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Monday, December 10 , 2018, 9:04 pm | Fair 53º


2018 Old Spanish Days Poster and Pin Unveiled at La Primavera

Old Spanish Days Fiesta spirits Click to view larger
Junior Spirit of Fiesta Georgey Taupin and Spirit Jesalyn Contreras-MccCollum at La Primavera. (Fritz Olenberger photo)

During a spectacular Fiesta kick off event, 2018 La Presidenta Denise Sanford unveiled this year’s official Fiesta Poster and Pin before a large crowd at La Primavera.

The Poster and Pin, featuring a magnificent work La Bamba by Mexican painter Jesús Helguera (May 28, 1910 – Dec. 5, 1971), will be distributed to countless community members and tourists as a keepsake of Fiesta 2018.

Helguera’s images are as well known in Mexico as Norman Rockwell’s are in America.

“I first saw the image I selected for my poster in 2008,” said La Presidenta Sanford.  “I was immediately drawn to it because it looked happy, and was very traditional to me.  I thought if I ever became La Presidenta I would want that as my poster. “

In terms of the Fiesta Pin, La Presidenta Sanford added: “For the Pin design I knew I wanted to use the courthouse as that building has always been a favorite of mine since coming to Santa Barbara.  Since being on the board and particularly when I was division chief of dance and entertainment, seeing all the dancers of all ages dancing on the Courthouse Sunken Garden stage, I knew it would be special.

"I also knew I wanted dancers as it would all come together.  I love when things are consistent so what better way to bring consistency than to have the image of the dancers from the poster on the pin.“

The original image for the Fiesta Poster was found at Sullivan-Goss, and OSD board member Debbie Oquist assisted with the design, while Steve Lipman at Pincrafters assisted with the Pin design. 

About the Image Artist

Jesús Enrique Emilio de la Helguera Espinoza was born to Spanish economist Alvaro Garcia Helguera and Maria Espinoza Escarzaga on May 28, 1910, in Chihuahua, Mexico. He lived his childhood in Mexico City and later moved to Córdoba in the state of Veracruz.

His family fled from the Mexican Revolution to Ciudad Real, Castilla la Nueva, Spain, and thereafter moved to Madrid.

Old Spanish Days Fiesta spirits Click to view larger
Junior Spirit of Fiesta Georgey Taupin and Spirit Jesalyn Contreras-MccCollum at La Primavera. (Fritz Olenberger photo)

Jesús first gained interest in the arts during primary school and would often be found wandering the halls of the Del Prado Museum. At the age of 14, he was admitted to the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes and later studied at the Academia de San Fernando.

Helguera later married Julia Gonzalez Llanos, a native of Madrid, who modeled for many of his later paintings and with whom he raised two children.

Jesús first worked as an illustrator at the Editorial Araluce, working on books, magazines and comics with many of his published works done in gouache. He became a professor of visual arts at a Bilboa Art Institute at the age of 18 and worked for magazines such as Estampa.

Helguera was forced to move back to the Mexican state of Veracruz due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and following economic crisis. Upon his arrival, mural making was en vogue and he was hired by Cigarrera la Moderna, a tobacco company, to produce calendar artwork printed by Imprenta Galas de Mexico.

Much of his work reflected his own fascination with Aztec mythology, Catholicism, pin-up girls and the diverse Mexican landscape. His paintings showed an idealized Mexico, and it was his romantic approach that gave his paintings the heroic impact that eventually made him famous.

In 1940, he created what is arguably the most famous amongst his paintings, La Leyenda de los Volcanes, which was inspired by the legend of Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. It was later purchased by Ensenanza Objectiva, a producer of didactic images for schools.

Many of his paintings would later be reproduced in a variety of different calendars and cigar boxes reaching households and businesses throughout Mexico.

Past Old Spanish Days Presidentes. Click to view larger
Past Old Spanish Days Presidentes, from left, Josiah Jenkins (2013), Denise Sanford (2018), Roger Aceves (2001), Herb Barthels (1991), Rhonda Henderson (2017), Ricardo Castellanos (2012), and Joanne Funari (2011) (Fritz Olenberger photo)

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