2020 Winter Carnival poster revealed
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Since 2016, every Winter Carnival has been encapsulated, shared and memorialized in the form of a poster, each created by a different local artist in their own medium and style.
The 2020 poster designer is glass artist Jennifer Baker.
“It feels a little surreal,” Baker said.
The Winter Carnival Poster program was created and is sponsored by Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty. When a Sotheby’s representative was browsing through pieces at Pine Moon Fine Art in 2019, Baker’s shining, colorful glasswork caught her eye. From there, conversations about the next Winter Carnival poster began.
Baker had been working in many artistic mediums for decades, particularly the more tactile ones. On her route between her home and pottery studio in Ohio, she’d pass a glass studio, and the idea of trying glasswork grew in the back of her mind. Around 2005, she gave it a go.
“Once I started working in glass, I couldn’t do anything else,” Baker said. “I’m fascinated by everything you can do with it.”
Several years later, Baker and her family moved to Steamboat Springs, where Baker found herself increasingly inspired by local nature, seen in her pieces depicting landscapes, trees, flowers and wildlife.
As a glass artist, Baker is largely self-taught, which was both frustrating and a force to create her own style, she said. And it worked.
Baker started tinkering with glass for her own artistic enjoyment and exploration, but interest in her work grew, and she was eventually able to make glasswork her career. Baker’s work can be found at Pine Moon Fine Art, as well as the Steamboat Art Museum gift shop, Gallery 89 and The Laundry. Print versions of her work hang at Alpine Bank.
While Baker has had her glass work photographed and transformed into prints before, this was the first time she’s created a poster.
“I was excited, as an artist, to really go outside of my comfort zone and do something different,” she said.
In the process of making the art that would eventually be the poster, Baker started with her memories of the Winter Carnivals she’s experienced.
“I thought about what Winter Carnival means to me,” she said. “It’s something we’ve gone to every year since we’ve gotten to town, and every year, we take my daughter there.
“It’s very family-oriented, and it celebrates the (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club) athletes and the town we live in. It’s a reminder of, ‘Wow, we live in this super cool community,’” Baker added.
Next, Baker strolled around Howelsen Hill with a sketchbook and pencil, imagining the elements to incorporate in the piece and considering how people would identify with various Winter Carnival ingredients.
“I took the view of looking up from the landing area of the ski jumping, with the tow house right there, and the fireworks coming down,” Baker said. “I wanted to make it colorful and bright and reflective of what the night really is.”
A sheet of glass — 18 inches wide, 24 inches tall — functioned as Baker’s canvas, and on it, she lightly sketched her design to outline the placement of what would come next. She colored in a multicolored night sky of navy and purples and an expanse of light-colored skill hills and added a forest of whimsical evergreen trees thriving at the tops.
Wanting to define and emphasize the tow house, complete with its gables, Baker created the little brown building as a separate piece, then layered it into the larger glass sheet. She formed some of the fireworks separately, as well — holding the glass over a torch until it was molten, then pulling the bits thinner, then embedding them into the larger piece. The effect is that the fireworks seem to never quite sit still, always in motion in their explosions and their rainbows of color.
“I’m always thinking, ‘How will this (item) translate the best? How can I make these layers pop?’” Baker said.
Finally, it was time for the top-most layer, the one that appears closest to the viewer — a rush of snowflakes, each built as a unique, six-pointed shape.
“I just love it when there are a few snowflakes with the fireworks — it’s so magical,” Baker said. “I wanted (the piece) to feel like you’re standing right there, and the snowflakes are sort of dancing right in front of you.”
The piece is called “Light Up the Night.”
Baker worked with Tim Murphy to photograph the glasswork, and with Joel Schulman to add the finishing touch of text to the image and make giclee prints. Schulman suggested a font emulating painted lettering, with a slightly 3D effect, to complement the snowflakes.
“(Designing the poster) has been such a great experience,” Baker said. “My daughter said, ‘Mom, you’re part of Winter Carnival history now.’”
The original glasswork will be up for auction at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s “All In!” event Friday, Dec. 6, at Three Peaks Grill, 2165 Pine Grove Road. A number of limited-edition, signed, numbered and framed giclee prints will also be available at the auction and for purchase at Steamboat Sotheby’s.
Poster prints are currently available for purchase at wintercarnivalsteamboat.com and at the main Steamboat Sotheby’s office at 610 Marketplace Plaza. They’ll eventually be available for purchase at Lyon Drug, Off the Beaten Path, Pine Moon Fine Art and all other Steamboat Sotheby’s offices.
The glasswork the poster is based on is currently on display at the downtown Sotheby’s office at 56 Ninth St.
One-hundred percent of proceeds from the auction and print and poster sales supports the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. In past years, sales have brought in about $20,000 annually.
Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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