Formerly part of the Bordeaux wine trade and now a full-time poster artist and illustrator, Jean-Pierre Got’s art is imbued with the charm of a by-gone era. Got speaks to Reva K Singh about his work and the special poster she commissioned for the Sommelier India Wine Competition in the interview below. The next edition of the magazine, which will be out soon, has a full page image of the limited edition poster, plus other interesting features. Subscribe today to ensure you receive a copy.
(Right: The SIWC poster, first commission from India by SI – The Wine Magazine)
What do you like about painting posters?
I like giving information about a product with a minimal visual message and a simple, amusing or intriguing image.
How long does it take you to complete a poster?
It varies from a few days to two weeks, as every element of the artwork is hand-painted, including text letterings.Working on a small format leads me to use fine brushes and a magnifying glass.
What kind of paper and paints do you use?
Original artworks are painted on size 8 X 11 inches of A4 Canson paper. I start with a gouache background, adding pastel touches and finishing with a charcoal crayon for outlining figures or enhancing details.
Did you have any formal training in art?
No training at all. By looking at numerous old French posters, I tried to understand what made these old ‘vintage posters’ striking and unique – a limited number of colours, a funny or poetical theme, only one or two characters, an airy composition and a subject that viewers of all ages can understand.
How do you develop your ‘vintage’ layouts?
I like the Art Nouveau style traditionally linked to restaurants and bistros, and also Art Deco of the 1930s for its more elegant and sober layouts. These styles perfectly fit wine subjects. I am also inspired by the humorous posters of the ’60s. My ideals are artists Jules Chéret, Cappiello, Colin, Hergé and Savignac.
How did you select wine as your subject matter?
My formal training was in Wine. Wine is part of the culture of the southwest of France where I was born. Wine has deep religious, cultural and social meanings.Therefore one might find hidden symbolic meanings behind the simple drawing of a poster image.
Do you only create event posters?
Most of the posters I paint are for vineyards and wine brands. Some are for wine events.
Who are your main clients?
Most of my posters have been commissioned, up to now, by California wineries. French Vintage poster style is very popular in the US, where people enjoy both its humour and simplicity. All my poster clients want me to express ‘joie de vivre’ for their product. The Sommelier India Wine Competition is my 90th poster and my first commission from India!
Can you explain your thinking behind our poster’s imagery? How would you describe its style?
The poster for this year’s Sommelier India Wine Competition was painted in the Belle Epoque fashion, using charcoal outlining and old-style lettering on ‘faded’ brown paper.
Vermilion (or sindoor) red is the striking colour that should attract the passers-by’s attention. Black fonts will lead viewers’ eyes from top to bottom for date, location and event subject. The illustration was made to be very simple for an immediate understanding of what’s going on – a Wine Challenge. Inviting mahout and elephant joyfully celebrate their arrival in Mumbai. The wine glasses on the poster are the ‘Bordeaux wine’ type.