Seraphim Ultralight (Small Billboard) 12 x 24, Acrylic, Oct., 2012
Seraphim Ultralight (Large Billboard) 20 x 30, Acrylic, Oct., 2012
About ten years ago I was working with pulp art themes and hit upon the idea of creating faux advertising posters. Recently, I decided to reexamine the concept and revisit the genre after seeing a wonderful exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum of advertising posters created in France, circa 1890's. I thought I would invent a product and then devise a poster for it. The first experiment is the top painting for a fictitious ultralight aircraft, the Seraphim made by the Hollister Aircraft Company. (Since seraphim is actually plural, perhaps it should be seraph, but seraphim sounded better. The name Hollister was chosen because I am descended a couple times from the Hollister family that settled in early New England -- distinguished folks, more than one a militia leader) Not quite satisfied with the result, I concluded that it was better to work in a wide rather than a tall format and to create a billboard rather than a poster. Art posters are no longer an existent art form, but the billboard is still with us and though usually not terribly artistic, it could be. Billboards are generally 1 x 2 in format so I created a work in the largest size possible in standard frame sizes, 12 x 24. Unfortunately, I really found it too small to work with and that extreme width just doesn't work with a painting even if it's great for an outdoor billboard. Thus, after executing two Seraphim Ultralight paintings, I had to satisfy myself and do a third, this time in the more congenial 20 x 30 size. This is something I have rarely done before, multiple attempts at a painting, but I felt I had to see the idea through. The advertising billboard a somewhat difficult genre, not in execution, but in composition. Even if the picture idea is effective, the placement of the elements, especially the writing needs to be really well thought out to compelling state a message as well as to create an attractive and interesting picture It's also a challenge to do a decent job with the lettering. (I choose a font, print up the text, position it, trace it, then paint it with a stub brush or needle.) I have many further ideas for advertising billboard paintings and hope to get to them at a later date, although currently I am pursuing another genre.
More of my work can be seen at www.stephenwardeanderson.com
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