Meet Our 2023 Festival Poster Artist: Jon Flaming


The Texas Book Festival is thrilled to announce Jon Flaming as its 2023 Poster Artist. His piece Cowboy Reading in Big Bend was selected as this year’s Festival Poster image.

Born in Wichita, Kansas in 1962, Flaming moved to Texas in 1967. The artist grew up in Dallas/Richardson. His fine art is in the permanent collections of the Tyler Museum of Art, The Grace Museum in Abilene, The Museum of the Southwest, and the San Angelo Museum of Fine Art. His work is also in many private and public collections and has been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows. Jon lives with his wife, Kathy, in Richardson. They have three married children and four grandchildren.

TBF Interim Executive Director Dalia Azim had a chance to ask Jon Flaming some questions about his work, background, and this year’s poster image, Cowboy Reading in Big Bend:

How long have you been in Texas?
I grew up in the Dallas area and have been in Texas for 55 years.

When did you start pursuing a career as an artist?
I started painting at the age of 30 but pursued fine art full-time at 55, after a 30-year career as a designer/illustrator in Dallas.

Which artists did you admire most when you first started out?
Norman Rockwell was the artist I admired most as a kid and young man.

Who are your favorite artists these days?
The designers Saul Bass and Paul Rand.
The painters Marsden Hartley, Stuart Davis, and Edward Hopper.

How did you find your way to your very unique artistic style? Do you ever begin with traditional collage as a prototype for a work of art?
Inspired by designers Paul Rand and Saul Bass and painters Marsden Hartley, Stuart Davis, Picasso, I started to experiment with bold, blocky, graphic shapes to create cowboys and western scenes. I was heavily influenced by my years as a designer/illustrator. I create my “collages” on the computer and then use those as my studies for my paintings.

How do you pick your medium for a particular work of art? Ie. when do you opt to paint a subject versus experimenting with imagery as a print?
My paintings always start out as an idea and then move quickly to rough pencil sketches. I then scan them into my computer and create my color studies in Adobe Illustrator. I often use oil, but also paint with acrylic. Many of my images become prints but they are typically created from the the digital version that I use for my painting studies.

I know you like to spend time out in West Texas? Tell us more about what that part of the state means to you and how it inspires your art?
I love the wide-open desert vistas of Big Bend with all the accompanying elements – cactus, agave, ocotillo, mountains, abandoned buildings, etc. And, I love the sparse, flat country of the panhandle and other parts of west Texas. These places and the people in them often become the subjects of my work.

How does the landscape of Texas influence your graphic style?
The state of Texas is bigger than life and my art reflects that with canvases that are executed on a large scale. My work tends to be big, bold, and colorful—like the Lone Star State.

Who are your favorite writers and what have you been reading lately?
AMERICAN BUFFALO by Steven Rinella.

How does it feel to have your work Cowboy Reading in Big Bend represent the 28th annual Texas Book Festival?
Very honored & humbled . . .

Posters and T-shirts featuring Cowboy Reading in Big Bend will be available for purchase at the Texas Book Festival on November 11–12, 2023 in Downtown Austin.

Get to know our 2022 Festival Poster Artist: Minta Maria

Portrait by Claire Schaper (originally featured in Tribeza).

TBF Deputy Director Claire Burrows sat down with the 2022 Texas Book Festival Poster Artist Minta Maria in her West Austin studio to talk about her career and this year’s poster image, Adrift No. 3. Read more about the 2022 Festival poster.

Minta Maria is an artist and freelance photographer. She was born in Madrid and raised in San Antonio. She received her BA in Journalism from the University of Texas and MFA in Photography & Related Media from the School of Visual Arts. Over the past ten years of developing her art, Minta has had a variety of exhibitions and worked to build upon the themes of memory, tradition, and the fragility of information.

Lifetime of photography

I started taking photographs in high school and fell in love with photography at the age of 14. I wanted to be a photojournalist and looked up to photojournalists like Susan Meiselas. I moved to New York and got a job at Glamour Magazine, which was the opposite of what I was pursuing, but I learned so much, and quickly after that moved to Latin America and was an intern for UNICEF in Panama. The Director of the regional office there let me pursue a photojournalism project for UNICEF.

When my internship ended, I decided to pursue an MFA in photography. I was curious how an intensive 2-year study could deepen my understanding of photography and how it might unfold into other areas of the medium. I felt like a fish out of water, but it was such a great experience and time to experiment. Post graduation, I took every photography job under the sun while I pursued my art. Once I had my second child, I decided to be a full-time artist.

Roots and Wings

There is a joy and wonder about Texas. In Austin, there is a sense of familiarity. It’s a knowing, the sound of the birds, the warm summer nights, things that I really cherish about the atmosphere having grown up here. And I also love that Austin has a spirit of curiosity and creativity, and meeting and welcoming people from everywhere. For me, this is the roots and wings of Austin and Texas.

I love what perspective brings, and having been away from Texas and returning it was really clear to me what I loved, especially through photography. I really was drawn as a photographer to the Spanish influence in Texas / the Charreada, the West Texas landscape, to all the natural spring-fed swimming holes, the limestone, the great oaks…all these elements that I missed.


The way I make pictures, I feel and prescribe it more towards poetry. As if I’m writing a poem because I feel like there’s a poetic interest in taking pictures. Like this project, Adrift, each form has a story it’s telling, a nonlinear story it’s telling. It leans more into poetry as it expresses many different things at once. Something adrift that’s suspended in the air, perhaps fleeting. There are lots of different elements there that one could read into with the images.

Balmorhea is my favorite picture I’ve taken. There’s something deeper to the image – light and heavy, familiar and mysterious – and space for the viewer to see it however they wish.

Adrift series 


The process is that I typically spread out all the papers on this big table, and select what is compelling, then with clear tape, needle and thread, and fishing wire, sew them together. What is so fun and sometimes infuriating is knowing that what I want to see might not reveal itself once it’s up in the air. I use two light stands with a big piece of bamboo taped to the top for height and put the newspaper form right in the middle. I’m lying on the ground, photographing it. I wait for the wind to make the form that I like. Sometimes there’s no wind, sometimes there’s heavy wind…I’m just waiting for the wind. I shot them all on film, there are about 10 pictures per roll of film, which is really lovely for a project like this because I can’t just rapid-shoot pictures. It’s just very different than if I was using a digital camera.

At the beginning of 2020, I started saving newspapers and experimenting, and at some point around the onset of Covid, I started photographing them in this form. We moved to New Zealand, but when I created the images I realized that they were so different than those shot in Texas. The light is different in New Zealand because it is so much closer to the equator, which I didn’t really anticipate, so I had to put the project on pause until we returned to Texas.

Texas artists

A few artists with Texas roots I follow are Christopher Anderson (particularly his family work), and Cruz Ortiz. I also love the work of the 20th-century Texan painter Clara McDonald Williamson. Graciela Iturbide is one of my all-time favorite photographers (since high school!!). She is from Mexico but has had a great presence in Texas, particularly in San Antonio.


Books I’ve loved lately ~

The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
Department of Speculation and Weather by Jenny Offill

Texas Sky

Especially in the summer, there’s a warmth to the sun. It’s dusty where I shoot these images. It’s so unique.

Read the poster announcement for more information. Posters and T-shirts featuring the Adrift No. 3 art will be available for purchase at the Texas Book Festival on November 5-6, 2022 in Downtown Austin.

Revealing the 2022 Festival Poster!

The Texas Book Festival is thrilled to reveal the 2022 Festival poster, Adrift No. 3. The artwork for the poster is by photographer Minta Maria, who was raised in San Antonio and now lives and works in Austin.

The art for this year’s poster, titled Adrift No. 3, is part of the Adrift photographic series by Minta Maria that captures compelling headlines, images, and journalistic storytelling, focusing on one day at a time. Minta Maria’s artist statement for the selected piece: “March 19, 2020: The African American Art Shaping the 21st Century,” notes the date of the featured newspaper in the photograph and the title of a selection of articles and photographs that featured important African American artists, writers, and poets.

See the full poster image.

Minta Maria is an artist and freelance photographer. She received her BA in Journalism from the University of Texas and MFA in Photography & Related Media from the School of Visual Arts. Over the past ten years of developing her art, Minta has had a variety of exhibitions and worked to build upon the themes of memory, tradition, and the fragility of information.

“I love this image for this year’s poster because of two reasons. It’s an image created from text and writing–and it’s graphic as all get out,” said DJ Stout, of design firm Pentagram. “This may be the first time we’ve designed the festival poster around a dynamic image featuring journalism.”

Every year, the Texas Book Festival chooses an artist and work that reflects the spirit of the Texas Book Festival, including imagination, creativity, and community. The artist should have a strong Texas affiliation, and the work should capture the diversity of Texas culture. The incredibly talented team at Pentagram once again designed the Festival poster.

“Selecting a Texas artist to celebrate in our Festival materials is one of my favorite traditions,” says Executive Director Lois Kim. “Visual arts and literary arts go hand in hand in making our lives richer as we get to enjoy the originality and ingenuity of artists making sense of the world through their crafts.

Read the full press release.

Posters and T-shirts featuring the Adrift No. 3 art will be available for purchase at the Texas Book Festival on November 5-6, 2022 in Downtown Austin.

Announcing the 2021 Texas Book Festival poster artist

We are thrilled to announce the 2021 Texas Book Festival poster artist is San Antonio-based artist Clemente Guzman! The selected piece, Viva Texas Rivers!, will also be the cover of a book of essays by the same name from Texas A&M Press. Guzman’s career embodies this love of Texas wildlife and nature, which seems appropriate for 2021 as we have sought solace in our beautiful state, as well as in books.

See the full poster image

Guzman was a Texas Parks and Wildlife staff artist from 1988-2017. Career highlights include producing five Texas Conservation license plates (White-tailed Deer, Largemouth Bass, Camping, Diamondback Rattlesnake, and Lucifer Hummingbird), thirty-three Texas game stamps, and illustrated posters for the Texas Wildlife Expo, Great Texas Birding Classic, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, Texas Game Warden Memorial, and Texas State Railroad. Guzman was the Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio poster winner, 1992, 1995, 2002 and the California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest winner, Sacramento, California, 2012.

Though Guzman was born in Martinez, California, he has always considered himself a Texan. “Three months before I was born, my family left Doss, Texas, as my dad was a cowboy looking for work in California,” he says. “Soon after I was born, we returned to Doss. I should have been born in Fredericksburg. We moved to San Antonio when I was in first grade.” Guzman currently lives and works in San Antonio and is honored to be selected as the 2021 Texas Book Festival poster artist. To learn more about Clemente, his love and respect for the natural world that he paints, and the poster image, check out this TBF interview with Clemente Guzman. Read the full press release here.

As always, we will have Festival shirts and posters for sale during the Texas Book Festival Weekend, on October 30-31. Please fill out the Festival poster form, and shirts and posters will be shipped in October. Please contact



Get to know our 2021 Festival Poster Artist: Clemente Guzman

Clemente Guzman is the 2021 Texas Book Festival poster artist, and we are honored to feature his work Viva Texas Rivers!. Clemente sat down (virtually) with TBF Deputy Director Claire Burrows to talk about how he became an artist, why he focuses on nature as a subject, and what this particular image means to him.

The Texas Book Festival places great value on the importance and value of storytelling which makes your painting a great choice for our 2021 poster art as the characters in your painting seem to be living different stories at seemingly different points in history.  What stories were you hoping to capture? How did you choose who to represent?

When I started this project in conjunction with the book, I was sent stories from different authors that covered many different rivers, like the Red River, Pecos, Comal, Guadalupe…

There was so much in the stories, that I had to create categories to help create clear ideas: plants and trees, activities, relationships, and many more. These categories helped me see themes that I could depict so that I could show how important the rivers are in Texas.

There was so much to work with, and it became a montage of different stories from different authors from different times. I hope it depicts the past, present, and future of Texas rivers.

What is the message you wanted to convey?

Rivers have supported, entertained, and brought us together. I’m personally so moved by this idea, of rivers bringing everything together.

Why are rivers so important to Texas storytelling?

A lot of the places like the Rio Grande, Guadalupe, and Nueces are being changed and destroyed, and we’re losing our natural habitats. We can’t forget that we’ve connected to the rivers, that’s where we came from.

How did you start painting wildlife and nature?

My first painting was actually in seventh or eighth grade, it was a sparrow on a branch. My dad was trying to get me to learn refrigeration as a career, but when I showed him the picture, he liked it a lot. He was impressed.

My family moved to Minnesota, and we worked in the fields. There are a lot of wildlife artists in Minnesota and galleries full of wildlife paintings. I would go to those galleries and be inspired by all this beautiful artwork.

Then a friend introduced me to artist Mario Fernandez, who paints lots of eagles and songbirds. I went to his house and he had original paintings, maybe 25 paintings, all over the house. On the couch, leaning against the walls, everything. I thought, “I could do this. I could make a living as an artist like him.”

What is your artistic process?

When I first start a project, I don’t know what it’s going to look like, I can’t visualize it. I do lots of research to educate myself. I have to learn about the markings of animals at different stages of their lives and where they migrate. I look at lots of other artist renditions of the animals and plants to see how other people have depicted them.

Then I start with simple sketches until I’m happy with the final layout. Then I scan the final sketch into the computer where I keep working on it and adding color.

Each process is a little different, but overall I try to put stories together then simplify. Key is learning how to simplify so it makes sense to someone else looking at it. I try to see it through other people’s eyes.

What is a memorable book or story from your childhood?

I remember a copy of Little Red Riding Hood. It had a bright red cover, beautiful drawings, and simple text. Two other books that stand out to me due to the art are The Fox and the Grapes and Curious George.

We all learn differently, and when I was in elementary school I learned visually and drew lots of pictures, paying attention to details.

What do you like to read today?

About twelve to thirteen years ago, I started studying my family’s genealogy. It started because my grandmother wanted to know more about her father’s family, where did they come from, what were they like. I said, I don’t know but I’ll try to find out. It can be overwhelming, but very interesting, tracing back.

Right now I’m reading Of Texas Rivers & Texas Art by Andrew Sansom.

What else would you like people to know?

I would like everyone to go outside and enjoy a river in your town. Pay respect, enjoy nature. Think, “my ancestors use to work here, live here, swim here.” Simply just go out and appreciate the river. If we all do that, I think we would do more for protecting our natural world.