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lost in for hours. Searching books and the interne m one piece to another, the inspiration and artist’s achment to each piece is remarkable. The broad sp rules of design make it a world where the mind o the canvas. rMusic touches us all whether we c pt it or not. The sounds and tunes that travel to bring you right back to your first love, your fav ub or even the time you mooned a passing car from your highschool bus. The point is, music speaks in own to all and has a deep impact on our emotion g Posters are the closest thing we have to a visual m PRELUDE

Gig Poster design has always been a favorite

art form of mine to get lost in for hours. Searching

books and the internet to jump from one piece to another.

The inspiration and artist’s emotional attachment to each

piece is remarkable. The broad spectrum and few rules of design

make it a world where the mind can really spill onto the canvas.

Music touches us all whether we can consciously accept it or not.

The sounds and tunes that travel to your ears can bring you right back to your first love, your favorite Irish Pub or even the time you mooned a passing car from the back of your highschool bus. The point is, music speaks in a language known to all and has a deep impact on our emotions and memories. Gig Posters are the closest thing we have to a visual manifestation of the songs which rang out through our most memorable concert surrounded by friends and family alike.


et to jump emotional pectrum and can really spill can consciously o your ears vorite Irish m the back a language ns and memories. manifestation of the songs

SEX, DRUGS & ROCK’N POSTERS

4

Thesis

6

History

10

Purpose

11

Production

13

Interviews

17

Reflections

21

Conclusion

23

Works Cited


THESIS

As all other art forms evolve and mold alongside its corresponding era, Gig Poster design stands above the test of time and lends itself rather into a realm that abides only to the evolution of music. 4

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art


Artist: Car l Lundgre n | Venue: psychadelic Grande B art.com allroom

| Bill: Jam

es Cotton,

MC5


HISTORY

So, where’d these things come from?

P

osters have been used for

artists of the time such as. Renowned

years frequently as tools of

for their “psychadelic” use of bright

the

colors

advertising

world.

The

and

organic

forms,

these

beginnings of Gig Poster art fell into

individuals quickly became contracted

this category and quickly set off on a

to

journey of it’s own.

upcoming concerts. “The posters they

produce

posters

advertising

created as advertising for rock concerts “The San Francisco music and cultural scene of the 1960s produced some of the most legendary rock bands of all time…”1 Along with legendary musicians, there came legendary

...these individuals quickly became contracted to produce posters advertising upcoming concerts.

… were innovative in their use of color and design, and became a new art form all their own.”1 During the early to mid-seventies, other

forms

of

media

began

to

surface, pushing Gig Posters aside as the standards means of advertising upcoming concerts to the general public.1 The art of Gig Posters did not cease however. The purpose in which the posters were made for merely shifted. Gig Posters were being Artist: Wes W ilson | Venue: The Fillmore | blog.hippiecou Bill: Grateful De ture.com ad

6

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art


HISTORY produced more for merchandising than for advertising.1 An underground movement in music brought Gig Posters back into the advertising light. “… a new generation of garage bands prized energy and social relevance over exceptional musical ability.  The music would come to be

Artist: Unk

own | Venu

e: Finsbu

ry Park |

Bill: Iggy

Pop, Sex

known as punk, and as the progression

mainstream

continued, its sibling New Wave was

media.

born.”1 In efforts to diverge from the

of concert advertisement through Gig

mainstream music scene, punk shows

Posters, came a new style of poster.

were often closely advertised within

“…the art they created for their 8 1/2

the area in which the band resided.

x 11 punk fliers was often as raw as

Gig Posters resurfaced as the perfect

the music itself.  Anyone with access

medium to advertise these shows,

to a Xerox machine could produce all

deflecting any outside influence of

the black-and-white art they needed to

With

the

Pistols, B uzzcocks punkflyer .com

rebirth

blanket every telephone pole and wall in town.”1 The modern day media and advertising world

has

just

about

completely

detached advertising purpose from Gig Posters once again.

In doing so

however, the Gig Poster world today is flourishing with new artists creatings posters as prestigious works of art rather than means of advertisement. “As their best, the new generation of gig poster artists create images that transcend commercial purpose and graphic design, attaining the status of 1

e nue: Florentin

wn | Ve Artist: Unko ds.com skinniesrecor

| Bill: Misfi Gardens, L.A.

ts

“Pipe Creek Posters”

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art

7


HISTORY true art.”2 “What has come to be known as the Silkscreen Movement traces its origins to Texas, where, in the 1980s, a vibrant music scene needed fliers and posters to promote shows for the local bands.”1 The process of silkscreening was soon adopted by many other poster artists due the small investment in reusable materials needed, yielding a “high quality – small quantity” output.

Over the past 40 years, concert posters have become increasingly sought after and collectible. In addition to their intrinsic value as compelling cultural artifacts, some concert posters have proven to be wise investments. Some posters, including many originally distributed for free, sell today for hundreds (and, in rare cases, even thousands) of dollars.

- Nels Jacobson

1

8

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art

3

“Pipe Creek Posters” 2 “Wilde” 3 “Jacobson”


HISTORY

The ghosts of Gig Poster past. The Fillmore

The Birthplace of Gig Posters

collectible potential of the posters. “This venue bred the first collectible Gig Posters this world has seen.”4

Wes Wilson

human-highway.com

la2day.com

The Father of Gig Posters

Live At The Fillmore by Neil Young: Album cover artwork.

I

n 1965, Bill Graham presented his first show at the Fillmore: A benefit

for the San Francisco Mime Troupe.4 As a rock venue, the Fillmore quickly became a legend, and Graham went on to feature many of the greatest names in early rock history, including Big Brother and the Holding Co., Jefferson Airplane, Cream, Moby Grape, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and the list goes on and on. The soon-to-be famous posters created to advertise the shows at the Fillmore and were handed out for free. The imaginative style of the art often reflected the music and very quickly established itself as one of the most recognizeable graphic forms of the time. The public also realized the

Wes Wilson at the opening of the Family Dog Exhibit hosted by Jack Gallery.

T

he father of the ’60s rock concert poster, Robert Wesley Wilson self-

published his first poster in 1965.5 Little did Wilson know at the time, this poster would be the start to a long a prospering career in creating the foundation for Gig Posters. “Wes Wilson single-handedly pioneered what is now known as the psychedelic poster. His style of filling all available space with lettering, of creating fluid forms made from letters, and using flowing letters to create shapes became the standard that most psychedelic artists followed.”5 Scream Online” Snap 2 Objects”

4“ 5“

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art

9


PURPOSE

Why are they still being made?

F

torontette.com

rom

the

days

of

Ludwig

on tour and you will undoubtedly not

Beethoven to the modern

hear the word “poster.” Gig Posters

festivals such as Bonnaroo,

today are created aside from the

musical concerts have been occuring

fact of advertising concerts to the

since the first set of notes made their

general consumer. Gig Posters today

way into the ears of an audience.

are instead created as works of art to

After all, what is music without the

forever seal that single concert into

oppurtunity to “feel” the music first-

the time capsule of history. Highly

hand at a concert or performance?

collectable, Gig Posters have taken

Furthermore, what would a concert

on a life of their own as pieces of true

be if no one knew when to show up

art. “Over the past 40 years, concert

for the party? Here is the niche in

posters have become increasingly

which Gig Posters were born.

sought after and collectible.”1 Printed in limited supply, it is a hunt and a

10

Ask anyone today how they were

challenge for fans and connoisseurs

informed

artist

alike to get their hands on a piece of

performing localy or coming to town

musical history. Where sound waves

come and go, Gig Posters last a

of

their

favorite

They are just awesome works of modern art.

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art

lifetime and then some. 3

“Jacobson”


PRODUCTION

It’s all in the technique. via a two or three spot color offset job. Room for customization within the offest printing process also made it ideal for jobs of all sizes and colors. This method still remains in high use today as well. The low cost and high output make the process prime for larger jobs in todays

F

printing. However, the larger the g-mark.or g

job is, the less of a collectible the

rom the early

poster may become. It’s a give and

days of raw, black and white

take relationship when using offset

xeroxed

flyers

slapped

against

an inner city telephone pole, to

printing between qualtiy, quantity and collectibility.

the modern days of superb and posters

During the underground revolution

mounted and framed, artists from all

of the punk rock music scene,

around have been creating avant-

friends and band members stepped

garde momentos of the concert

up to the helm as designers and

experience

art directors. Studios became the

exclusive

silk-screened

through

any

means

backs of copying centers while

possible.

outsourced printing transformed into The earliest of methods in which Gig

posters

were

created

self-manipulated

was

through the use of an offset press. The

psychadelic

nature

of

Gig

Posters throughout the sixties and early seventies could easily be accomplished efficiently at low cost mages.com

. Courtesy gettyi

topher Robbins

Photo by Chris

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art

11


PROCESS Xerox compositions. Layouts were

The process is a time consuming

compiled through a physical cut and

method involving spot color inks,

paste-up process. The resulting raw,

burned screens and squeegees.

contrasting, black and white flyers

Screens are created for each color

closely reflected the style and mood

to be printed in the design. Once

of the music it was advertising.

the screen is created, it is used to print the corresponding color on

The modern method of producing

each sheet of the edition one at

Gig Posters is done using a process

a time using a squeege to smear

called screen printing. This method

the ink through the screen onto the paper. Once the first color has been screen printed onto all pages, the process is repeated for each color of the design with drying time inbetween each print. It easy to see what differentiates a high quality collectible Gig Poster from an average amatuer concert flyer. The printing and construction process plays a large part in the value of these musical momentos.

g and Signs rburn Screen Printin sherburnsigns.com

Joe Sherburn of She

is very hands-on and creates a high-quality

product.

Screen

printed posters are often printed in a set edition quantity and signed by the artist making them a highly collectible piece of music history. Permaset Aqua Fab ric and Screen Pri nting Ink utrechtart.com

12

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art


INTERVIEWS

From the lips of professionals. I

took the effort of reaching out to

pertainging to Gig Posters and art

some professional poster artists,

in general. Read ahead to find out

both long time veterans as well as

some insight into thier influences,

a fairly new artist, and asked them

processes and take on the evolution

their opinions on certain topics

of the Gig Poster.

27 years experience

James Davis www.giantsumo.com

Frank Kozik www.fkozik.com

9 years experience

30 years experience

Nelswww.jagmo.com Jacobson

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art

13


INTERVIEWS

KOZIK

DAVIS

JACOBSON

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GENRE OF MUSIC? Old sludgy metal and current doom rock.

01

I’m a big fan of music and enjoy all types. My ipod has mostly singles on it. Everything from Neko Case to Slipknot. There’s a lot of alternative and hard rock on there. No favorite really.  But I am a big fan of reggae, blues, jazz, all varieties of rock, African, bluegrass, folk, classical . . .

02

DO YOU FIND IT MORE CHALLENGING WORKING ON POSTER ART FOR ARTISTS OUTSIDE YOUR FAVORITE GENRE? In the case it was  a band that did music I didnt like or understand I would pass on the job. Yes and No. I always like a challenge. It’s always interesting to me to go from designing something for Slayer to having to create something for Tim McGraw. Keeps you on your toes. No.  The design is the thing, whoever or whatever it’s for.

WHO DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE AN INFLUENTIAL ARTIST TO YOU? Way to many people to count. Lots of old illustrators, weird photgraphs, old movies, objects. Lots of old advertising art and propaganda posters. There are many, but it’s gotta be Andy Warhol. Among my influences are Guy Juke, El Lissitzky, Danny Garrett and Micael (sic) Priest – 3 Texas artists and a Russian.

14

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art

03


INTERVIEWS

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GENRE OF MUSIC? old sludgy metal and current doom rock.

04

I’m a big fan of music and enjoy all types. My ipod has mostly singles on it. Everything from Neko Case to Slipknot. There’s a lot of alternative and hard rock on there. No favorite really.  But I am a big fan of reggae, blues, jazz, all varieties of rock, African, bluegrass, folk, classical . . .

05

WHAT METHODS DO YOU USE TO PRODUCE YOUR POSTERS? Pretty much all formats. In the earliest years it was all xeroxed; since that was all that could be aforded. Then as it got rolling 1, 2, 3 then 4 color offset. Then I transitioned to silkcreened large format posters anywhere from 1-25 colors. It all got more elaborate as time went on. When I first started, they were offsets. Now I do screen prints. Everything is outsourced. Someday, I want to try my hand at screen printing. For now I leave it to Steve at D&L Screen printing in Seattle. He’s the master. My designs are screen printed, offset printed, or laser printed.  This printing is outsourced, but whenever possible I am present during the printing process so that I can control the finished product.  In regard to the creation of the design, before the introduction of programs like Photoshop and Illustrator. I have used pen and ink, x-acto blades, rubon letters and photocopiers... Today, despite all the new tools at our disposal, I still prefer to create the initial design for a poster with pen and ink and x-acto blade.  Once a design is polished enough, I scan it, and then finish it on the computer.  The method of printing will depend on my budget.

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art

15


INTERVIEWS

N YOUR EXPERIENCE, HAVE YOU WITNESSED A CHANGE IN CONCERT POSTER ART STYLE AND/OR PRODUCTION METHODS OVER TIME? Yes. It went from non digital (hand done layouts, color plates, hand set type, etc.) cutting seperations with rubylith to computer generated seperations. Some of the more pleasing ‘organic’ energy is gone now, but computers and digital work make it much much faster, cheaper and more efficient. What would take a full week to lay out in 4 colors now can be done in literally 10 minutes. That’s what’s cool about gig posters. You pretty much have every art style represented now. There are illustrators, graphic designers, font designers, painters, etc. I think screen printing came back strong and is the preferred medium, but you still see a lot of offset stuff. Yes.  Today there is a much broader spectrum of acceptable styles than there was 40 years ago; and a large percentage of today’s posters are screen printed – often signed and numbered.  Prior to the late nineties, the vast majority of posters were offset printed.  Many of the most accomplished and popular young poster artists working today... produce their posters themselves, whether by the screening printing process, letterpress or even using stencils and spray paint.

Thanks for the insight! 16

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art

06


REFLECTIONS

Check out my Gig Posters! S

o

after

browsing,

all

my

research,

exploring

of music being advertised rather

and

than than the time period in which it

other terminologies for diving in

was constructed. The band I chose

and learning something, I felt it

to advertise is Pink Floyd. during

nessecary to create a few Gig

their seventies tour to promote

Posters of my own to gain an even

their

further understanding of just what

Their music style is reminant of

kind of effort an artist needs to

experimental electronica with the

put out to create a quality poster.

solid roots of classic rock. The three

I created three Gig Posters. Each

styles in which I decided to depict

poster is from a different style but

the Gig Posters are psychadeclic,

advertising the same band. I feel that

typographic and punk rock. Which

these visuals would further prove my

one do you think best suits the band

thesis, exclaiming that Gig Poster

and their music?

newest

album,

“Animals.”

design relates directly to the style

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art

17


I call it, “Punk Floyd.” This style was meant to be remeniscnet of the photocopy flyer days of the underground punk rock scene. I feel that the poster came out great, but it just dosen’t speak to me in the language of Pink Floyd. I would go to this show expecting raw, fast punk rock, not experimental pshychadelic rock.

18

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art


This Gig Poster design is designed after some of the more recent indy bands style. Through heavy use of typography and graphic symbols, these ‘typographic’ posters seem to have an intellectual curve to them. I do not think this style is a perfect fit for the sounds of Pink Floyd, but I would also say it is plausible.

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art

19


My pshychadelic rendition of the original Floyd-5 has to be my favorite out of the three Gig Posters I designed. I feel that the organic lines lends itself to the experimental nature of the bands music. The factory silhouette at the bottom ties together with the solid structure of classic rock music that is woven throughout their music as well. It’s structured, yet free. This is what I feel Pink Floyd’s music is all about.

20

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art


CONCLUSION

What have we learned boys and girls? In conclusion of my Gig Poster

you see a psychadelic Gig Poster

journey through time and style, I

you won’t say to yourself, “Man,

have gained a wealth of knowledge.

that’s a pretty sweet 60’s poster.”

Where Gig Posters started, how are

but rather, “Man, thats a pretty sweet

they made, who makes them: these

psychadelic rock poster.” There’s

were all unanswered questions of

music of all sounds, textures and

mine at the beginning of this thesis.

yes, even shapes and colors. I don’t

Furthermore, I feel that through

plan on being let down anytime

my reflection pieces I created after

soon by the future Gig Posters yet

research, I haven proven my thesis

to be created for sensational acts

correct. Gig Posters stand above

the world around. It’s a fantastic art

the test of time and lend themselves

form that I believe will be alive and

rather in a realm that abides only to

reinvented a hundred times over

the evolution of music. The decade

with new styles emerging just as

and/or era does not determine the

new music genres do. The art will

style of the poster, but rather the

live until the day music dies. Do you

music itself. I hope now the next time

think music will die?

Thanks to my professor, Kelly Bennet and a special thanks to you for reading my completed senior thesis of 2010.

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art

21


Photo by Bertrand Paris, France http://www.flickr.com/photos/delgoff/


WORKS CITED

Assembled from the wise words of others •

“Bill Graham and the Fillmore - History.” The Scream Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Jun 2010. <http:// www.thescreamonline.com/art/art3-2/fillmore/history.html >.

“History of the Posters: Part II of II.” Snap 2 Objects. N.p., 04 09 2008. Web. 04 Jun 2010. <http:// www.snap2objects.com/2009/09/04/history-of-the-posters-–-part-ii-of-ii/>.

Jacobson, Nels. “Concert Posters for Collectors by Jagmo.” Jagmo. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jun 2010. <http://jagmo.com/about/index.html>.

“Where Art & Music Come Together.” Pipe Creek Posters. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Jun 2010. <http://www. pipecreekposters.com/rockhistory.htm>.

Wilde, John. “I’ve Died and Gone to Gig Poster Heaven.” Music Blog (2005): n. pag. Web. 03 Jun 2010. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2008/jan/22/ivediedandgonetogigposte>.

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n Posters . The Force Behind Gig Poster Art

23


Over the past 40 years, concert posters have become increasingly sought after and collectible.

- Nels Jacobson

3

a SENIOR THESIS paper written by JOSHUA TITUS


Sex, Drugs and Rockin' Posters