The first sign of the Summer Solstice Celebration approaches!
In a first, the judging panel for the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice chose two long-time participants and artists as winners of the 2015 poster competition, combining the best of both their designs.
Operating under this year’s theme, “Sci-fi,” Stacie Bouffard and Pali-X-Mano have come together to create the image of a yellow, totemic alien (and its friends) standing on a desert road, under a sunset and planets.
Ms. Bouffard is the Solstice board president and has been part of the parade since 2004, creating floats, masks and costumes, often right next to Pali-X-Mano’s workspace at the Ortega Street workshop.
“She is a multi-talented lady,” said Pali-X-Mano, who has been one of the most identifiable artists of Solstice since 1990. His giant inflatables traditionally signify the end of the parade, and as the years have progressed, he has incorporated dancers, aerialists and more adventurous designs in his work.
The Hungarian-born artist has designed the Solstice poster before, including last year’s, which had a hopscotch theme.
“Sci-fi” is a natural theme for Pali-X-Mano because, he explains, “I am an ex-alien, an ex-caveman, inspired by the Anasazi tribe’s idea that our ancestors come from space.”
“A good parade theme is key,” Solstice Executive Director Claudia Bratton said in a press release. “Everyone should picture something in their mind when they hear it. Sci Fi offers worlds of possibilities.”
Last year’s theme was “Games,” and that was similarly broad enough to encourage all sorts of floats and entrants to let their creative juices flow.
“We are both interior designers,” said Pali-X-Mano of Ms. Bouffard, “We have similar personalities and so this will be a successful union.”
Pali-X-Mano is continuing his UFO theme into his inflatable float, which will be a giant spaceship, “with giant moving eyes with flames coming out,” he said.
The theme was picked in October by the Solstice board, and an open call for artists was made in January. By February, when the board went to the Sojourner restaurant to decide on a winner, they were torn between both winning artists, and so decided to combine the best of both of their works.
The actual collaboration happened after the decision, with Ms. Bouffard combining the elements and a graphic designer adding the finishing touches that can be seen this weekend on posters and T-shirts during the Earth Day observance at Alameda Park.
The Solstice booth, No. 365, will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Mask-making for children and information about signing up for upcoming Solstice workshops will be available.
The Summer Solstice Celebration parade will begin at noon June 20.