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How NMCO Brought the Middle Age to the Digital Age

Feathers were thrown across the board room, meeting table, there was a smell of powder and heat as the NMCO team and collaborators styled hair and makeup.

Studio manager, Dawn Franco, was sitting for a light test in the NMCO video studio while NMCO Lead Video Specialist, Ralph Diaz, set the lights and camera before the green screen.

NMCO Creative Director, Tina Ballew, was explaining the shot lists to models and leading the collaborating stylist, Anahy Nunez, for the shoot.

Playing Art Director, Dana Apodaca slowly attached a handcrafted, feathered headdress inspired by fashion of early North American civilizations to model Marco Jimenez.

These were the steps for production in NMCO’s creation of the event campaign for Dona Ana Arts Council’s 50th annual RenFaire, Bridging Cultures.

Bridging Cultures

This year, Executive Director of the Dona Ana Arts Council, Greg Smith, decided for the special 50th anniversary of the RenFaire to return to historical colors of the event’s origins as well as have an extravagant and historically relevant aesthetic for the poster and promotion of the DAAC annual, November RenFaire.

Normally when attending a Renaissance fair it’s always a European focus, one thinks of Da Vinci and Michelangelo, but what most people don’t consider is that during the same time the indigenous cultures of North American civilizations were also making advancements in astronomy, medicine, agriculture, architecture and written language. Additionally, Smith and the Dona Ana Arts Council recognized this and wanted to create a twist on the annual renaissance arts fair by embracing the western side of the Atlantic. The 50th anniversary was a grand opportunity and the DAAC developed the theme “Bridging Cultures,” celebrating culture on both sides of the Atlantic.


That’s when NMCO stepped in, to deliver the creative insight, strategy and craft for bringing the imaginative and historically inclusive campaign to life. In collaboration with the Dona Ana Arts Council, in preparation for the event, NMCO revitalized the vision of the middle ages with a full campaign.
Like the Renaissance, in the spirit of innovation and art the NMCO team created props in-studio and hand-painted assets. A night of NMCO video and photography with models Emma Henderson and Jiminez became the foundation for the RenFaire poster to curate a branded media event kit with imagination and narrative.

Stylized like Raphael commissioned it himself…

The poster designed by NMCO appears to be straight from the middle ages. Inspired by Sandro Boticelli’s ‘Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci as Nymph’ and ‘Montezuma’s Throne’ the poster has texture reminiscent of a thick, oil painting as well as hues and shadows like a true renaissance piece.
The scroll of parchment with the event information

The scroll of parchment with the event information adds a tangible connection relevant to the time period and the stylized 50 brings a balance of hierarchy for both, the European and North American cultures, utilizing filigree and details sampled from an ancient calendar, the layout and combination of font give the impression one is indeed attending an experience of enlightenment.  

To create further anticipation for the event, NMCO created promo motion and flat graphics with ticket information and event dates utilizing these assets as well as a teaser for the release of the animated RenFaire promotion video. 

Star crossed

The animated promotion video directed and filmed by NMCO features our two inspired characters, portrayed by Emma Henderson and Marco Jimenez.
We find our North American warrior and Italian muse separated by a wide stretch of land and ocean, featuring waves and clouds reminiscent of middle age theatre, longing to connect before the same stars they are gazing at create a golden bridge, bringing them together.
“We wanted to keep a theatre aesthetic when creating this, as we felt this housed the mixed media approach the best. The waves and landscapes were hand painted in-house and modified in post. They worked well with the painterly approach. I have always admired what one can do with green screen footage and it was a pleasure to know that the client gave us so much flexibility with the look and concept,” said Diaz. “Depth and dimension are always key in making something dramatic looking and some of the shots that we composed in the video did just that. It was great when all these working components came together in a composite and I think it really fuels other ideas of what we can accomplish with such simple assets,” he said.

NMCO is thankful to participate in the revival of the 50th RenFaire event and have the opportunity to create a campaign with such a refined and artistic aesthetic.

The Dona Ana Arts Council 50th annual RenFaire is November 6-7 at Young’s Park in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Tickets are $10 or two for $15 and are available at Pic Quik locations and can be purchased on the DAAC website. 

Creative Director/Art Director:
Christina Ballew

Ralph Diaz

Zac Wittstruck

Art Director:
Dana Apadaca

Makeup Artist:
Anahy Nuñez

Christina Ballew

Dana Apodaca and Christina Ballew

To see more event coverage from NMCO, check out our Zozobra animation.

NMCO Studio member, Kahlo


Door Greeter & Cookie Eater

Kahlo is our gentle, friendly, office pup! He loves his belly rubbed, sniffing absolutely everything, and hasn’t found a treat he wouldn’t eat! Be sure to say hi, he loves the attention!

NMCO Studio member, Kelsey

Kelsey Gentile

Web Specialist

Once those websites are complete, Kelsey is our web maintenance manager. From regular updates, security checks, and content updates, Kelsey keeps our websites running smoothly, secure, and in tip-top shape.

NMCO Studio member, Annakat

Anna Kat Hollis

Senior Web Developer

Anna Kat is the driving force behind NMCO’s web development endeavors. With a sharp intellect, unwavering efficiency, and a keen eye for goals, she is the go-to expert for crafting everything from sleek landing pages to nationally acclaimed e-commerce sites. Anna Kat not only serves as your trusted web developer guide but also, if you look closely, you’ll notice she’s always impeccably color-coordinated with NMCO’s brand – a true testament to her attention to detail and commitment to the company’s image.

Zac Wittstruck


If you’re needing quality animation, Zac is your guy! Motion graphics, custom character rigging, and 2D animation are some of Zac’s specialties. Zac always wears a smile and is truly one of the nicest people you’ll meet. When Zac isn’t whipping out great animations, he plays bass guitar for a local jazz band! What a cool cat!

NMCO Studio member, Arron

Aaron Walterscheid

Video Specialist & Cinematographer

Meet Aaron, NMCO’s “Silent Assassin.” Despite his quiet demeanor, Aaron is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to videography, editing, color grading, drone operation, lighting, and crafting unforgettable cinematic experiences. His remarkable talent and expertise shine brightly, leaving an indelible mark on every project he touches.

NMCO Studio member, Sam

Sam Palm

Video Specialist & Photographer

Meet Sam, our resident photographer extraordinaire, who effortlessly transitions into the roles of Director of Photography, editor, color specialist, and an all-around Jack-of-all-trades. With an innate talent for capturing picture-perfect moments, Sam’s versatility knows no bounds. Beyond the camera, you’ll find him cruising the Southwest, embracing life to the fullest. Oh, and did we mention he boasts a head of truly great hair? 

NMCO Studio member, Ralph

Ralph Diaz

Senior Video Specialist

Don’t confuse Ralph with Academy Award-winning actor Johnny Depp. Although there’s a close resemblance, Ralph is much more talented behind the camera. He’s done it all from VFX to animation, to producing, directing, and editing some of our most memorable productions. It also should come as no surprise that he’s mastered the technical and practical aspects of videography, giving him the nickname, “The Doctor.”

NMCO Studio member, Dana

Dana Apodaca

Senior Graphic Designer & Art Director

Dana’s journey with NMCO has been nothing short of impressive, starting as a design intern and progressing to become a designer who now plays a pivotal role in assisting with art direction. Her dedication keeps our graphics department on track and ensures our processes are efficient and business-ready. Dana’s knack for creating identity systems has resulted in some of our most recognized work. And, if you’re fortunate enough to listen in, she’s consistently voted the best playlist in the studio.

NMCO Studio member

Dawn Franco

Studio Manager

With a background in journalism, file archival and organization, Dawn is our client onboarding extraordinaire. From contract preparation, to project management, account direction, and reporting, Dawn stirs the pot for most productions, making sure it’s served hot and on time.

NMCO Studio Co founder, Lucky

Lucky Gonzalez

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

When you have a wealth of creative content, you need someone like Lucky with 18 years of business experience to guide you on where to put it. He’s our media placement guru, with the expertise and know-how to maximize your impact. Whether it’s digital banner ads or broadcast TV, Lucky can take any budget and transform it into impressions and conversions. He’s dedicated to finding solutions for your unique challenges, making him an invaluable asset to our team.

NMCO Studio member, Tina

Christina Ballew

Founder & Chief Creative Officer

Tina, as a co-founder of NMCO, has been on a relentless mission to redefine creative services in the southwest. Building a creative studio from the ground up was a formidable challenge, but her vision and determination have transformed NMCO into a beacon of professionalism and innovation, known for its people-centric approach and out-of-the-box thinking. While she’s taken on nearly every role in the studio, Tina’s next ambition is nothing short of global. She’s poised to take on the world with her creative endeavors.