Combining a passion for classic, illustrated travel posters and vintage Americana advertising art, Joel Anderson and his team of artists are canvasing the United States with images of heritage, nostalgia and local pride.
The collection is called the Art & Soul of America, and the series has more than 50 designs – and 30 or 40 more in the works – that celebrate travel destinations of our great country. The project in essence began in Nashville a few years back when Joel created a line of locally themed poster art so his graphic design clients from New York and Los Angeles could get a better understanding of Music City’s history and charm. That series grew to more than 100 Nashville-inspired prints, followed by requests to expand to other American cities and national parks.
From Martha’s Vineyard to Yosemite National Park to Charleston, the classic pop art posters pay homage to the aesthetic of the old WPA posters. “Good design never goes out of style,” says Joel. “It communicates on an emotional level, and evokes a reaction. I feel like the art we produce at Anderson Design Group fits that description. It might even be somewhat of a Nashville style — classic, casual, authentic, hand-rendered, nostalgic and evocative.”
The geography covered by the posters in some way also reflects Joel’s upbringing and personal experience. “I have lived in a lot of places (Denver, Curacao, El Salvador, New York, among others), but as my wife (from France) is now fond of saying, ‘We are not from the South, but we got here as fast as we could.’ The moment I arrived in Nashville, I felt like I was coming home.”
He appreciates his adopted hometown so much that it’s important for him to support the local community by designing and printing all their posters in Nashville.
“To me, Southern style is comfortable and inviting. It is not a fancy red carpet — it’s a well-worn welcome mat. Imperfection is a good, normal and human thing — it proves that we are not overly self-conscious or self-promoting. Southern art and craftsmanship celebrates small-batch, locally grown or made, time-honored, slower-paced, good stuff. It is rooted in relationships, faith and family-centered tradition. I try to design and illustrate that way. I try to live that way, too.”
Art & Soul of America posters are $39 each and available on their website.