Perhaps the most visually stimulating record of student life on campus is our poster collection. These student-made posters tell us a lot – they give us not only an idea of past events on campus, some of which would otherwise go undocumented, but they reveal the culture and visual aesthetic of Oberlin students at a given point in time.
Our most recent accession, a collection of 34 silkscreened event posters gifted by Raphael Martin ‘02, does exactly that. During his four years at Oberlin, from 1998 to 2002, Martin collected these posters, most of which were silkscreened by students of Prof. John Pearson. They present a wide range of visual styles and advertise dances, concerts, art openings, parties, film screenings, speakers, and Oberlin’s Big Parade. Only a few duplicate posters already in our collections; together they represent an important cross-section of posters from the turn of the millennium.
I think the “Scotographs” poster is a particularly cool one. The word itself, popping against the blue, leads my eye back in space towards the guitar, which seems to be exploding riffs outwards through the stripes. The whole poster has a loud, screaming sound to it, and if I saw this poster today hanging in the Mudd stairwell today, I’d definitely go check these photos out.
(top photo courtesy of Raphael Martin ‘02)