Meeting Marty Petersen, Artist of the Iconic “Justification for Higher Education” 1980s Poster


My childhood came about within the Nineteen Eighties and early Nineties, and I used to be raised to like vehicles, whether or not it concerned serving to out my dad with weekend initiatives or admiring images of my grandpa’s classic journey. Even my mother has all the time had automotive fashion. I used to be certainly one of many younger individuals throughout that period to have a framed 24×36 poster hanging on my bed room wall throughout highschool that mentioned, “Justification for Increased Training.” It confirmed a five-car storage at an oceanfront property, full with a lineup of unique vehicles and a dramatic sundown to set the temper.

My 18th birthday with the poster within the background

Over 30 years later, that unique dream has develop into my actuality – at the least partially. I did certainly pursue increased training, leaping swiftly right into a Grasp’s diploma program after graduating with my Bachelor’s. At that time in my life, I didn’t have room to pursue car-collecting, however I attempted anyway. I juggled two vehicles round till about 2011 after I added a 3rd, and in mid-2012 I added a fourth. The remainder, as they are saying, is historical past. I’ve now owned 47 autos general and at present juggle a dozen, a few of that are my dream vehicles. In a way, I suppose the upper training promise did come true, even when I don’t have a house on an oceanside cliff and none of my vehicles are very unique. The truth is, to be utterly trustworthy, my vehicles are boring compared to those featured on the unique poster.

Our recreation

Life got here full circle in Might 2023 after I obtained a touch upon my YouTube channel from a Marty Petersen, who said that he was the unique artist of the “Justification” poster. He was responding to this video from summer time 2018 whereby my good friend Greg and I re-created the poster utilizing a couple of of the unique vehicles in his assortment. I reached out to Marty to make the connection and ended up chatting with him on the telephone for about half-hour.

The story goes that Marty had been working as a bartender and a contract illustrator within the mid-Nineteen Eighties in Aspen, Colorado. Two college students from the College of Colorado in Boulder, named Jeff and John, had been referred to him from an area enterprise referred to as Artwork {Hardware}. They’d a selected advertising mission in thoughts for a poster design with a catchy sing-songy tagline. He mentioned, “I used to be only a ski bum, and this was mission provided a superb chunk of change for me. They acquired the automobile images from automobile dealerships, and I did a primary sketch of how you can lay them out.”

Marty continued, “The oceanfront sky and sundown I simply airbrushed proper onto the picture paper. We had little odd-shaped uncovered areas since you’d need to cowl up sections of the picture; every automobile needed to be added individually. The proprietor of the picture lab didn’t know if they may expose a picture that enormous (two ft by three ft).” The method was tedious, requiring persistence and innovation. “It was form of airbrush hell at instances as a result of the picture paper had an emulsion on the entrance, and it didn’t just like the masking supplies. There was quite a lot of portray and retouching. As a ravenous artist, I used to be completely satisfied for the cash, so I labored exhausting to make it occur.”

My actuality

Finally the five-car storage was stuffed, the home was coloured in, and the surroundings was set. Marty determined to not signal his autograph on the backside as a result of he was so nervous about having one thing occur with the picture paper and ruining the whole mission. He did, nevertheless, get credit score in printed textual content alongside the underside of the picture.

The poster hit retail shops in 1989 and soared in reputation. At one level, Marty obtained a telephone name congratulating him on his success. “About what?” he requested. “The Justification Poster is the best grossing merchandise at Spencer’s Items,” he was advised. I requested Marty if he ever envisioned that the poster can be as in style because it was. “I had no prediction in any way, no means,” he mentioned. “It appeared like a foolish and frivolous idea.”

Marty went on to proceed his profession in illustration, engaged on kids’s books, industrial artwork, e-book covers, technical imaging, and posters. His modern-day web site is accessible right here and accommodates highlights from his portfolio. These days, computer-generation has taken the place of quite a lot of the old-school airbrushing. Thanks, Photoshop!

The automotive panorama has advanced in the previous couple of a long time, and Marty, who now lives in Pueblo, says he has some concepts for a attainable follow-up model of the well-known poster. Practically 40 years have handed because the unique one took form. What autos (or airplanes, helicopters, and yachts) do you suppose ought to adorn the subsequent iteration?

In case you’re huge on Nineteen Eighties nostalgia like I’m, maybe you’ll relate to the unique poster and nonetheless lengthy for these sports activities vehicles of yesteryear. The excellent news is you’re more likely to discover them in listings on As for the true property and cliffside property, you’ll need to look elsewhere!


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