- Associated Press - Sunday, March 16, 2014

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - While backpacking his way through Europe, Brixton Doyle had a revelation.

“I hadn’t traveled in my own country,” he said.

On his next trip, he drove west to see the natural wonders of states such as New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. He visited Devils Tower. The only other time he’d seen it before was in Steven Spielberg’s 1977 film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

He was star struck.

“It’s the idea that when you see someone who’s a celebrity, your brain is trying to match up the reality with the images of the person,” he said. “When you see Devils Tower it’s just so odd.”

Devils Tower National Monument is one of 401 cultural and geographic treasures guarded by the boundaries of the National Park Service. It’s also one of the many national icons illuminated through a new program that’s reviving the parks’ relationship with American artists like Brixton.

The Creative Action Network and the National Parks Conservation Association are tapping into the past by reintroducing the See America program - an arm of the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression that paid artists to create posters for the U.S. Travel Bureau.

The two organizations teamed up and issued a call to artists to create new posters for a crowdsourcing campaign. The new works, which range from photos to paintings and graphic designs, echo the original sentiments of the WPA works while channeling the diversity of 21st century art. The posters are for sale online. For each work sold, 40 percent goes to the artist and the remainder goes to the Creative Action Network, a consortium of artists and organizations that run crowdsourcing campaigns across the country. The works are currently on display at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York.

Doyle, a New York-based artist, is one of the 450 artists who submitted work on behalf of the renewed project. Wyoming parks are the focus of 35 pieces submitted by the artists. Brixton used his memories from his 1987 voyage to Devils Tower as inspiration.

“There’s nothing more dramatic,” he said.

He spun vinyl albums by the band America as he painted. He made sure the house was clean and his kids were asleep.

Doyle used pencil and ink on paper to draw the fire-streaked sky and the pasty gray igneous monolith. He used seven different plates, one for each section of the painting, and then composited them on his computer.

With modern technology, Doyle could have used a computer to compose the whole image. But he wanted to stay as pure as possible to the techniques of the original WPA artists.

“Nowadays you can posterize any image with the click of one button in Photoshop,” he said.

- Origins

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