Skagit Valley Tulip Festival poster unveiled

November 11, 2018
Local artist Ben Mann stands with the newly unveiled 2019 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival poster he created.

MOUNT VERNON — Local artist Ben Mann debuted the official 2019 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival poster Thursday during a celebration at Skagit Valley Gardens.

It was the first time the public had seen the piece Mann said he has been working on for three years.

“I’ve been freelancing for 30 years, and I’ve never done anything quite so clandestine,” he said.

The poster, which depicts a tulip-lined dirt path leading to a barn, is bright and saturated with color.

“I strive for emotional accuracy rather than camera accuracy,” he said. “What you feel in your heart, that’s the accuracy I’m going for.”

Cindy Verge, executive director of the Tulip Festival, called Mann’s work bright, bold and whimsical. She said his style appealed to her because of how different it is from those of recent festival poster artists.

“We constantly look for something a little different than what we’ve done before,” she said.

Verge said the poster — and the merchandise it is printed on — is a crucial source of funding for the festival.

As the face of the festival, the poster needs to look fresh and unique every year, she said.

“But it can’t get away from our core, which is the tulips and the tulip fields,” she said.

Mann, a Mount Vernon resident and regular Tulip Festival attendee, works as a commercial artist out of his studio in Fairhaven and also puts in time as an art educator in elementary schools.

“Children’s art has really influenced my palette,” he said.

Mann said he generally works on a six-week deadline, so working on one piece for three years was a relatively new experience.

He said the longer time frame gave him the opportunity to do his research and meet those in the valley who grow the tulips.

“I think we really knocked it out of the park,” he said.

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