THE SANTA BARBARA

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2019 Festival: June 21, 22 & 23, Alameda Park | Parade: Noon, Saturday June 22nd, State St.

Victor Elsey 
Winner of 2018 
Poster & T-shirt Contest 

Solstice Merchant Poster 2018

Victor ElseyVictor Elsey is the artist behind this year's Solstice Poster. An Art Director whose creative career took him from London to New York City to Santa Barbara to San Francisco, Elsey has fond memories of Santa Barbara through the years and had this to say about his Solstice poster:

"I am honored to be selected by the Summer Solstice Committee to design their 2018 poster and T-shirt. In my painting I wanted to capture all the excitement, color and spirit of the wonderful solstice parade of carnival characters. This has been a year of so much tragedy in our small community, so this year the solstice theme is Heroes- paying tribute to all the courageous men and women who came to our rescue." 

Click here to read about this year's theme "Heroes"

 
Caroline Hambright’s “Solstice System”
Winner of 2017

Poster & T-shirt Contest

Each year, there is an artistic competition for the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice T-shirt and poster design. The 43rd annual parade and festival theme is “Celebrating Unity.”  We received many wonderful works of art that exemplified this theme and we are proud to announce the winner - Caroline Hambright and her artwork “Solstice Universe!”

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About Caroline Hambright 

Caroline Hambright has been drawing since she could hold a pencil, obsessed with capturing the world around her. Born in Los Angeles, she moved to Santa Barbara with her family when she was ten. One of the first graduating classes from Santa Barbara High’s VADA, Caroline went on to study art at SBCC and San Francisco State, where she received her BA in Studio Art with an emphasis in printmaking. Caroline’s art has been featured around Santa Barbara and San Francisco. Now she teaches art, math, and reading to Kindergarten through sixth grade at Brandon Elementary. Her other interests include singing and playing guitar in her local band, Babetown Classic, and designing and creating sets for local theatrical productions. She will also be the lead on a new youth Solstice Summer camp in June. Stay tuned for details, coming soon! 

The Story behind “Solstice Universe” by Caroline Hambright

When I moved to Santa Barbara at ten years old, I was afraid this town, with its chic vibe, would not be accepting of an eccentric artist such as myself. Then, my sister’s dance teacher, Steven Lovelace, asked me to help him work on a float for the Summer Solstice Parade. This experience with Solstice helped me feel accepted in the community. I knew I would be OK here. In fact, better than OK. I knew I had found my people. For me, Summer Solstice is a joyous time. The days are long, the weather is warm, and school’s out. It is a time to celebrate humanity and togetherness. 

“Solstice System” was inspired by my experience with the Solstice Parade. First and foremost, it is the individuals, the different planets, working together to make something gigantic and awe-inspiring. Steven Lovelace is the Sun, the conductor of the orchestra. Jupiter is Pali X, one of my favorite local artists and a Solstice veteran. DJ Darla Bea, an old friend of mine, is spunky Saturn. Other characters and celestial bodies are amalgamations of people I have seen over the years participating in the Solstice parade.  That is what Solstice is about; letting your imagination soar, not being afraid to be yourself around other people, and celebrating the unique, wild-haired, creative beauty in us all. 

 
Owen Duncan was the winner of the 2016 Poster & t-shirt contest. 
Owen Duncan is a graphic artist who lives and works in Santa Barbara.

This design was originally carved in leather by Owen and then adapted to print.  It features a heroine and a magical creature from an ancient tale of myth and lore.  The inspiration for the imagery came from Celtic and Nordic carvings.  With this piece, Owen wanted to create an original design that would feature symbolic imagery while incorporating the knot shapes from the Celtic and Nordic traditions where often elements are visually intertwined, and you can't always tell whether things are fighting or embracing.  In this design, female and male power, humanity and nature, wisdom and force, are intertwined showing the interconnections and ambiguity.  You can see more of Owen's leather work at hopperleather.etsy.com

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A history of the Solstice Posters

Since the beginning of the Summer Solstice Celebration, there has been a flier or poster announcing the Celebration to the community. Michael Gonzales, originator of the Solstice Celebration, designed the early fliers and posters. Since the first poster competition in 1974, local artists have submitted their artwork in January or February and we have a show featuring the submitted artwork and encourge the community to vote for their favorite.

Sales of our Poster, T-Shirt and Hats generate revenue that contributes towards producing the Solstice Celebration Festival and Parade.

These products are sold on-line, at local events and through the Solstice administrative office. You can visit our Solstice Store today or visit our archives to review shirts or posters from years past. A limited number of archive posters are $25 and are available by contacting the Summer Solstice office at (805) 965-3396 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please indicate which year you are interested in. Usually only the current year’s shirts are available online, but vintage Solstice products are sold at the Festival in Alameda Park.