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Meet The Artist

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Curtis Waidley

For the first 21 years of my life, I had never been west of the Mississippi. Though, that never stopped me from always being an outdoor kid. Growing up, my summers in Pennsylvania were spent in the woods, wading through cricks looking for crawfish, running through fields to catch lightning bugs, and just being outside, camping, hiking, canoeing, anything.

 

However, I still always caught myself hypnotized by dramatic photographs of the western landscapes. I even remember changing the desktop wallpaper on my parents' home computer once a week to photos of Yosemite and Canyonlands just so I could daydream about one day seeing these places for myself.  At that age, the West seemed like another world.

 

The Mountains are Calling...

At last, in 2018, I quit my job, and spent that summer driving my rusty van across the United States. 16 hours on the road later, across the vast plain of South Dakota, I happened upon the Badlands: my very first National Park. I would then go on to visit 12 more on that trip, camping and living minimally on the road for 6 weeks. I was absolutely enthralled by all of these places and fell in love with the National Parks.

Whelp. Didn't think I'd be an artist...

 

There were 8 posters designed at first, and they were for my Senior Thesis in my Graphic Design program at Mercyhurst University. The designs embodied my awe, still fresh from my recent National Park adventure. They utilized original photography that I created in the parks and were digitally collaged to create posters that captured the spirit of each landscape through innate colors and forms. The name of my Thesis was  "Save America" a play on the original WPA Park Posters which displayed the famous headline "See America". It was a call to promote not only visitation and enjoyment of Public Lands, but also to respect and protect them.

I only intended for those 8 designs to be graded, exhibited once, and then stuffed in my attic to gather dust.  After graduation my design career moved in a different direction, and then Covid brought the world to a halt. 

 

A mission of conservation.

 

In the isolation of quarantine, I created Natural States Collective, a platform to expand upon my 8 original National Park Posters. Not only that, but a platform for me to sell my artwork and give back to the National Parks which had left such a profound impact on me. 

 

Some designs still utilize original photography that I’ve taken during my travels to each park, others have evolved into a more retro illustrated style. However, no matter how my National Park artwork evolves and expands, my mission of conservation will always remain at the root of my artwork. I donate a portion of all my sales to the National Park Foundation to help fund projects that will help to protect and preserve our public lands for many future generations. To date, I have donated over $1,400 to the National Park Foundation. This is only the beginning.