The Vintage Travel Poster
We have all seen them, the ubiquitous travel poster. They beckon us suggestively to visit somewhere at home, or abroad, on a train, a jet or a liner, to some wonderful place, where the sun is always shining and people all look happy.
'Colwyn Bay' by George Ayling - LMS Railway Series
The now vintage posters started in the 1930s and hit their zenith around the 1950s and 60s; they advertised travel and most of them were commissioned by the rail, ferry, cruise and airlines themselves. The rail posters were probably the most widely used, produced in a standard format to fit the display cases inside rail stations, representing shopping trips to cities, holiday resorts and weekend getaways.
'Montreux-Berner Oberland' by Edouard Elzingre (1880-1996)
Although I am not generally interested in the idea of 'vintage', particularly when it comes to recycling an old idea, just as it was, I think there is something to these travel posters which is worth capturing. The dream of escape from what may seem to be a humdrum existence is as powerful now as it always was. The light, the colour, the optimism. The promise of a better life, for however short a period. The possibility of an adventure.
'British Airways - Wings Over the World' from Mary Evans Picture Library Ltd
So, I set myself the task of taking some of the places I have been lucky enough to visit and paint an image which is how I see it in my mind. I don’t generally look to make a hackneyed image of the most famous buildings or sights, with the exception of one or two, whose whole existence as a destination is predicated on a certain view.
Naples, Florida and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jonny Church 2020
I have also tried to update the type of image to make a vibrant new style of travel art; keeping the strong flat colours, but simplifying the lines and tones and sticking to a simple text, just as a label, rather than an advertisement. I hope that the era of the travel poster is still with us, just updated and ready for a new set of walls. As a single print, a series or a grouping, no-one need be stuck for wall- art ideas again.
See my full collection of contemporary travel posters here