Growing up, many of us had posters of our favorite bands, movies, and celebrities covering the walls of our bedroom, but none quite like Felicity Selkirk’s. She sells vintage French posters, which Felicity hand-picks in Paris and sells them exclusively online. Each poster is a genuine original, varying in condition. Some of the posters were originally created over 100 years ago, but Felicity only sees beauty in their antique imperfections. Here’s our exclusive interview with the Australian businesswoman.
Where are you from, where did you grow up?
I’m an Australian living between Australia and France. I grew up in a large family in a small town called Ballarat just outside of Melbourne in southern Australia. I first visited France a teenager and having studied French throughout school I was instantly captivated. I then first visited Paris in my early 20’s and it was love at first sight. To this day the city still takes my breath away!
What or who inspired you to start this business?
It’s a love story! For as long as I remember I’ve adored vintage French posters. I love their stylised images and bright colors which evoke emotions of France and Parisienne life during different eras and stimulate our imagination and senses.
Living in Paris I started to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for vintage posters that went beyond their initial visual impact and couldn’t resist the opportunity to make these wonderful pieces more available globally. I love that these advertising posters were designed by the most renowned artists of their era and that today they are a valuable form of collectible art. When they hang in our homes they are wonderfully commanding, bring living spaces to life and injecting the personality of the poster and the poster’s owner into the space.
Do you have a favorite artist?
I’m a huge fan of Toulouse Lautrec! He was responsible for the success of the advertising poster in Paris in the late 19th century. It was a time when lithography printing had just been invented and it was Toulouse Lautrec and his wonderful poster for the Moulin Rouge in 1891 which elevated the status of the simple advertising poster to fine art. It started a craze of renowned artists creating poster art and competition amongst brands and artists became fierce resulting in the magnificent posters that appear in collections today. While Lautrec’s pieces now are so valuable they mainly hang in galleries and there are other very collectible artists that I also adore.
Raymond Savignac is a personal favorite of mine. He was one of France’s greatest post-war poster artists and his designs are instantly recognizable by their exuberant use of color and sense of humor. His works are frequently displayed in museums around the world. At the moment we have one hanging in our living room in Paris and it is a daily reminder of his genius.
What is your goal for Vintage French Posters?
Given that my business is focused online my goal is to provide a platform for customers which goes beyond the experience of visiting a traditional gallery. Introducing augmented reality into the Vintage French Posters website will take the guesswork out of selecting a poster and ensure my clients are investing in the perfect piece.
Most galleries store vintage posters in stacks making it difficult for the purchaser to find their ideal poster and then visualize it in their home. I sell exclusively online and augmented reality will allow my clients to view posters framed and hanging in the way they are best presented.
In addition, I am working on extending augmented reality to homes. Clients will be able to select a poster from the website, choose from framing variations and view the poster hanging in their own home … how cool is that!
Can you share any ‘fun facts’ or something that most people don’t know about vintage posters?
When posters were first printed they weren’t intended to last months let alone centuries! They were printed to be posted on walls or displayed in Paris’ iconic advertising pillars, the Morris Columns.
The posters we collect today were most likely stored by the printer after their original print run. So for me, one of the most intriguing aspects of vintage posters is that no one actually knows how many of each poster exist. Most posters find their way into galleries or private collections and only surface when they change hands so they have a certain mystery about them.