|Intl. Notebook||Jul 11 2012|
We were so inspired by our time in the Basque town of Pamplona (you may remember we went there before) that today we decided to share some vintage posters celebrating las ferias y fiestas de San Fermín. We watched the encierro, i.e. running, from a first floor balcony on Calle Estafeta, and that’s about as good as it gets, as our photo above shows. As far as the actual bullfights go, we didn't see any. Not that we're opposed. We've been to several over the years and came away with some intense feelings, mostly of sympathy for the animals. But since it isn't our culture, we don't take a stance on the practice's merits or evils. What we do take a stance on is the art of the festival, some of which we've uploaded below. The collection encompasses varying styles of graphic design, but through all the shifts the posters retained an extremely high level of quality for about fifty years. That golden period was followed by an all too typical abandonment of painterly skill, which was replaced in the 1960s by photography, and later by yawn-inducing InDesign and Photoshop technicianship. For that reason, the posters made during the 1970s and forward compare very unfavorably to the early pieces. While the artistic skill to produce great posters is undoubtedly still out there, such art might be more expensive than desktop design, which means that, as in nearly all areas of modern life, a focus on the bottom line tilts the landscape toward mediocrity. But let's not worry about that. The posters below are glorious, just like the long nights and crazy days of San Fermin.