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Poster Backstory: Bethany Bauman — ARTCRANK Austin 2014

Written by in Profiles

ARTCRANK® is a poster show about bicycles. Since 2007, ARTCRANK has staged more than 50 pop-up art shows featuring handmade, bike-inspired posters created by local artists and graphic designers in the U.S., the U.K. and France. A longtime sponsor of ARTCRANK, Neenah Paper is teaming up with the show to highlight the work of four poster artists in 10 U.S. cities throughout 2014: Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC. 

Each Poster Backstory feature follows the artist’s creative process as they develop their ideas and print them on a Neenah Paper stock, using craft techniques such as silkscreen and letterpress. Behind-the-scenes poster stories will appear on the ARTCRANK site and here on Against The Grain.

Austin-based designer Bethany Bauman is a creative talent who has exerted her energies across an impressively broad spectrum, from high-rise residential re-branding to cycling apparel and album covers. When she’s not cooking up design brilliance, she’s bike commuting around Austin or writing and performing music.

A combined love for music and design brought Bethany to Austin five years ago and has kept her plenty busy in the years since. This particular combination of passions emerges in her ARTCRANK Austin poster with an aesthetic that’s as striking as it is subtle.


“For me, art and music each somehow become synonymous with riding,” says Bauman. “I typically write songs on my bike, because I can hear them. In my breath, the traffic sounds, the mechanics of both body and bicycle as machines. It’s a symphony, and it makes me feel like I’m plugged into the pulse of something that’s greater than me.”

Working with Judy Schulz of OK Paper in Austin, Bauman zeroed in on three paper stocks that felt right for her poster. She then met with master printer Brian Maclaskey of Industry Print Shop, who lobbied for PLIKE® Cover BLACK, based both on the paper’s unique feel, and the way he anticipated it would hold the metallic ink. The latter was especially critical, given the intricacy of Bauman’s line work and the poster’s subtle composition.


It didn’t take much to convince Bauman. “You can’t not touch the PLIKE. Photographs and samples don’t do this paper justice.” Part of Neenah Paper’s Design Collection of 11 specialty papers created especially for out of the ordinary print projects, PLIKE has been the choice of several ARTCRANK artists — including fellow Austin poster maker Roy Milton.


Industry printed a number of the artists’ ARTCRANK posters this year, and the results they were able to achieve in printing Bauman’s poster attest to the shop’s standing in Austin’s creative community. Between holding the finest of metallic lines and bringing out an impressive richness in the spot varnish of the bike frame and drumsticks, the poster endlessly lures the viewer in. Which is exactly what Bauman wanted to accomplish.


Speaking about her poster’s tone-on-tone color scheme and precise line work, she says “For my design, I felt a tension between a very simple concept and a complexly detailed visual that ended up feeling sparse, if not restrained. I appreciate how the paper added to the spectrum of that and can’t imagine this design working as well had I chosen differently.”