Art of the County
Marc Keelan-Bishop continues his humorous poster series
If you live in Wellington, you may have been feeling a little snubbed by Marc Keelan- Bishop’s travel poster series, which premiered in last year’s Art in the County. The colourful series, reminiscent of travel posters from the ‘50s, depicts, among other places, Picton, Bloomfield and Point Petre. But Wellington was nowhere to be seen.
It’s nothing personal. Marc will assure you it has more to do with the birth of his twins, the family’s third and fourth children, than with a disregard for the village. A Wellington poster has now been designed, along with one for the Sandbanks. Both will be entered in this year’s Art in the County. He’s currently working on a poster for Hillier.
Although Marc began his career studying journalism at La Cité collégiale in Ottawa, illustration suits him much better.
“We had eight kids in our family. I think drawing was cheap, probably, and mom’s pretty artsy. My dad does woodwork. All my siblings do some sort of art,” says Marc. He recalls art lessons as early as four years old. “I always liked it.”
Marc was the go-to guy in grade school for drawing. He would devise entire productions for posters and cards; complete with logos.
After school, he got a job with TFO, assigned to explore the brand new world of websites. He would review sites for the Franco-Ontarian network in a television column. Eventually, he began designing educational websites for kids.
He also worked for TG Magazine, a now-defunct multiculturalism magazine for and by students, part of The Student’s Commission. It was there, helping high school students develop a website for the magazine, that Marc began his career with computer illustration.
“I got to really train young journalists. A lot of them are still journalists, or editors at Scholastic,” says Marc. “We would need graphics for their websites when we were still figuring out what a graphic for a website should be. And so I just started drawing on my computer to fill in for the internet.”
When he began with computer graphics, Adobe Illustrator was a brand new program for designers. He had training in neither graphic design nor computer illustration. Everything was new. As the program became more advanced, so did he.
Today, Marc has a prolific career, illustrating children’s books and websites and creating infographics and promotional posters for County organizations. This year, as a tribute to his Franco-Ontarian heritage, he is commemorating the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s visit to Huronia by creating a series of posters of Franco-Ontarian rebels.
Marc prefers the computer as a medium for his artwork.
“I always like really clean—like silkscreen art. Which inspired this project,” he says. “And I could never achieve that with paint. I was a terrible painter. I didn’t have the patience to get the brushstrokes perfect, but I wanted perfection. I wasn’t into doing something impressionist that was blurry or rough.”
A County resident for seven years, Marc says this is the first time he’s done a series about the place where he lives.
“I try not to be symbolic of the places,” says Marc. “I try to just kind of let inspiration hit. Because if I worried too much about picking a thing that encompasses that place, it would have to either be too many things all in one poster, or everyone would be upset.”
You can see the Wellington poster, along with all of Marc’s County posters, at www.countyposters.com