New Brunswick

Posters from the Picture Province: artist's vintage style brings Canadians home

Inspired by the artwork from mid-century Canadian Pacific Railway travel posters, graphic artist Eric Goggin decided to emulate the style with a series of posters of the Maritimes.

Destination Art has over 300 prints of places from Banff to the Bay of Fundy

Graphic artist Eric Goggin turned his love of vintage travel posters into a business that brings a piece of home to Canadians across the globe. (Destination Art Facebook page)

A New Brunswick artist's vintage-style travel posters have become a hit for Canadians at home and abroad.

Graphic artist and signmaker Eric Goggin had always admired the artwork from mid-century Canadian Pacific Railway travel posters.

The bold, bright colours, simple lines and vintage typography inspired the Salisbury man to emulate the style with a series of posters of destinations in the Maritimes.

"It was a very distinct the way of design and use of typography that made it look very romantic to get on a train and travel west or east or whatever it may be," Goggin said

In 2017, Goggin started by making a design for Washademoak Lake, the site of his family's cottage. 

Goggin's first design was this print of Washademoak Lake, where his family owns a cottage. (Destination Art Facebook page)

He drew an old-fashioned wooden speedboat driving under the Cambridge Narrows bridge. Goggin thought his art would resonate with the many people who live or spend their summers in that region of the province.

Shortly after he began, Goggin's work caught the eye of Bernie Michaud of Incolor Printing in Moncton. Goggin and Michaud teamed up and created Destination Art, an online portfolio and store for Goggin's work. 

Three years later, Destination Art offers more than 300 prints of places from Banff to the Bay of Fundy from fine poster paper to Baltic birch. Goggin said they receive orders daily from all over the world.

"Just last week we sent some pieces to Dubai, [some] of our Nova Scotia pieces."

Goggin sells his prints online and in retail shops across Canada. (Submitted by Eric Goggin/Destination Art)

Destination Art also has a wholesale program that allows tourist shops across the country to sell Goggin's prints that are relevant to the surrounding area.

Goggin said his newest retailer is a shop in Peggys Cove, which prompted him to create a poster for that location.

Whenever he creates a new piece, Goggin draws from memories of the times he's been there before. But if it's a place he hasn't visited, he relies on extensive research to ensure the accuracy of his depiction.

"If you don't get those rolling hills and the winding roads right in the artwork, people will see that instantly. You don't have to be an artist to look at something say, 'That doesn't look anything like the Cabot Trail, you know.'"

Art through generations

As a child, Goggin shared a love of art inherited from his father, a schoolteacher by trade but a wood carver, painter and illustrator at heart.

"From a very, very early age that's all I ever did was draw, paint, doodle," Goggin said.

Goggin went to Holland College for graphic design in 1991. After he finished the program he got into signmaking and opened Goggin Signs and Graphics, which he's run in Salisbury for 25 years.

Goggin often hide details from his person life in his artwork, like his daughter's name "Gabby" on the back of the boat in this St. Andrews print. (Destination Art Facebook page)

While he enjoys running his commercial signmaking business, Goggin said sometimes it can get in the way of art that he wants to do, and can take away time to create without having restraint imposed by clients.

He remembers how his father loved to create things in his free time and how he admired that growing up.

East Coast love

Goggin likes to hide little details from his own life into his works, often painting the names of his wife and children on the brow of boats in his nautical depictions.

He thinks the vintage style of his posters can transport viewers to the place in their memories.

"There is a famous quote: the only way to travel without leaving your home is through art. And I never forgot that, you know it makes a lot of sense," he said.

Goggin gives one of his most popular prints, of Fundy National Park, as an example.

This Bay of Fundy print is one of Goggin's best sellers. (Destination Art Facebook page)

"Hundreds of thousands of people over the decades have had really fond memories of their stay at Fundy National Park. This is just one location."

Even with Destination Art's commercial success and expansion, it's still the East Coast pieces that have Goggin's heart.

"I'm a New Brunswicker ... I do have every territory and province depicted in Destination Art for sure, but you know my immediate love is the East Coast and the places I know best."