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Garlic inspires poster winner

South Valley Newspapers | Kimberly Adams | July 26, 2005

Gilroy - Many artists seek to be the next poster winner for the annual Garlic Festival, but only one can win the top prize.

Graphic designer Jennifer Stearns Lau, 37, was announced the contest winner for this year's festival.

Taking hundreds of photos, many of them of just garlic, Lau landed on the idea of doing something with an earthy sepia tone.

"I spent so much time delving in and looking at garlic as artwork," Lau said. Her piece became a photograph looking down at four zinc cups with a bulb of garlic sitting in each one.

"There was nothing difficult. I was just so excited to actually see the poster on the merchandise."

Her inspiration, she said, came from her three and a half-year-old son. Through moving cups around and lining them up in different configurations, Lau discovered the direction she wished to take in creating her poster.

"He totally inspired me by this new light," she said.

Lau decided her direction was in the sun coming in and making the garlic look like porcelain. She described the best aspect of her poster as enjoying the style of the photograph and opening her eyes to explore shooting more pieces.

A resident of New York, Lau works as a graphic designer from home, but came to San Martin two years ago to assist with web page design for South Valley Internet. "Probably when from when I was 15 I knew what I wanted to do," she said in reference to her career.

Through an introduction and the urging of her client, Lau entered the contest last year but never thought she would win.

"I was completely shocked," Lau said in a phone interview. Since Lau had not heard anything by the end of March, she assumed it was over and would try again the following year.

Comprised of a committee with a chair, co-chair and the festival board of directors, the group looks to find uniqueness and originality in each piece. One that stands out from not only previous year's, but from all this preceding it as well.

The winner of the annual contest receives $750 along with copies of all the merchandise the poster is placed on, including Herbie the Bobblehead. Second and third place winners receive $400 and $200 respectively.

"I am very pleased the committee liked the poster and really appreciated it," Lau said.




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