Artist Sean Michael Chavez Creates Vintage Travel Poster for Oldest House

Sean Michael Chavez often finds himself with a foot in two worlds. From his work as a fine art painter and as a graphic designer, he’s finding an appreciative audience everywhere he steps.

At the Oldest House Indian Shop, Chavez’s Oldest House poster is a new favorite. The vintage-style image reflecting the traditional travel posters of the 1930s and ’40s was created by Chavez through his position as a graphic artist at Studio Hill Design in Albuquerque.

“We wanted to make something quite different for Santa Fe,” Chavez said. “Referencing vintage travel posters and reflecting the feel of the great American travel legacy, we worked to a portray the history of New Mexico and its past and acknowledge our present as well.”

To produce the subtle shadow detail in the poster, Chavez created a 3D computer model to see day-by-day and hour-by-hour how the shadows in the scene change throughout the year. The poster image captures the sun at a low point in the south, around January or February, Chavez said.

“The shadow of the cross from the Oldest Church across the street is a great secondary discovery in the illustration,” Chavez added, although he admits that it presents better in the 3D model than in real time. “We took some artistic license there.”

Chavez has spent 20 years of his career in graphic design with Studio Hill Design, a downtown Albuquerque firm creating authentic brand experiences, including logo design, website design, signage and vehicle graphics, print materials, advertising and interior branding. He came to graphic design from his interest in fine art. He realized it was a realistic way to pursue art and immediately pay the bills, but fine art continued to call to him. About four years ago, he decided it was time to get back to his roots and he began to seriously pursue oil painting.

His images of the Southwest’s landscapes and people have been described a cross between Ed Mell’s angular deserts and skies and Logan Maxwell Hagege’s modern take on the Southwest.

Acosta-Strong Fine Art in Santa Fe will debut Chavez in an opening titled “REVELATION” on April 18 – 29, 2019. The general opening reception will be held April 19 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“I’m honored, and grateful to Acosta-Strong, to be showing in the same gallery with some of the Taos Masters and Santa Fe Cinco Pintores — the artists responsible for making Santa Fe and New Mexico the art destination that it is today,” Chavez said. “It’s a gallery I had been going into for years saying, this is where I want to be some day. It’s a dream come true.”

See history first hand at the Oldest House at 215 East De Vargas St. in Santa Fe. Or visit the Oldest House Indian Shop on line at Reach the shop by phone at 505-988-2488.

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