Announcing the 2017 Texas Book Festival Poster and Featured Artist

With much fanfare and excitement, we are thrilled to unveil the official 2017 Texas Book Festival poster! Each year, our committee gathers to consider the work of Texas artists and discuss the artistic vision for the annual Festival. We’re happy to announce this year’s poster artist is Joel SalcidoAustin-based photographer and author of the new book, The Spirit of Tequila. His stunning image of a pitayo cactus at sunset evokes the wide-open sense of possibility and awe that draws us west and south to the limitless vistas of Texas and beyond: the same feeling we have each time we open a good book.

“For this photograph to be at the forefront of this year’s Book Festival is an absolute joy and somewhat surreal. Being selected as the Texas Book Festival’s 2017 artist is a true honor for which I’m incredibly grateful.” – Joel Salcido


Salcido explains the origin of the photograph in his forthcoming book, The Spirit of Tequila (Trinity University Press, November 2017): 

“I arrived in Atotonilco el Alto, in the highlands of Jalisco, home of some of the best tequila distilleries, where the iron-rich soil, elevation, and climate favor the blue agave plants. Standing guard to the agave fields is the pitayo cactus, which eventually morphs into a spiny tree bearing the exotic pitaya fruit. Most of Mexico’s beauty is entrusted to ancient and adolescent landscapes where sunlight, blue agaves, and the pitayos claim their territorial majesty.”

Joel Salcido grew up with one foot in Mexico and the other in the United States. He was a staff photographer for the El Paso Times and has also traveled extensively in Latin America for USA Today. He has received numerous awards, including several for his coverage of life in Cuba and inhalant abuse on the U.S.-Mexico border. His images appear in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the El Paso Museum of Art, the University of Texas Harry Ransom Humanities Center, and the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University. Additional acquisitions have been made by the Federal Reserve Bank, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. The image from this book, Atotonilco el Alto, is in Mexico’s National Art Heritage Series.

The Spirit of Tequila includes nearly ninety photographs that reveal not only the tequila-making process but also the culture and traditions of the region where it’s made. Joel Salcido traveled across Jalisco and neighboring Mexican states capturing images of distilleries and artisanal tequileras, including blue agave fields at sunset, the agave’s pineapple-like centers (piñas), elegantly shadowed barrel rooms (añejos), and the agave farmers themselves. The result is a celebration of the tradition and culture of this iconic drink. The book will be available in November.

Many thanks to this year’s poster committee, and to DJ Stout and his team at Pentagram, for their input into the selection process and for creating the final poster. The 2017 poster will be available at this year’s Texas Book Festival, taking place in Austin November 4-5. We’ll see you there!