2019 Poster Artist

Local Artist Inspired by the Festival

Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 2:00 am

Introducing 2019 Poster for Black Swamp Arts Festival


Kathleen Pahl was selected as the 2019 Black Swamp Arts Festival Poster artist.

Pahl, is a fine artist and used her medium of watercolor and ink to create this year’s poster which is the main element used in the brilliant design. 

“For this piece I worked in ink and watercolor.  In the first mock-up I wished to give the feeling that the salamander is in the water surrounded by vegetation and sunlight. I feel watercolor is a great match for this poster due to the environment of our area.  Within the salamander are scenes of native swamp life: heron, frog, cattails, lily pads, and ferns. In many ways I view Bowling Green's art presence much like an ecosystem within an ecosystem. Art and music starts in a home, expands into our neighborhoods, congregates in our city and reaches outside of our city, through the Black Swamp Arts Fest, to celebrate the human experience.  For Bowling Green, the Black Swamp Arts Festival is an integral part of our community, identity and a part of our social "ecosystem,” explains Pahl.

Along with the watercolor design, this year’s poster also includes a back side for artists of all ages to color themselves.  Erin Holmberg, who has designed three previous BSAF posters (2015, 2016 and 2018) assisted in the graphic design elements of the poster.  Homewood Press, Inc, located in Toledo printed this year's poster.

All work for the festival, including the poster design, is a volunteer contribution. The Black Swamp Arts Festival would not be possible without the work of many dedicated volunteers.

The Black Swamp Arts Festival is a three-day, free live music and arts festival committed to providing quality art and music experiences. Held in downtown Bowling Green, Ohio the first full weekend after Labor Day, there are three stages of music, two art shows, Youth Arts, Artists at Work, Chalk Walk, and more. 

Read the Artist's Statement:

"I once read that a turn of the century art critic called an impressionist painter a “nebulist”. His reasoning lay in the painting created as being hazy, without line, thus not realistic or even attempting to be realistic. This, of course, was meant to devalue the artwork in question.  

The definition of nebulous is synonymous with hazy, indistinct, formless...but it also is derived from the word “nebula” and leads one to contemplate space, color, fluidity and expansiveness. 

When I first began working on this current series, the word “nebulous” was a great inspiration. In this word, I allowed myself the freedom to let the medium lead. It only made sense that watercolors would be the perfect fit in my life (affordability, the limits of workspace) and for allowing an openness in which creativity could flourish. Without the restrictions of direction and planning, I could allow my work to become. Formlessness becomes form, like a cloud becoming a dragon or lion through the creator's process and the viewer's perception. Nebulism, the style in which I call my work, is formlessness. The job of a nebulist artist is to create form from formlessness and ultimately create a journey for the viewer. 

As I continued with my explorations, I realized that while I was giving this formlessness a form, that I was injecting all the work with my own observations...sometimes minor; a color choice, the addition of a line. Sometimes deeper connections would form and emerge from my day to day life, politics, the joys of watching my children grow, and the pain in witnessing suffering in all it's forms. And from this realization, I came to understand that it is impossible for an artist to create without mirroring the time and culture in which they reside, in addition their personal experiences and inner landscape. 

Further, I came to understand that art is nebulous, life is nebulous, art is life. I view my art as that which depicts life. It starts by being born...a few splashes of color, then adding more colors, some planning occurs, a line needs to balance, a color needs to be darker or more warm, and so the process continues.  Mistakes are made, but they can always be resolved. There is no past other than the marks made and no future that can be seen than the possibilities that lie within the framework already laid. In the end, the attempt of “becoming” ends with “being”. 

So, for me, nebulism has come to mean possibility. And possibility is a hazy, uncertain abstract of space, color and fluidity. It is my hope that those who view my art will find themselves traveling through the many possibilities to land at what the artwork has become."

                 -Kat Pahl­­