Posters—the wallpaper of our youth. Whether purchased in rolled tubes from the local Wal-Mart or liberated from the center of Tiger Beat magazine, attaching images of favorite bands, actors, and movies to bedroom walls with thumbtacks or scotch tape is a time-honored tradition. An impermanent rite of passage from adolescent to young adult, you might say. My own teenage bedroom walls were papered with the likes of Duran Duran, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and pages from a Michael Whelan fantasy art calendar. Those careworn flimsy prints are long gone, but I have a prized collection of posters I’ve collected in my adult years, assembled here so you can learn a bit about me through what I hang on my walls.
Forgive the image quality, odd angles and reflections on these. All my posters are now enclosed in proper poster frames (no more thumbtacks for me!), and it was tricky getting decent shots without pulling them off the walls, which I didn’t want to do. I contortioned to capture shots that didn’t have my face front and center and didn’t include blowouts from nearby lights, though if you look closely, you’ll still see my ghost in some of these.
Without further ado, it’s time to play “Know Me By My: Posters!”
Don’t tell the others, but the oldest posters in my collection—the Texas Renaissance Festival posters above—are my favorites. Signed by poster artist S. Hughes and complete with narrative placards, these richly detailed prints are impossible to find online now. I purchased them at the height of my ren-fair nerd phase (well, the first phase anyway) during their 20th through 22nd years. The TRF is now in its 45th year, and I’m excited at the prospect of attending their golden anniversary in 2024.
These next two sets of posters are almost as dear to me as the TRF ones. New Orleans, and particularly the French Quarter, is one of my favorite American cities. I picked up the two exquisite black and white sketch prints during my first visit in the 90s—a four-day solo stay at the historic Bienville House. I returned a decade later and loved it even more. Cafe au Lait and beignets. Jambalaya and jazz. Ghost tours and fortune tellers on Bourbon Street. It is a truly unique place–and resilient. I’ve not had the opportunity to visit since Hurrican Katrina, but my spouse and I are discussing a trip in the coming year, as he’s never been.
The swanky posters above those come from my two stints as a volunteer at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance auto show in California. The nearby Presidio of Monterey provides a steady and eager supply of young military volunteers for many events in the area, and I was certainly no exception while stationed there for my MOS training.
These three posters reveal my unabashed love for the grandeur and history of lighthouses. I was stationed for three years near the Outer Banks in North Carolina, which only deepened my fondness for all things coastal: lighthouses, seashells, dolphins, the sound of crashing waves and the feel of salt spray on my face. I collected prints, lithographs, statues and shells during my time at the Crystal Coast, including these posters. And yes, I’ve toured many of the lighthouses pictured in the poster on the right. I even climbed Currituck with my two older kiddos, who were only nine and ten at the time…what champs! I highly recommend a tour of the Outer Banks, Cape Fear and Kitty Hawk if ever you find yourself in North Carolina.
The final trio of posters are more recent additions to my collection. The Beach Pulp poster is an artist-signed print of the cover of my first “officially published” story as an author. I love the artwork, and it makes me happy to see this hanging on the wall in my office. The poster in the upper right is a peek at my space-nerd love for all things interstellar and rockets and launches. I actually have seven of these posters altogether; too many to show here. The poster on the bottom right is a gift from a former coworker. His daughter interned with a company who happened to have a stash of these lovely literary geek prints. When I mentioned I wrote stories and books in my spare time, he appropriated one for me. What a lovely gesture!
If you’re not tired yet of learning bits and pieces of my life through my collected junk, then join me next month when I wrap up this series with my final post: KMBM: Books! See you then!