How do people in Santa Cruz see themselves? And how do they see the rest of the world?
These are two questions Kirby Scudder had fun exploring while working on his latest poster The Cruz. The poster is designed after the famous illustration by Saul Steinberg, which appeared on the cover of the New Yorker Magazine in March of 1976. The humorous “one-point-perspective” poster was a caricature of New York’s alleged New York-centric view of the world.
“It became immediately the most popular cover… In those days there was no Internet, and everybody called in and said ‘where can we get a copy of that?,'” said Scudder.
So Steinberg released a limited edition poster.
“I think he made a hundred thousand copies and sold out in like a week,” said Scudder.
Steinberg never made any more posters, but like everything else in New York, a bootlegged copy showed up on the streets, and some guy ended up selling a million of them, according to Scudder.
“That began a long history of Saul Steinberg suing people… I think in his lifetime before he died, he had 45 lawsuits across the country for people stealing the idea. The problem is, you can’t sue someone for stealing your idea, you can only sue them for stealing something specific,” said Scudder.
Intrigued by the one-point-perspective, and the humor of characterizing a place like Santa Cruz, Scudder created Planet Cruz in 2008, and just a few months ago, he released an updated and more detailed version, The Cruz.
“I flipped it around and took the Santa Cruz perspective, how does Santa Cruz view the world? So there’s a lot of of inside jokes about Santa Cruz and there’s also a lot of references to the outside, you know how does Santa Cruz see the world,” said Scudder.
Even the Great Morgani, Santa Cruz’s infamous accordion-playing street performer appears among the 300 or so specific-to-Santa Cruz details of the poster.
Alfred Hitchcock’s house in Scotts Valley, bike shops and tattoo parlors, surf breaks, Maverick’s, and the 2010 tsunami are also included. Scudder calls it a “community illustration” since the suggestions came from everywhere.
“It’s been pretty universal about what things people find interesting about Santa Cruz. Like the way people see UCSC, and the boardwalk,” said Scudder.
Of course, Mexico is represented, with people hopping both ways over the border, and Burning Man’s flaming silhouette towers larger than the Statue of Liberty on the horizon. In town, a building is marked “Not the Apple Store.”
“Apple has been trying to create a store in Santa Cruz for a long time, and they’ve been continually pushed out, so it’s kind of an inside joke, since we don’t have one,” said Scudder.
The Cruz poster is part of a series of posters Scudder will be releasing in a couple months, depicting places in California, as well as a poster of California at large.
“Two years ago I did a documentary film called “Inspired by California” where I travelled around the state and asked the question ‘what inspires you about California?,'” said Scudder.
The documentary was Scudder’s reaction to “so much negativity. I couldn’t understand why there was so much negativity, in California, whether its the budget or this or that. If this place is so bad how come everybody doesn’t leave?”
Scudder’s travels around California inspired his next batch of posters, and left him with the conclusion:
“California is so beautiful. It’s just an incredibly gorgeous state filled with incredible people,” said Scudder, who, interestingly enough, grew up a New Yorker.
Pick up a print of The Cruz locally at:
Bookshop Santa Cruz
Palace Arts Downtown
Museum of Art and History
Made in Santa Cruz
Picture Appeal at the Tannery
(Available soon online at http://www.inspiredbycalifornia.com/?page_id=1861)
Scudder is the co-founded Santa Cruz’s First Friday Art Tour with Chip (just Chip) in 2004. He lives at the Tannery and is very active in Santa Cruz’s art community. Every Tuesday at 4:44 p.m. you can hear Scudder’s radio show, “Art Studio,” which interviews local artists about their process, from dancers to decoupage.