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Spirit of garlic captured in 2005 Garlic Festival winning image

The Gilroy Dispatch | Lori Stuenkel | April 13, 2005

Gilroy - It may not be difficult for a Gilroy resident or regular Garlic Festival attendee to visualize the familiar shape, size and color of a bulb of garlic.

But to capture the perfect garlic depiction that best embodies the spirit of the herb and the world-famous festival might take 800 tries.

That's how many photographs Jennifer Lau took before finding the image that is the winner of the 2005 Garlic Festival poster contest.

Lau's photograph, which will be printed for sale at the festival and featured on festival merchandise, captures four bulbs of garlic reposing at different angles inside four cups in compartments of a wooden box.

A graphic designer by trade, Lau, 36, lives in New York and works for South Valley Internet's SVI Designs. She found out about the Garlic Festival's poster contest as she researched garlic when creating the garlic image for the Internet Service Provider, located at www.garlic.com. Her co-workers encouraged her to enter the contest since she has been looking at garlic for quite a while, she said.

Lau said she began photographing bulbs for reference, and the process took off from there.

"I spent a lot of time taking it apart and looking at different parts of it," Lau said. She spent hours researching garlic and learning about the herb's different varieties. "For three weeks, I drove my friends and family kind of crazy because I just talked about garlic."

She found her winning photograph after her son began placing some bulbs in cups and the appearance reminded her of garlic growing out of the soil.

LJB Farms donated a box of garlic bulbs and braids for Lau's artwork.

"I would take a bunch of pictures, I would come back and look through them and see: This bulb is good, but in this position ... ," Lau said.

For her first-place poster finish as judged by the festival's retail committee and board of directors, Lau will receive a $750 prize. Her design will be featured on official festival posters, T-shirts, tote bags and aprons.

While Lau was a new entrant to the contest, the second- and third-place winners have both entered - and won - the poster prize in the past.

Kris Knutson and Scott Lance, both 50 and Gilroy residents, will receive $400 and $250, respectively, for their designs.

Knutson, a professional photographer, combined multiple photos to show a pick-up truck carrying one enormous garlic bulb beneath a blue sky and green South Valley hills. The most time-consuming portion of his poster design was creating a puffy, garlic bulb-shaped cloud that hangs in the sky.

"It's sort of hard to (create a poster) only because it's sort of an open-ended assignment," he said.

Knutson, the 2001 poster winner, was inspired this year by his love of trucks, he said with a laugh, and wanted to be "a little different."

Third-place winner Lance, a fine artist, created a classical still life of garlic cloves in a jewelry box against a richly colored background that he said was styled after some of his oil paintings hanging in his Carmel Valley studio.

He wanted to present garlic as a treasure, something that Gilroy waits all year to celebrate much like party hosts wait to bring out a nice bottle of wine.

"To have what was in the jewelry box be garlic, was interesting," Lance said. "If garlic cloves were in a jewelry box, it'd be fragrant, you'd smell it ... floating in the air."

Lance previously won the poster contest in 1986 and 2000, and last year won the "People's Choice" prize.

The top three poster designs, along with eight other entries, will be displayed at this year's festival on July 29, 30, and 31 so festival patrons can vote on their favorite. The winner will receive $200.

 

 

The first place winning poster by Jennifer Lau of New York. Garlic Festival second place poster by Kris Knutson of Gilroy. Third place Garlic Festival poster by Scott Lance of Gilroy.


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