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Poster Backstory: Roy Milton — 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.


By day, Austin-based Art Director Roy Milton works at Sanders\Wingo Advertising, where he’s created campaigns for high-profile clients like AT&T, MINI USA and Burger King since 2013. But like many in this Texas cycling Mecca, evenings and weekends find Roy on a bicycle, exploring the Hill Country just outside of town.

Balancing family, work and cycling means that time is always in short supply for Roy, a theme that found its way into his poster for the 2014 Austin ARTCRANK show. Entitled Riding Time, Milton’s love for both cycling and fine timepieces come through with resounding synergy in his letterpress poster.

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“I love the concept of time becoming irrelevant when you’re on your bike,” says Milton. “And I think the complexity of all the parts moving in unison in watches has always fascinated me. My poster has many parts and details, but they’re all working together.”

Milton worked with Judy Schulz of OK Paper to find the ideal paper. In keeping with the luxury aesthetic of his design, he selected PLIKE® Cover BROWN from Neenah’s new Design Collection for Riding Time. PLIKE is plush, “plastic-like” paper that’s ideally suited to silk-screening and tactile printing techniques like embossing and foil stamping — making it a great choice for letterpress printing.

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To bring the poster to life, Milton collaborated with Laura Thoms of Red Press Printing in Austin. Noting the intricacy of the image with an appreciative eye, Thoms observes that “the amazing amount of keen detail in the gears, mechanisms, and the love that went into crafting the design made this project really shine.”

But what about replicating all of that keen detail on a press that dates back to the middle of the last century? No problem, Thoms says: “We have guaranteed line and dot thickness minimum parameters that we helped Roy locate and fix for any areas of concern. He did an excellent job of balancing aesthetic with production capability.”

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And while it’s difficult to capture the drama of the image in photographs, the finished poster confirms this. “The metallic inks just sat on top of the paper and almost looked like it was foil stamped,” says Milton. “We couldn’t have imagined a better result.”

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    […] 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. […]