Originally published - www.artinstitutes.edu.
Ai Austin Student and API Contest Winner Sean Simons: A Mobile “Flatstock Show and Rodeo!”
By Dustin Villarreal - Flatstock. Honored and respected by passionate movements of people but often misunderstood and unappreciated by others, Flatstock is the long-standing tradition, preservation and culture of poster art, all with a history stemming from the music and design movements of the 1960s.
The Art Institute of Austin student Sean Simons knew little about that going in, yet gained so much more coming out as the grand prize winner of the American Poster Institute’s (API) Great Texas Rock Poster Contest at South by Southwest (SXSW).
“I actually didn’t really know much about it; I went to maybe one or two FLATSTOCK shows at past SXSW events but this was my first time to have my work displayed and actually participate in the Flatstock art community,” Simons said. “They were really supportive and accepted me as one of their own. I ended up learning a lot about Flatstock and making great connections.”
Simons’ winning flatstock made a grand entrance at FLATSTOCK 24, the annual premiere Flatstock exhibition show at SXSW, and remained on display during SXSW from March 18-20th. Simons, a natural born art student whose blog contains many of his other works of art, enjoys painting and other fine arts both in the low and high-brow cultures. But when it comes to those labels, Simons’ believes that there’s room for everyone in the art community.
“I enjoy both low and high-brow art forms and think they can coexist; that we can learn from all types of art movements.” Simons said. “The problem isn’t in the labels; the problem is in the people that only look at the labels and don’t see things deeper for what they are.”
Simons isn’t the only one who believes in preserving and celebrating all art forms. The American Poster Institute (API) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to furthering public awareness and appreciation of the poster art form. It is committed to supporting the community of artists creating entertainment-related posters, to fostering interaction and communication between the artists, and to constantly improving standards in the field.
Ai Austin student Josh Robertson was also recognized by the API for his flatstock work, granting him runner-up status and a place on the group’s Flikr website.
The FLATSTOCK shows provide attendees with an ongoing series of opportunities to see fine poster art in person and to meet the artists who've created it. While Flatstock continues to face an uphill battle in terms of recognition and acceptance, it’s comforting to know that there are still artists such as Ai Austin’s own Simons and Robertson who have transcended past art labels and into producing art for the greater good.
Congratulations Sean Simons and Josh Robertson!