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Thursday, 12 December 2013 15:57

Sharon’s Winning Hand

- Iconic Creativity, On Deadline, Since 2000

SARATOGA SPRINGS – To begin with, there’s the creative talent, without which nothing would follow. 

Then there is the motivation to give back to the community where you yourself were raised; where generations before and after in your family make their home. 

Finally, there is the delivery of the creative message, on deadline. Year after year. It’s something that a deadline journalist can specifically appreciate, but the product is one that all can enjoy.

Meet Sharon Bolton. She provides all the components of that unique skill-set and talent necessary to be First Night Saratoga’s poster artist for the past 11 years; and 14 of the posters since 2000. 

We got her to share some insights and comments while looking at the First Night poster exhibit at the Saratoga Arts Council, 320 Broadway, which you too can see until after the New Year. 

This is a big deal, because Sharon is someone so in demand and busy these days that she didn’t even have time to show up for the First Night press conference where her latest poster was revealed on December 2!  

“I’m very grateful to my employer, Ambrosino Design.” Sharon said. “First and foremost, Owner Larry Ambrosino has been a supporter of First Night Saratoga from day one. I was fortunate to be assigned my first poster (for the 2000 celebration) as a freelancer in 1999, and it led to me being hired there! So I have a warm spot in my heart for First Night.”

“Since then, Ambrosino has donated my time to work on the annual poster as if it were a retail agency account,” Sharon said, which gave her the ability to use Ambrosino’s facilities toward the creation. 

Ambrosino donates the time. Sharon donates the unique annual vision and brings it to life. 

“The first couple of years, beginning in 2000, I was playing with a mix of mediums.” Sharon notes. It’s not easy to pick a favorite from a collection sometimes, although “I’d say 2002 would be my choice, because Rick (Bolton, her husband) was actually the model for the adult in that illustration.” 

“Later, beginning in 2004, I started accelerating and ‘punching out’ the color more,” Sharon continues, “the inspiration for the designs came from a combination of Celestial Seasonings tea boxes and wine labels” the latter being products of her non-volunteer work at Ambrosino Design. 

Then in 2011, coincidently around when Saratoga Arts assumed the presenter’s role from the YMCA of Saratoga “I went digital, using the full spectrum – paint, photoshop and pencil.” Sharon concludes. 

This year’s poster, reflecting the theme “Color Me First Night,” is that perfect combination of color splash and flash we have come to expect. In this case, a glowing white moon is painted by a fairy-like artist, and the moon comes to life like someone getting dolled-up for…New Year’s Eve perhaps.

In order for the artwork to be replicated on several thousand buttons, posters and brochures in time, Sharon needs to have the artwork completed by early to mid-October. But “I push the deadline each year,” she says. “I always have a million ideas in my head, and of course I want this year’s to be better than the last. I tend to do my best work when I’m busy. I need multiple projects going to make each the best they can be.”

“There are times that I am facing an impending deadline,” Sharon said, “and, really, I’ve got nothing. But a fast-approaching deadline is a great motivator.”

Spoken like a good deadline journalist, Sharon. Which reminds me. It’s time to write this up – press time is a-looming. So I’ll end this by saying thanks to Sharon – a fabulous talent that whose work on behalf of First Night Saratoga helps to make each year’s celebration a little more festive and a lot more colorful.


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