Product Spotlight: Space Travel Posters

By Curious Ostrich
on September 17, 2018

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The Grand Tour - A Once in a Lifetime Getaway

As of September 14, 2018 at 5:00 PM EST life as we know it is confined to the Planet Earth.  The amount of time during which this remains the case seems to be decreasing rapidly, however.  Elon Musk has announced plans to colonize Mars in the near future, NASA is testing new types of rocket propulsion, and the term "habitable" becomes broader and broader with each new technological innovation.  History has shown repeatedly that to mobilize people towards new horizons requires large groups of people getting excited about an idea.  Look no further than the WWII war effort in the U.S. to see how people can be motivated towards an end by sharing a common goal.  It is with these old-timey posters in mind that we look to inspire future generations to explore the universe. 

Starting communities on Mars will only be possible when we collectively stop thinking of it as science fiction and begin to believe that it is science future.  We'll need teachers, explorers, technicians, and farmers.  It's really not that far off, and plenty of resources have already been devoted to the effort.  Mars may be our first interplanetary stop (after the moon, of course), but why stop there?  Soon we'll be swimming around on Europa, floating in the clouds on Venus, and sailing the wide hydrocarbon seas of Titan.  Our grandchildren will take their children on family trips to see the geysers of Enceladus every summer until they are old enough to party on PSO J318.5-22 for spring break. 

Exotic will become the new normal, and intragalactic travel will be as simple as booking a flight and showing up at the spaceport 3 hours early to get through security.  Students will take field trips to Kepler-16b to study binary star systems, and sports teams will train under the intense gravity on HD 40307g.  The first step towards this grand future begins here on Earth, where the air is free and breathing is easy.  First we have to get excited about this future, and just like during World War II, the best way to do it is with posters, so head over to our Space Travel collection and let the inspiration pop right out of your walls. 

War Effort

By Curious Ostrich
on September 14, 2018

For those of us born in the USA within the last 70 years, we've never seen what a real war effort looks like.  We know what propaganda looks like, and we may be familiar with the military industrial complex, but we don't know what it means to make lifestyle sacrifices for the greater good of the country.  Those of us who remember World War II (and to a lesser extent those who have studied it) know what war effort looks like.  It's hard for people who didn't experience World War II's war effort to even imagine a cause that could unite everyone regardless of religion, social class, or political inclination.  However, due in large part to major media campaigns, U.S. citizens were willing to give up a little here and there to help the collective fight, and it may have made all the difference.  By 1945, these motivational and instructional posters were seen everywhere; from offices to factories, subway stations to schools, reminding the populace that there was a war to be won and that going the extra mile on the homefront had a direct impact on the battlefield.  Whether a platoon had a plentiful supply of ammunition could be the difference between victory and defeat, and whether they had enough ammunition was heavily determined by factory output, which ultimately came down to individual effort on the part of the factory workers

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The iconic Rosie the Riveter poster

The creators of these posters were always coming up with new catch-phrases to inspire civilians to support the war effort.  Loose lips might sink ships has stood the test of time better than some others, but there were many others, such as Back up our Battleskies and Only a Shickelgruber....  Other posters warned of the dangers of carelessness, the importance of avoiding accidents, and even the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases (then known collectively as Venereal Disease or V.D.)  It's hard to imagine how practicing safe sex could contribute to the war effort, but when medical resources are scarce you might be using antibiotics that could have been used for soldiers.

Though you may have been under the impression that World War II was a clear-cut victory for the Allied Forces, many historians argue that it could have gone the other way and that perhaps the nationwide war effort was one of the deciding factors in the war that defined a generation.  So be thankful that you're not speaking German today, and buy a vintage, war effort poster today.  It would do you some good to be reminded that your actions have consequences beyond those which you experience. 

 

(Note: All of our posters our reproductions.  We do not sell original posters from World War II.)

Vintage Ads

By Curious Ostrich
on September 07, 2018

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Visit the Zoo

Dictionary.com defines nostalgia as "a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life...a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time"  What this definition leaves out is the warm, fuzzy feeling of being transported to a comfortable place.  As with any description of an emotional state, words just can't properly capture the feeling.  Maybe with enough words you could come close, but you would need a lot of them.  If you described the feeling of nostalgia using one thousand words, then perhaps you could come close, but in 2018 no one has time for that.  If only there were some form of communication could convey the same feeling as one thousand words just by looking at it...

Oh right...pictures!  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so perhaps with the right pictures one can experience nostalgia without reading a book.  You could just hang a poster of a vintage advertisement on your wall and experience nostalgia every time you look at it.  You know what you never see hanging on someone's wall?  One thousand words.  Just take a look at this vintage ad for Robette Absinthe.  The image conjures varying degrees of nostalgia for different people, but it's not because everyone has fond memories of drinking absinthe.  In fact, if you've ever drank absinthe you know that you're lucky if you have any memories of it at all, fond or otherwise.  You don't need to have visited Venice to derive a little serenity from this vintage travel poster.  You don't need to have been to Santa Margherita to enjoy a few seconds of peace when you take a break from staring at screens all day.  Just because you weren't alive at the time doesn't mean you can't vicariously reminisce about a time when a leading publication was priced at five cents an issue.  Instead of wondering why anyone would be riding a bomb into the water Dr. Strangelove style, just let this old recruitment ad for the Navy bring you back.  It's not what's being advertised that's important but being taken back to a simpler time as this ad for the sun demonstrates. 

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Ride a Stearns and be content

You know what you don't see in these ads?  Fine print, terms and conditions, health warnings, etc.  "Ride a Stearns and be content" is all you need to know.  Bike = happy.  With nine hundred and ninety four words left unused, this ad is a nostalgia-inducing powerhouse.  So go peruse our Vintage Ads collection, where you can be taken back to a simpler time (when it was perfectly normal for a clothed man to peddle hookahs to nude bathers).  Maybe instead of a window to the hectic world outside, what you need is a poster of a vintage ad to serve as a window through time. 

Labor Day

By Curious Ostrich
on September 04, 2018

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Don't take that day off
In honor of Labor Day, everyone at VintPrint is off enjoying the holiday with their families.  If you are stuck at work today (however it seems that you are rebelling at least a little bit since you are here reading this blog) then please enjoy this discount code.  Just enter "Unfair20" to receive 20% off your order.  If you came here to read something interesting, here is a brief history of Labor Day.  My hope here is that you will become so upset about having to work on what is essentially a holiday dedicated to not working that you will feel like you need some kind of recompense.  What better way to make yourself feel better than to buy a discounted poster to brighten up your office?  Since your job obviously sucks, you might as well make it a little better by customizing your space. Happy Labor Day!

Product Spotlight: Hubble Ultra Deep Field

By Curious Ostrich
on August 31, 2018

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Hubble Ultra Deep Field

What's the big deal?  It's just a picture of some galaxies.  VintPrint has lots of similar images in our Astronomy collection.  What's so special about this image?  Well, let me illustrate the depth of significance captured in this photograph.  On a clear night in an area with little light pollution, you can look up at a seemingly endless array of stars and experience the awe and wonder that has been shared by all of humankind since we first walked on this planet.  It gives you a sense of scale that you often overlook in your daily life, that these little dots in the sky are all suns much like ours.  Here we are, tiny creatures on a small planet orbiting a small star in the Milky Way Galaxy, yet we so easily forget our cosmic irrelevance.  As we began to discover more about our planetary neighbors, and starting building telescopes which allowed us to see beyond the edges of our solar system we began to see how vast this universe really is.  We'd barely begun examining our own galaxy before realizing that there are many more galaxies out there. Galaxies which are full of stars, black holes, planets, moons, and plenty of other things that we have yet to discover and name. 

It seems that for everything we learn, there is far more that we do not yet know.  It is this axiom that is perfectly represented by the image you see above.  The Hubble Ultra Deep Field spans billions of light years and captures over 10,000 galaxies; each as vast as our own Milky Way.  The light escaping these galaxies has traveled in some cases for a billion years to reach us.  This image is a small glimpse into the vastness of space and time.  It was not simply a snapshot taken at one point in time. This photograph took months to complete with a total of 11.3 days of exposure. The sophistication of the technology used to capture this image along with the precise timing necessary to capture 800 exposures over 400 orbits around Earth is but a drop in the ocean of universal discovery.   This is not a panoramic shot; the image is focused on an area of space roughly equal to 10 percent of the diameter of the moon.  We are surrounded in all directions by this quantity and diversity of galaxies.  If you felt small looking at an endless field of stars, how does it feel to be surrounded by an endless field of galaxies? 

Hawaii

By Curious Ostrich
on August 24, 2018

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Aerial view of Honolulu Hawaii

Considered by many to be paradise on Earth, Hawaii conjures images of pristine beaches, beautiful sunsets, and palm trees.  While the youngest U.S. state is certainly replete with beautiful scenery, life is not always perfect there.  As a result of being a remote chain of islands in the Pacific, most everyday goods must be imported which makes nearly everything more expensive than items in the mainland U.S.  While most geologists agree that it is unlikely for there to be a large volcanic eruption in the near future, there are ominous reminders that the islands are volcanic in nature, and the landscape is constantly changing. 

Let's not forget either that Hawaii is home to one of the worst attacks on U.S. soil in American history.  What was once considered an untouchable military base was attacked on December 7, 1941 by Japan, effectively drawing the United States into World War II.  This surprise attack was devastatingly effective, and ultimately led to the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan by the U.S. in an unprecedented show of force.  The attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequent war with Japan fostered a great deal of anti-Japanese sentiment which, at its height, resulted in the internment of Japanese-Americans within the U.S.

Hawaii's history is not all doom and gloom, however.  Far from it, in fact.  Hawaii has a booming tourism industry for good reason.  Beautiful mountain landscapes, waterfalls, and black sand beaches are just a few of the attractions that draw people from all over the world.  Hilo, one of the state's larger cities, is heaven on Earth for lovers of orchids.  (Hilo, if you are reading this, you should probably contact the Nixon estate, as they may have the key to your city.)  In conclusion, you should definitely visit Hawaii if you are able to (here is a map for planning purposes).  If not, or even if you do, you should definitely buy a Hawaii poster from VintPrint, so you can live the beach life in your home or office. 

Satellite Imagery

By Curious Ostrich
on August 20, 2018

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Arabian desert or masterful brushstroke?

A literal interpretation would define satellite imagery as any image captured by a satellite-mounted device regardless of its content, but people are usually referring to images of Earth when they use the term.  As soon as we figured out how to put satellites in orbit we started strapping cameras to them and taking selfies.  Satellite imagery has endless uses, from studying geological features to military strategy, to helping you get literally anywhere, but here at VintPrint we see these images as works of art.  That's why you won't find a collection called "satellite imagery" on our website.  You'll find our satellite images in the Earth as Art collection under the "Photos" heading.

If you were teaching a geology class, you could certainly use these images to illustrate the wind patterns that cause dunes in the desert, the sediment flow patterns that result in alluvial fans, the meandering streams that cause elaborate river deltas, the way in which rainfall carves fjords out of coastal mountains, the seasonal conditions necessary for ephemeral streams to exist, the type of volcanic activity that leaves behind Richat structures, the movement of glaciers, or the types of tectonic shifts that result in some of the world's largest mountains.  Of course you need not understand the mechanisms behind these features to admire their beauty. 

Natural formations are not the only subjects which produce striking images through extra-planetary lenses.  This image of agricultural practices in Kansas resembles the digital camouflage patterns used by the U.S. military.  Sometimes beauty can be found in the unlikeliest of places.  Who could have predicted that the deforestation of the Amazon rain forest could be the subject of such a stunning image.  Other images owe their compelling qualities not to the activities of mankind but to the symbolism ascribed to them by us.  If you'd like to impress someone today, try to shape a conversational context into which you can fit the word pareidolia as I have done here.  Your target will be just as impressed with you as you are with me.  This image of a lake that looks like a dragon is an example of pareidolia, as is this image of the so-called Dardzha monster

In other instances it is the abstract nature of the image that captivates the eye such as this image of the Syrian desert or this image of the Von Karman vortices, both of which resemble psychedelic Rorschach tests.  What do you see in this image of a Siberian river? What do you make of the philosophical undertones of The Optimist? You don't need to be a psychologist (or a geologist) to appreciate the beauty of satellite imagery.  These images evoke the same serene feeling one gets when looking out over a scenic mountain view.  The only difference is that when viewing these photos we are standing atop the world's tallest mountain: human technological achievement. 

Product Spotlight: The Annuncitation - Henry Ossawa Tanner

By Curious Ostrich
on August 17, 2018

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The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner

Though generally considered a realist, Henry Ossawa Tanner cannot properly be contained within one painting style.  Some of his works certainly fit the realism bill as they succeed in capturing features and colors as they would appear to a witness of the scene, while others exist outside the realm of realism; seeking to capture the emotional experience rather than a true, visual representation.  Portrait of the Artist's Mother serves as a fine example of the former, while The Good Sheppard shows the latter.  The contrast between these paintings showcase Tanner's range quite impressively, but the greatest awe is to be found in his ability to mesh these techniques within a single work. 

The Annunciation displays a realistic, young Virgin Mary being confronted by a rather impressionistic representation of an inherently abstract concept: the Archangel Gabriel.  Many artists have depicted Gabriel in a more recognizable form, such as Caravaggio, El Greco, and Joos van Cleve.  Each of these artists paint Gabriel in human form while making his angelic status obvious through the addition of large wings.  Despite his undoubted ability to portray Gabriel similarly, Tanner shows the angel as a frightened Mary would likely have perceived him: dissimilar to any being she had ever confronted and with a presence that illuminates the room.  Gabriel appears here simply as a pillar of light, yet Mary appears more frightened of Gabriel's message than of his appearance.  Mary's detailed and realistic appearance in contrast to Gabriel's abstract form is a testament to Tanner's range and perfectly represents the contextually appropriate dichotomy of the scene. 

Henry Ossawa Tanner was indisputably talented; so much so that he was able to break through racial barriers that would hold other African-American artists back for generations.  Generally, his popularity pales in comparison to that of Giordano, Caravaggio, and El Greco, yet his depiction of The Annunciation is one of the most sought after representations of the scene.  It has remained our best-selling poster across all categories for quite some time, and it will surely continue to inspire people for generations to come. 

Bridges: When you're here, but you need to be there

By Curious Ostrich
on August 13, 2018

It’s easy to take transportation infrastructure for granted. You need to get from Baltimore to New York, and all you have to worry about are tolls, gas, and overzealous State Troopers. Just a few hours in a car, bus or train, and you’re there. Blink and you miss the Susquehanna, Delaware, and Hudson Rivers. But it wasn’t that long ago that crossing these rivers was a major ordeal. Travel plans would need to include pinpointing the best place to cross the river and preparing the means to do so. There’s a reason why Washington's crossing of the Delaware is a famous point in the Revolutionary War’s timeline, and it’s not because there was epic rush hour traffic.

We pay them little mind, but bridges are what hold our society together. That poster you just ordered (wink wink) will be crossing several bridges on its way to your doorstep, so when your beautiful print arrives, take a moment to thank all of the bridges that got it from our facility in Westminster, MD to your wall. 

If you really want to show your appreciation for bridges, you could start by learning about how many bridges in the U.S.A. are literally falling apart.  The best way to remedy this tragic situation is also the most obvious: buy posters of awesome bridges.  You may be wondering how exactly this will improve the infrastructure situation, so here is a quick breakdown of how it works. 

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The Chesapeake Bay Bridge, officially the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge

 

Step 1: Buy a poster of an amazing, underappreciated bridge

Step 2: ???

Step 3: Crumbling infrastructure has been repaired. 

 

Simple, right?  Now that you understand how you can help, make sure to do your part in making transit safer by purchasing a beautiful, high resolution poster of an iconic bridge.  If you really want to make a dramatic difference, try purchasing a poster of the construction of a bridge.  That way, according to the infallible logic shown above, you will be making an even bigger, positive impact on the nation's infrastructure.  Don't buy a poster for your wall, or even for yourself; buy a poster for bridges everywhere...they deserve it.

Artist Spotlight: John Singer Sargent

By Curious Ostrich
on August 10, 2018

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Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose

Though his talent spanned many subjects, John Singer Sargent is best known for his portraits.  His work was viewed positively by critics and aficionados during his lifetime, and he was often sought out by famous individuals who wanted their portrait painted.  Perhaps the most famous of these individuals was U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, for whom Sargent painted the official presidential portrait which can be viewed here.  Also among his most well known portraits is the classic painting Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (shown here on the left).  This colorful oil painting was such an instant hit that it was immediately bought by the Tate Gallery making it Sargent's first painting to be found in a gallery.  Only a year before painting Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, Sargent's confidence had led him to push the boundaries a bit further than the art community was ready to accept at the time. 

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Portrait of Madame X

In 1884, John Singer Sargent painted the highly controversial Portrait of Madame X (shown here on the left) leading to an irreversible turning point in Singer's career.  Originally featuring a dress strap which fell off the shoulder, Singer had gone too far and, after the near-universal, negative reaction to the portrait, changed the painting to the version you see here.  Though he intended to maintain the anonymity of his subject, the famous socialite Virginie Gautreau was easily identified.  Despite both the painter and the model anticipating that their collaboration would thrust them both into the upper echelons of Parisian high-society, their plan backfired spectacularly.  Gautreau, who was well known at the time for her beauty and (alleged) infidelities to her husband, was disgraced by the ordeal, but for Sargent it was nearly a career-killer.  Staunchly disagreeing with his critics, Sargent would later refer to Portait of Madame X as "the best thing I have done." 

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Cliffs at Deir el Bahri Egypt

After the Madame X controversy, John Singer Sargent moved to London and relieved himself of what he considered to be the strict, confining rules of portraiture.  He would continue to paint portraits as commissioned, but his whims led him to experiment with landscape scenes from beautiful locations in every corner of the world.  He also shifted away from oil-on-canvas in favor of watercolors.  The resounding failure of Portrait of Madame X was for the most part confined to Paris, and he was able to continue his career in London.  Towards the end of his life he co-founded the Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City.  He was active there until his death in 1925 from heart disease.  View our John Singer Sargent collection here