There’s some intriguing work coming out of Canada. I last posted about Dermot Walshe and his interest in documenting the early years of motorcycling through his artwork. He’s Canadian — from Oakville, Ontario, to be exact.
And then there’s Retroscope, a small graphic arts company in Ottawa, Ontario that is specializing in vintage illustration. The shop is operated by two friends, Jean Gratton and Jérôme Estirac, and the pair share a common interest in old motorcycles — and other wheeled objects.
Most of Retroscope’s illustrations are inspired by period ads or posters, but the company redraws all of the graphic elements – including figures, logos and fonts – using Adobe Illustrator software.
Retroscope also enjoys producing “custom” creations, where a client provides their own images – of a latest motorcycle restoration, for example – and a concept for a one-off poster. In these instances, photo or document restoration (retouching, colouring, resizing) becomes an important part of the work.
“As a small company, we’re not interested in mass production,” said Gratton. “Our goal is to provide unique and high quality products to a demanding and knowledgeable crowd of connoisseurs. In turn our clients become our ambassadors.”
Both of the partners are interested in riding motorcycles, and they often take their Kawasaki W650s on long tours. Gratton just bought himself a 1973 Yamaha RD350 for $375 and is now at work on restoring the two-stroke machine. The Yamaha is cosmetically challenged, but Gratton intends to have it on the road this summer.