at Norimoto Bakery in Portland.

Gaven has seen Florence + the Machine perform in Scotland, Kansas City, Chicago and Boston, where she will return to attend a show on Sept. 14 at the TD Garden with the tickets she won.

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