Blair Hamill was looking for a way to make a living as an artist — for something that would unite his love of this country’s public lands with his talent as a landscape painter and his experience as a graphic artist.
“What could I come up with that would become a more marketable form of my artwork? That could sustain us as a business?” Hamill said he asked himself.
Travel Posters was the answer.
Hamill creates images that capture “the American travel experience” for posters, coffee mugs and coasters. The outdoor scenes have strong lines, distinctive shapes and a graphic feel. He draws on his former career as graphic designer, his time as a fine art oil painter and on a love of the natural world that extends back to his childhood.
Hamill moved the business he co-owns with Lauri Hamill, his wife, to Englewood in 2019 after posters overran the basement and garage of their home near Littleton.
“This is a neat little neighborhood down in here,” Lauri Hamill said, referring to the engineering firms, landscape design companies, auto repair shops and “cool, creative businesses” that make up the area around their studio and warehouse space at 3638 S. Jason St.
Plus the proximity to Santa Fe and Hampden make deliveries and pickups a breeze, she said.
The former teacher began working at the business full time in 2019 after retiring early. At Travel Posters, she’s the organized counterpoint to her creative husband.
“We work really well together,” Lauri Hamill said. “Yin and yang.”
Like her husband, Hamill loves to hike, camp, snowshoe — anything that gets her outdoors.
The couple’s travels inspire the business’s designs. This spring, the twosome went to Canyonlands National Park in Utah. Last fall, they explored New England. And now, majestic Candlestick Tower and colorful West Quoddy Head Lighthouse are among Travel Posters’ extensive catalog of illustrations.
With the help of two employees, the Hamills sell their products through their online store and at fairs and festivals. Customers range from individuals to small businesses like General Store 45 in Littleton to national parks in Colorado and beyond.
The pandemic, however, disrupted their business last year. The Hamills did only two art shows in 2020 compared to the 42 they worked the previous year.
Yet people flocked to the country’s natural places in record numbers last summer and orders from national parks eventually came in. After all, the Hamills aren’t the only ones that love the outdoors.
“Even though our show business and festivals basically stalled, we really made inroads with online and with our public lands accounts,” Blair Hamill said.
Enthusiasm for the outdoors, and for products that commemorate people’s time there, has persisted. Business for Travel Posters in 2021 is already better than it was in 2019, according to the couple.
Hamill understands that travel sparks memories and emotion. He’s done about 250 designs for Travel Posters so far — and whether it’s a cityscape, a mountainside or a natural wonder, he has a story to go with each one.
Travel Posters is open by appointment only, but their line of products can be seen anytime at travelposters.com.
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