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Capital Gazette: Article by W. Winters

Capital Article

Artist Designs Annual Lights Parade Poster

By Wendi Winters, Capital Gazette Reporter, Article issues on November 11, 2011. Article reposted here because it is not online.

 Joe Barsin, in his office, with the EYC Lights Parade poster.

Joe Barsin, in his office, with the EYC Lights Parade poster.

The artist tapped to create the iconic collectible poster art for the 28th Annual Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade is from the Broadneck Peninsula.

That shouldn't be a surprise - this finger of land is home to many talented artists. But, this is the first time, since 1988, the creator selected for this very visible, sought-after project is a graphic artist. Instead of daubing paint on a canvas, Joe Barsin of Arnold created the poster on his computer.

In the artwork, a sailboat decorated to look like a giant Christmas evergreen sails serenely beneath the opened Spa Creek drawbridge, which is filled, on both sides, by cheering townspeople. All around the sailboat, Barsin featured other legendary vessels that have appeared in the parade, including the winged angle blowing her horn, the USNA Blue Angel, Santa's Sleigh and the Toy Train.

Landmarks of Annapolis and Eastport are visible in the background as fireworks sparkle overhead.

"When it was unveiled at a reception at the yacht club, the boat owners were so delighted to see their ships depicted," he said.

The Lights Parade artwork took him over a week to create. He also produced several large, hanging banners featuring portions of the artwork to add drama to the presentation. The annual poster is used to promote the Lights Parade.

Barsin, a '92 graduate of Kent State University, is the owner of the 12-year-old design firm JEB Design Inc. in Arnold. His office is an elegant studio in the lower level of the woodland home he shares with his wife Eva, and their two sons Robby, 8, and James, 6.

You see his firm's work every day, but probably don't realize it.

"I created the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Treasure the Chesapeake license plate," he said proudly, holding up a blank version. "I submitted six different designs to a 19-person committee."

For the past 10 years, JEB Design also has produced all the gorgeous, colorful posters for the Annapolis Opera free of charge. "We do it because we love the arts," he said. One of his favorites was the edgy, Art Deco-inspired poster for the opera ''Don Giovanni.''

Atlantis resident Gayle Mangan Kassal, who designed a Lights Parade poster several years ago, has been the event's art coordinator since then.

"We chose Joe two years ago, giving him a full year to plan then, as a new tradition started by myself and Heather Ersts, the past chair,'' she said. ''We invite the next year's artist to the current year's art reception and to be a judge so they get the full scope of things a year before. Joe said he really enjoyed this and that it helped with his art."

This year's Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade is the evening of Dec. 11. Sets of 12 boxed holiday cards and unframed posters are available for sale for $15 each at the Eastport Yacht Club, Fawcett Boat Supplies on Forest Drive, the Museum Store of Historic Annapolis Foundation on Main Street, and at Maria's Picture Place at 45 Maryland Ave.

 Joe Barsin presenting the new illustration at the Eastport Yacht Club's Unveil Event.

Joe Barsin presenting the new illustration at the Eastport Yacht Club's Unveil Event.

 Joe Barsin is one of the judges of the EYC Lights Parade.

Joe Barsin is one of the judges of the EYC Lights Parade.