Prince Edward County is a beautiful place. I should know, I’m from there. So when I discovered that illustrator Marc Keelan-Bishop had created an original series featuring The County’s fun and historic villages and locations, I had to find out more. I got my hands on a few of the posters. Size-wise, they were bigger than I’d expected, in a good way. Their crisp colours are vibrant, making them pop on my dreary, white walls. The poster paper is thick stock, high quality, so I feel confident hanging them without frames (though I will most likely get them framed to keep them safe). Every time I look at the posters, I see something new, from the beer in the hand of the man on the South Bay poster to the kid on the swing in the background of the Wellington poster.
I reached out to Keelan-Bishop to ask him a few questions about his County Poster illustration series:
What inspired you to start The County poster series?
“As a kid with seven siblings, my family tended to have driving holidays to beach towns or provincial parks, and I’ve always revelled in the romance of holiday locales. There is something magical about these places, as much in the imagination as in real life. They are, at least to a tourist, geared up to pleasure: ice cream! bike rides! wine! beaches! drive-in cinema! As an adult, I get a kick out of living in such a place. It appeals to the romantic kid in me, so I wanted to depict that magic and fun that I find around me in The County.
I started the series in 2012 as an entry to the Art In the County juried art show. Most of the posters have made their début at that show ever since!”
How would you describe the style of the posters? Why did you choose that style?
“I’ve long been a fan of vintage travel posters for exotic places like Monte Carlo or Rome. When searching for a personal project to develop my illustration skills, it hit me that I was living IN an exotic locale. I love the idea of presenting a place in a romantic way, often with some humour. The illustration style is crisp and bright. A lot of the posters I’m inspired by used silkscreens to create huge swaths of colour and I’m definitely influenced by that, but because I draw digitally, I can include a lot more detail and colour than would be possible in a traditional silk screen.”
What goes into choosing your designs?
“I look for something that is very specific and offers an opportunity to tell a bit of a story, a moment. I tend to bounce around with an idea for a few months and then quickly illustrate it once I’ve got it all figured out in my head.”
Keelan-Bishop has lived in The County for eight years, but his familiarity with the area dates back to childhood trips to and through the area with his family. Since starting the series in 2012, he has created 11 different posters – Consecon, South Bay, Hillier, Wellington, Sandbanks Provincial Park, Lake on the Mountain, Point Petre, Mountain View, Black River, Bloomfield and Picton. He hopes to create five more, “tapping out at 16”, according to him. “Next up will probably be Waupoos Island, though I have some ideas bubbling for Lakeshore Lodge and Carrying Place. I’d love to do Cherry Valley if only for the romantic name.”
The posters are available in two sizes: Medium (11” x 17”) prints and Large (20” x 30”) limited edition prints, signed and framed. They’re sold in stores across The County – check out this link to find out where you can pick up a poster of your very own.