Brand Consultant & Illustrator

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Branding, Identity, Graphic Design and Illustration stories and information by Joe Barsin, Brand Consultant, JEB Design, Inc.

Arnold Resident Creates Gallery of Maryland Imagery For Local Restaurant

A great article published in the Severna Park Voice, January, 2013

By Dylan Roche, Severna Park Voice

Inside the new Mother’s Peninsula Grille awaits a visual feast of artwork featuring distinctive Maryland imagery – crabs, Chesapeake Bay retrievers, orioles, ravens, the state flag and maps of beloved waterways. Staying true to their theme of all things local, the restaurant brought on Arnold resident Joe Barsin to create the pieces of art.

Three Maryland icons – a raven, a crab and an oriole – appear above the bar in the center of Mother’s dining room. The brightly colored prints bring aesthetic appeal and Maryland pride to the restaurant’s atmosphere. Photo by Dylan Roche

Each of the prints has an approachable look to it, with crisp lines, bright colors and Art Deco style reminiscent of a poster or travel ads from the 1930s. Together they function as a gallery, illustrating the sights and symbols of Maryland life, and even native Marylanders will discover a new appreciation for the state’s icons.

Being a local artist served Barsin well on the project because he was familiar with the feel of Maryland, rather than being somebody from outside the community who might naturally go to stereotypes. “That’s the last thing I wanted to do: use an image that’s been done a million times and that people have seen over and over again,” he explained. He noted that he likes to take a different look at things, learn about local cities and communities, and explore how they can be looked at differently.

Barsin became enamored with Maryland when he moved to the area with his wife, Eva Barsin, in 1992. He described himself as being a “foreigner” to a new state, but felt comfortable right off the bat. He was impressed by Maryland life and began familiarizing himself with all things Annapolis, Baltimore and D.C.

When Mother’s Grille owner Dave Rather commissioned Barsin to do artwork for the restaurant, the two sat down together to exchange thoughts and explore ideas for the content of each piece. Barsin saw how Baltimore sports mascots were representative of other parts of local culture – the oriole is the state bird, and the raven is a tribute to Baltimore writer Edgar Allan Poe – and thus had significance outside of baseball and football.

When working on a project such as the Mother’s Grille illustrations, Barsin begins each of his pieces by sketching with pen and paper, developing a basic idea and allowing himself freedom to be creative. When he has the picture fully conceived, he goes to the computer and works on creating the art on Adobe Illustrator, where he focuses on color accuracy and composition. The completed project comes to fruition with a high-quality print ready for display.

The work for Mother’s Grille is recent in a long line of projects Barsin has done on behalf of JEB Design Inc., the graphic design company he founded with Eva in 1998. Previous projects include designing posters for the Annapolis Opera and the “Treasure the Chesapeake” Bay Plate for Chesapeake Bay Trust. In the months to come, he will focus his attention on creating posters for the upcoming Annapolis Film Festival and the 2013 “Blue Angels Over Annapolis” illustration for the annual Naval Academy air show.

Barsin’s work as an artist brings a distinctive flair to the central Maryland area, his illustrations and designs capturing a slice of life. His prints decorating the now-open Mother’s Peninsula Grille restaurant in Arnold are a definite tribute to local culture – they are, after all, the work of a local artist with an eye for and talent in capturing the world around him.

See more of Joe's portfolio at BarsinArt.com