Since the schooner America captured the attention of the world off Cowes in 1851, artwork has been a cherished means of conveying not only the results of each America’s Cup cycle, but the storylines, breakthroughs and emotions of the following 34 editions. As New York Yacht Club American Magic, Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup, gets ever closer to Auckland 2021, the team has elected to add to the deep catalogue of Cup-inspired marine art.
Working closely with American Magic’s communications staff, renowned illustrator David Doran recently delivered the first of a planned series of four original pieces depicting key stages of the Club’s campaign to reclaim the Cup. The “Newport ’19” installment depicts the AM38 test boat, better known as the Mule, sailing at full pace past Castle Hill Light, a stately witness to all America’s Cup matches from 1930-1983.
“It’s really wonderful to be involved with such a prestigious event, club and team,” said Doran, who’s earlier work has been commissioned by clients such as The New Yorker, Vogue, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. “As well as having always heard of the America’s Cup and seen photographs and clips of the racing, I’ve long been inspired by the wealth of beautifully designed past posters, and to now be a part of this history myself is an honor.”
Several Cup teams of the late 20th and early 21st centuries have produced striking artwork intended for posters and promotional use. This allows thousands of sailing fans an opportunity to bring a bit of the spirit of a team into their home, and also provides them with a collectible item of broad and enduring appeal.
With a studio intentionally located close to the sea, water is a recurring element of Doran’s work. “The ocean is very important to both me and my wife, as our life is very much influenced by our proximity to it,” said Doran. “We live next to a harbor, and wake up to the sounds of the sea each day. We can watch sailing boats heading out to sea from our living room window, which is a real joy. Our town has a wealth of maritime history, and sailing plays a large part in the culture. Our summertimes are spent sea-swimming and meandering down sleepy rivers on sailing boats, finding good spots to dive off and explore.”
After launching the series with a depiction of Newport, future installments will focus on other venues as American Magic moves around the world in search of speed, progress, and ultimately, the Cup itself. A major inspiration for both the team and the artist were travel posters of a type pioneered by the Depression-era Works Progress Administration's (WPA) Federal Art Project and early airline advertising campaigns of the 1930’s and 40’s.
“I hope to capture the energy and movement which is so integral to the sport, as well as creating something timeless,” said Doran. “Travel posters have always been a great source of inspiration to me. They capture a moment, a location and an event in all its glory. I hope my artworks evoke these feelings for viewers.”
Below: American Magic Posters (Newport Edition), left, and a run of 150 limited edition, handmade, artist-signed screen prints (Newport Edition), right, are both currently available via the Team Store.