The artwork by Pittsburgh artist Jim Zahniser features a red, 1967 Camaro SS crossing the Sixth Street Bridge coming out of the city toward the North Shore with the downtown skyline in the background. The artwork will be produced as a poster, lithograph as well as serving as the official trademark and program cover for the 2017 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.
DelBianco said the image also will be used for advertising and will appear on Lamar billboards and 2017 merchandise.
DelBianco said the artwork perfectly captures the essence of a by-gone era and was the perfect image for this milestone year.
“Jim’s trademark is vintage travel posters, so he was a natural for the 35th anniversary of the Grand Prix,” DelBianco said. “I had seen his work before we ever met, and I was a big fan. I’m glad to have Jim join our ever-growing family of poster artists.”
Zahniser said he tried to include items in the artwork that were unique to Pittsburgh. It is the first time the downtown skyline has been featured in a Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix artwork.
“Creating the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix poster has been a bucket-list item for me, and I am honored that my artwork was selected for the 35th anniversary poster,” Zahniser said. “I’ve attended the races for decades and am very familiar with the event. I wanted to capture the Grand Prix in my own style, using critical elements in an exciting fashion. I selected graphic elements and type fonts that reflect the styles of 1967-era ads when the Camaro was introduced.”
Zahniser selected the Sixth Street Bridge for his artwork as it is the bridge that will be filled with Camaros and other classic cars on Wednesday, July 13, for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Tune-Up at Atria’s.
The Camaro was selected for the artwork, in part, because 2017 is the 50th anniversary of its release.
“Through the course of its iconic 50-year history, Camaro has been a reflection of the times, forging in passionate influences from customers, development teams and racing technology,” said Tom Peters, director of exterior design for Chevrolet Performance Cars. “What has remained consistent is the beautifully simple and powerful sculpture that has stayed instantly recognizable to our customers and enthusiasts of all ages. I have the same passion today as when I saw a Camaro for the very first time. It just makes you smile!”
The 2017 Schenley Park races will be held the weekend of July 15-16.
The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix has benefitted individuals with autism and developmental disabilities in the Pittsburgh area by raising more than $4.75 million for the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Valley School.
Interview with Jim Zahniser
Executive Director Dan DelBianco and Pittsburgh artist Jim Zahniser, recently sat down for a Q&A as preparations are being made for the 2017 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.
Q: So, Dan, we’re heading into another milestone year for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, correct.
A: Indeed, we are. It’s the 35th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. We’re very excited to celebrate that milestone. I’m so proud to be associated with the Grand Prix; it has really established itself as one of the great events in Pittsburgh each year. This is my 14th year as executive director and my enthusiasm for the event continues to grow.
Q: One of the first things you do every year to prepare for the event is select a piece of artwork that always serves as the centerpiece for all your marketing and advertising. I understand that you’ve announced the 2017 artwork?
A: We have. We are very excited that Pittsburgh artist Jim Zahniser created the 2017 poster.
Q: Can you tell me a little about the process of having the artwork commissioned?
A: It’s actually a great story. I was visiting a Grand Prix vendor in August and some of Jim’s travel posters were on display in the lobby. I immediately liked his style and starting imagining what he could do with the creation our artwork, so I snapped a few pictures with my cell phone and took a close-up of the signature hoping to track him down. A few weeks later, our designer, Dan Holmes, called and told me he had found the perfect artist – Jim Zahniser. When he said Jim’s name, I recognized it immediately as the artist whose work I had admired. It was fate, and we are so glad to have Jim join our ever growing family of poster artists.
Q: Jim, how does it feel to have your artwork adorning the cover of the 2017 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix?
A: It’s very exciting. I think it’s safe to say that creating the artwork for the Grand Prix is on the bucket list of every artist in Pittsburgh. The fact that it’s the 35th anniversary of this great event is icing on the cake.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your motivation for creating the artwork?
A: I wanted to capture the essence of the event in my own style, using critical elements in an exciting fashion. The centerpiece of the artwork is a red, 1967 Camaro SS. This is the 50th anniversary of Chevrolet’s Camaro and that’s the vehicle that will be featured at the Grand Prix. I selected graphic elements and font types that reflect the styles of 1967-ear ads when the Camaro was introduced.
Q: You also incorporate some iconic Pittsburgh landmarks, correct?
A: Yes, I used the downtown skyline to illustrate the background, which had never been done for the poster before. The Camaro is too new for vintage and much too fast to race at Schenley Park, so I placed it on the Sixth Street Bridge coming out of the city toward the North Shore. This bridge will be filled with Camaro’s and show cars for the Grand Prix Tune-Up at Atria’s.
Q: Dan, you’ve got to be pleased with Jim’s effort to capture the essence of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.
A: Extremely. I knew he would be a natural for the Grand Prix. He certainly didn’t disappoint.
Q: Tom, it must be a thrill for Chevrolet to see the Camaro on the poster and have it featured in the Grand Prix?
A: Very much so. It’s an honor to see the Camaro celebrated at one of the nation’s premier vintage races. Throughout the course of its 50-year history, Camaro has been a reflection of the times, forging in passionate influences from customers, development teams and racing technology. What has remained consistent is the beautifully simple and powerful sculpture that has stayed instantly recognizable to our customers and enthusiasts of all ages. I have the same passion today as when I saw a Camaro for the very first time. It just makes you smile!
Q: Dan, what else to we need to know about this year’s Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix?
A: People just need to get the dates on their calendars. Wednesday, July 13, is the Tune-Up at Atria’s, and the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix will be held at Schenley Park the weekend of June 15 and 16. I should note that the 15th also is Jim’s birthday, so everyone stop by and wish him a happy birthday on the first day of the Grand Prix.