When we talk about posters, the first visual that we think of are graphics, handmade or printed on a thin paper, hung or stuck on walls and facades either informing or endorsing something. Street Posters are a kind of art, more specifically also categorized as a branch of street art. Posters were one of the earliest forms of advertisement and began to develop as a medium for visual communication in the early 19th century. Communication and expression are a need of human beings and can be traced from the time of cave man in the form of inscriptions and signs. All these forms of visual communication including the poster art share a common historical heritage. The absence of a formal language made way to his early attempts to express by the means of painting and incised pictures. He manifested his impressions of daily events of harried existence.

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Records remain, which stand out as mute evidence of the urge to even the most primitive of the human species to grope for articulation through drawing. The work of the primitive artist was prompted, in the main, by this desire for self expression, and indirectly served as a pictorial diary of his thoughts, activities and superstition. On the rugged walls of his abode, the cave dweller projected his impressions of the Gods he worshipped and feared, he recorded his prowess as a warrior, and his supremacy over bird and beast. These were posters in their own way if the purpose of a poster is merely to convey a thought through conscious design. Over the period of the conscious thoughts and information were etched upon the piece of paper and it narrowed the concept of posters limiting it to a publicly displayed design on a surface like paper.

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Further, posters started being used for cause. With the rise of Christianity came the extended use of signs and poster as a means of spreading the Gospel. In 1886, the father of poster art, Jules Cheret, an artist and mural painter, returned to Paris from England. He studied the lithographic processes and on his return, this craftsman set himself up as a designer and printer or posters.

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With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the poster became an art that could influence history. Posters were the most important of all the visual media before the influence of motion pictures and television. Immediate in impact and easy to produce, it provided the feasibility to be posted wherever there was a public to see it. Given such a role, posters of war and revolution may be quite forceful, varied, and revealing. Knowing this immense power of posters through the history and being an art, as well as a movement itself, posters are a clear reflection of the values, trends and important events of their time.

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Like all other street arts, poster art has also made its way in the field of interior design. Posters provide the flexibility to be changed easily, are hassle free and also impactful. Every art form carries a set of responsibilities. Similarly, the poster’s job is to inform. It is an impressive combination of graphics and text. Hence, people viewing them feel that they have learnt something that they have been informed.

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“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see – Edgar Degas”

Pooja Kshatriya

Pooja Kshatriya is an Interior Architect by profession and a stage artist by passion. Trying to strike the right balance of the two. So far so good. Hoping to take it forward. She can be contacted at pooja.vjk@gmail.com