"Like most artists, I draw what inspires me... what makes me feel good.. which in turn, hopefully, does the same for the viewer. I start with taking lots of pictures, then I sketch a drawing on paper, and finally I redraw everything on the computer while keeping uneven shapes and providing a natural organic, silkscreened look".
"I lived in San Francisco for 23 years where I met my soulmate and moved to Maine. We got married at Marshall Point Lighthouse and that inspired me to draw life on the New England Coast".
“When I get up just before sunrise, I look at the sky and if it is glorious with dabs of yellow and orange and accented magenta clouds... I think... what would it be like at Pemaquid Point Light or some other lighthouse at this very moment?”
Influenced by American realist painter Edward Hopper and European travel posters of the 1920’s, Alan Claude's challenge was to create an original series with a certain freshness of expression. Throughout the 20th century only a handful of lighthouse travel posters were ever made. "I wanted to reflect in this series the way I felt about lighthouses." Working in various mediums including pen & ink, photography, and digital illustration, the Lighthouse Collection Series is a way to honor these national historical treasures.
Alan Claude was born in Virginia in the late 60's. Four years later Alan and his family moved to the town of Biarritz in the South of France. This is where Alan, his brother Chris and their recently divorced French mother spent the next six years. In the summers while their mother worked as a cleaning lady, Alan and Chris played all day at the beach where a very tall lighthouse stood on a nearby cliff almost as though it was keeping watch over them. This is where Alan’s affection for lighthouses began. In 1980 Alan moved to San Francisco where he spent the next 23 years. In spite of receiving A’s in art, he decided not to go to art school due to the expensive tuition.
After dabbling in various small businesses including a gift store and an art greeting card company, Alan, working as a graphic designer, teamed up with a friend in the advertising industry. Then in 1996 an opportunity arose to design something different, a series of beer logos for a new restaurant, The Beach Chalet, located at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Inspired by local historical events and places Alan illustrated the beer logos in a retro poster style. The beer logos were a big hit and still are to this day. In 1998 with Point Bonita lighthouse overlooking the entrance of the Golden Gate, Alan met his future wife Erin at the Beach Chalet. Erin, a graphic designer, had admired the predominately displayed posters on previous visits and had always wondered who the artist was. One day, they met by chance at the bar. It was love at first sight - no really!
Within a year, Alan Claude and Erin Skehan started ACES Design. Named after their first initials, they designed corporate identities such as San Francisco’s Department of the Environment and advertising for companies all over the United States such as; the logo for the San Francisco Department of the Environment. The internet allowed ACES Design the freedom to live anywhere so they moved to Maine (Erin’s home state) where they could start a family while still keeping their clients. One early September morning in 2004, Alan and Erin exchanged vows at Marshall Point Light in Port Clyde, Maine. This wonderful experience and consequential visits to other lighthouses on the beautiful Maine coast inspired Alan to create his Lighthouse Travel Poster Collection. Alan and Erin enjoy family life with their 16 year old son and their 13 year old twin daughters.
Alan Claude greatly admired the American realist painter Edward Hopper because of his brilliant use of light and shadow, along with stark empty spaces. Other influences were early 20th century poster artists and pop artist Robert Indiana. In August 2004, Alan and his wife Erin visited with him at his Vinyl Haven island home. Robert Indiana gave a them a private tour of his works and discussed art and life. The visit inspired Alan Claude to search further to find his own “voice” or style in art.
METHOD AND PROCESS
"Working in various mediums including pen & ink, photography, and digital illustration, my challenge was to create an original series with a certain freshness of expression. I wanted to reflect in this series the way I felt about lighthouses.The Travel Poster Lighthouse Collection is a way to honor these historical treasures."
Watch an interview.