For those of you not familiar with the Calgary Stampede, it is an annual exhibition and rodeo with midway rides, nightly fireworks and associated free pancake breakfasts scattered throughout the city (apparently there's an app for finding the breakfast nearest you). For ten days each summer, the city transforms into a strange cowboy and western set: hay bales are public seating, barnwood is tacked up on restaurant doorways, downtown office windows are painted with "yeehaws" and "howdy, partners". Not to mention the fashion: all shades of denim, bandanas, cowboy hats and boots (the more tassels, pattern and snaps the better)—it really aims to be the greatest outdoor show on earth. This year, the Stampede is marking its 100th year. I've lived in Calgary for 20 of them now, so I consider myself a proud Calgarian.
But Stampede is not quite my cup of tea... The Stampede is loud; I'm quiet. Beer tents and drinking is advertised as a featured activity; I don't drink. The midway offers bigger thrill rides; I have a weak stomach. Other than the fireworks and the photographic appeal of the midway at dusk, there's not a lot about Stampede that I can relate to.
I wonder what the early years of Stampede were like... I'd love to attend Stampede 1912 rather than 2012. Thanks to an exhibition in Art Central, I was able to a step back in time with the poster graphics of years gone by.
The exhibition is presented by AXIS Contemporary Art and Quintaro Graphic Reproduction and features digital poster reproductions on various substrates such as metal and rawhide. In addition to the typographic interest of the earliest posters, from a design standpoint it is interesting to see how versatile digital printing technology is. The show gave me lots of ideas of how I could reproduce graphic art and posters.
The posters will be on display until July 20th on the main level of Art Central, Calgary. (UPPERCASE's studio is on the upper level of Art Central.)