zionI have a new pro-bono project at work for the wonderful folks over at March of Dimes. It’s for their Signature Chef’s Auction, held every year at the beginning of November. The best chefs around the Knoxville area come together to cook their most original, delicious meals. And anyone willing to pay the price for a ticket gets to eat it all. I went last year after doing all of their collateral and it was an absolute blast. If you’re in the area, I highly suggest you go. 

Moving on…

The reason I bring this project up is because the theme they wanted to explore this year is vintage art of the 20s and 30s. One of which is Art Deco–which just happens to be one of my most favorite art periods ever. I was so excited to hear this. And when the meeting was done I couldn’t wait to start researching how exactly I was going to mesh all of these ideas into one–hopefully portfolio-worthy–piece.

I figure I have a few vintage styles to chose from:

1. The Frank Lloyd Wright – vertical lines, geometric shapes. Very rigid and simple. Interesting to note that both Wright and Gustav Klimt created pieces named “The Tree of Life” around the same time. 

2. Art Nouveau – the vintage flair and glamour that I think the client is going for. And it would be quite a challenge to mimic the flowing, thin lines, flat color and ornate frames of the art.

3. The Vintage Travel Poster – Mystic South AfricaSerengetiChamonix-MartignyMont-Blanc and (one of the most recognizable) Normandie. The shading is simple, reminding me of old Looney Tunes. There is also a beautiful texture to these illustrations that I would love to try and re-create.

The style I love most is the vintage travel poster. Cassandre’s Normandie advertisement is my favorite. And while dwelling on these beautiful prints I was reminded of a website that a dear friend showed me once upon a time. This is what this post is really about: Ranger Doug. From his website:

Ranger Doug’s Enterprises was established by me, Doug Leen, in 1993 after the discovery twenty years earlier of the only surviving WPA poster–Grand Teton National Park. Sensing the possibility of a larger collection, my research took me to remote West Virginia where, ten years later, I discovered the remnants of this art collection–13 black and white photos of this series printed between 1938 and 1941. I immediately embarked on a mission to bring these rare posters back into the public domain.

This website has a beautiful showcase of posters portraying the national parks of the United States. And what’s even better is that you can purchase any of them to have in your own home. I still haven’t decided which one I want, but for sure there will be one in my house in the next few weeks.

Since this March of Dimes event takes place in Knoxville (gateway to the Smokies), I really want to try and add a hint of mountains in my design. I’m going to be using these WPA posters as inspiration, as well as the posters listed above. I can’t wait, and I thought I would share this great site with you.

But basically, I wanted to remind everybody how incredibly cool vintage design is. Because it is.