By Chris Reynolds
Eroica California has always had an eye towards the culture and art of cycling. The 2017 event welcomed artist Miguel Soro Garcia, who discussed the inspiration and methods for his cycling inspired paintings. Eroica also featured collector Elizabeth Norris, displaying her collection of vintage posters. Both artists held court at Studios on the Park, showcasing their work and engaging with the assembled cyclist and gallery visitors. The art gallery and educational center is located in downtown Paso Robles, the festival center for Eroica California. Next time you find yourself in the iconic California city, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, stop in and view the ever-changing artists featured.
Art Inspired by Bicycle Racing Experience
Miguel Soro Garcia is a Spanish artist who raced professionally in the early 2000’s, retiring in 2003. He now uses that experience to create inspired pieces of mixed-media art. He uses acrylic and oil paints over a collage of old cycling magazines depicting the legends, stories and heroes of our sport and the racing lifestyle. Beyond the historic significance of the depicted subjects, the use of cycling magazines captures a moment in time unique to each canvas, helping to further Soro Garcia’s artistic intentions.
Vintage European Posters, A Tradition of Artistry
Elizabeth Norris has been collecting posters since 1997, traveling across Europe to amass a collection of more than 2,500 unique posters, both vintage (over 20 years) and antique (over 100 years) old. Like many collectibles, the value comes from scarcity, and because the posters were intended to be hung in train stations, an on the sides of buildings, few were kept and even fewer well-preserved.
Part of the collecting process is the preservation of the posters and VEPCA, the organization that Norris founded, works to preserve the original fragile and brittle papers. All of their posters are linen-backed during the conservation process, in which posters are washed to de-acidify the paper and then mounted on a heavy backing using an acid free paste.
Norris led a talk about the heritage of the posters, while assistants helped display the large format pieces. We watched as she flipped through more than 300 of the European posters she brought to display and learned about the artists and printers who created the large posters, some more than 7 feet tall.
The full collection can be viewed here and all pieces are available for purchase. You can also visit the VEPCA showroom in Berkeley, open on Tuesdays www.vepca.com