By Séamus Smyth

It looked like a lineup to meet Santa Claus in the Heart building this past week but it was actually SAIT students waiting to purchase art at the annual poster sale.

The sale featured the typical iconic James Dean images, the half-naked sleeping beauties and the classical shots of downtown Paris, all demonstrating that the powerful poster has not lost any of its muscle over the years.

The trite but valid statement, “a picture is worth a 1,000 words,” appears to have not been lost on the SAIT student body as hundreds patiently analyzed each image.

Similar to adorning a Winnipeg Jets hat or an Iron Maiden t-shirt, the poster makes an immediate statement without uttering a syllable. It allows one to illustrate his or her allegiances in a cost-effective manner and without having permanent ink pierced into their flesh.

One’s poster collection and tastes usually evolve over the years and likely serves as a tool to demonstrate maturity. There is no better example of this poster/age correlation than if one were to examine the walls of a typical, young boy. Theoren Fleury and Michael Jordan posters were likely mainstays for Calgary youngsters until they reached their teens during the 90’s.

Of course the minute sex, drugs and rock n’ roll were introduced to a once clean-cut mentality, Theo and MJ are juxtaposed with scandalously clad women and Corona beer images. These man-cave paintings remain for an eternity and often bring company with them. At some point, Tupac, Scarface and Blink 182 join the party and suddenly this high school student’s wall is a conglomeration of potentially bad influences and questionable values.

But, a few years after they’ve finished screaming Alice Cooper’s “School’s out Forever,” a monumental wind begins blowing at the corners of these wary pieces of cheap art.

Scarface suddenly looks haggard and he doesn’t smile the way he used to; It begins to feel like Blink 182 broke up a millennia ago and haven’t been the same since; and Theoren Fleury? Who was that again?

Plus, there is a lovely lady/girlfriend on her way over to do a room inspection and these once proud visuals now seem like the equivalent of wearing Spider-man underwear or needing to be burped after dinner.

And so the poster situation demands a makeover; Pac’ is asked to rest in peace and black-and-white clad Elvis Presley and Martin Luther King Jr. are quickly introduced. Suddenly a beautiful landscape shot of New York looks as though it could really accent this young man’s bedroom.

Abstract paintings follow and soon he is relieved of decorating duties because the lady at the door is much more than just a pretty face. And so the poster cycle continues on as boys and men, and those in between, discover their identity through still images that will likely remain with them forever.

Yes, if there weren’t other resources available, the poster would certainly be the measuring stick for a boy’s anticipated entrance into manhood.