Cincinnati’s buildings, history inspire artist James Billiter

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Framed prints of Cincinnati landmarks cover the walls of James Billiter’s studio. Precise, two-dimensional renderings of the Roebling Suspension Bridge, Union Terminal, Music Hall, a mix of Victorian and Art Deco architecture in striking black and gold with a vein of turquoise running through.

They could be vintage posters announcing the opening of the new Carew Tower or advertising one of the city’s many international expos.

But they are Billiter’s own designs, inspired by his passion for Cincinnati’s culture and history. The city is his muse.

A graphic designer by trade, he developed his own style of architectural illustrations coupled with stylized typography that emulates the appropriate era.

A gallery wall includes frames screen prints, metal prints, laser wood cuts and other example of James Billiter’s work at Billiter Studio in the Walnut Hills neighborhood of Cincinnati on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021.

“It’s nice to tinker and expand and experiment with different aesthetics and maybe slightly evolve,” Billiter said from his space at Essex Studio in Walnut Hills. “I call it fine design, where you’re elevating graphic design and making it more about artwork.”

In his hands, Cincinnati appears classy yet fresh. What he hopes are inspiringly beautiful graphic art pieces that really capture the landmarks. His goal is to create affordable art prints that can be accessible to everyone.