Courtesy of Amber Share

Since highlighting each U.S. national park, Share has taken the endeavor to the international level. Parks in Canada, the U.K., and Australia have all gotten the Subpar treatment.

J.D. Simkins  – December 18, 2020 | Updated December 21, 2020

home tour logoWildlands is your source for the world of travel, outdoor adventure, conservation, and the stories of those who live wild lives.

We only recommend things we love. If you buy something through our site, we might earn a commission.

Walk into any national park visitor center and you might stumble upon the familiar sight of a souvenir, vintage-style poster depicting a stunning landscape unique to that park.

It was this recognizable style—and a biting sense of humor—that inspired artist Amber Share, who, while perusing Yelp reviews one day about a certain national park, came across a bland one-star criticism that caught her eye.

More Videos From Sunset

“The idea was like a lightning bolt,” said Share, who studied graphic design, fine art, and advertising in college. “I knew I wanted to illustrate all 62 parks, because as a lover of the parks it felt like a good way to challenge my illustration skills, and maybe even learn about some parks I was less familiar with. But I wanted a fun twist to make the project a bit unique.”

Spinning off the style of the aforementioned posters, Share decided to launch a series called Subpar Parks to pair the majesty of scenic locations alongside excerpts from such humorous, glass-half-empty takeaways.

“The only thing to do here is walk around the desert,” reads the wording on Share’s Joshua Tree National Park poster, a Southwestern park the artist is especially fond of due to her preference for warm climates.

Courtesy of Amber Share

“My friends and I joke that I’m a lizard and need the sun and the dry heat to survive,” she said. “If I could, I’d spend all of my free time gallivanting around the Southwest.”

Since highlighting each U.S. national park, Share has taken the endeavor to the international level. Parks in Canada, the U.K., and Australia have all gotten the Subpar treatment. And the international reception?

“It’s been great!” she said. “I think the tone of the humor is a pretty universal one, so it resonates well.”  

Courtesy of Amber Share

Share said she’d like to soon tackle additional U.S. sites, such as national seashores, monuments, and recreation areas. No matter what comes next, it’s safe to say Share never anticipated a project centering on “niche humor for a certain personality type who also happened to love nature” would evolve into an internationally appreciated series.

“It’s gone far beyond what I thought it would ever be,” Share told Sunset. “It resonates with anyone who has ever been in customer-facing roles that have nothing to do with the outdoors and park lovers who love to compare these reviewers’ experiences to their own, which has been really neat.”  

Share’s work, including Subpar Parks prints, postcards, calendars, stickers, and more, is available for purchase through her online store. Posters can also be found on Etsy. So, why not surprise the outdoor lover in your life with some frame-worthy humor?

Keep up with Amber’s latest work on the Subpar Parks Instagram.

Subpar Parks Posters, $20
   

Read the 2021 Gardening Issue

To read: Click on the right and left arrows at the edge of the box to turn pages; to make the text larger, click on the fullscreen icon in the lower-right corner (desktop) or in the center (mobile).

Get one year of Sunset—and all kinds of bonuses—for just $24.95. Subscribe now!