Monday, March 17, 2008


I’m kind of into posters. For the last few years I have been heavily involved with music posters. I don’t make them, but I like to think I know a bit about them. Rock posters have come back into vogue, they’re not just collectibles anymore. They’re actual art pieces. Last weekend Flatstock was in town again for the 6th time. This is where poster artists and printers can get together and sell their wares. There were over 100 artists and so much eye candy your head would spin!

A little history…of course, we know that San Francisco is queen mother when it comes to rock art, but Austin has a rich poster tradition as well. The sixties spawned a plethora of poster art and artists and today the tradition is just as rich, if not more so. Clubs such as the Armadillo World Headquarters, Vulcan Gas Company, Austin Opera House, Liberty Lunch, the Ritz, Emo’s, Club 710, and Stubb’s all have benefited from fabulous poster art all due to poster artists such as Jim Franklin, Gilbert Shelton, Micael Priest, Guy Juke, Kerry Awn, Frank Kozik, Mike Nott, Ric Cruz, Control Rat X, the Art Maggots, Jason Austin, Lyman Hardy, Billy Perkins, Decoder Ring, Mexican Chocolate, and MANY others.

Posters are not only pieces of art, but have replaced the waning LP. (Although there’s been a huge resurgence of LPs in the last few years!) If you’re old enough, you can remember buying an LP and staring at the cover for hours upon hours…the double fold out ones were the best. Today, CDs and downloadable songs have taken over and music posters have taken the place of LP covers. Each artist renders their take on the band or a particular song in their poster. Although it may seem messy to some, I LOVE seeing flyers and posters plastered around town. I immediately look to see who did it and soak in the art.

Next SXSW, check out Flatstock, you will not be disappointed. In the mean time, check out some art on Gigposters or Expresso Beans or check out some books from the Library.

Art of Modern Rock: the Poster Explosion by Paul Grushkin and Dennis King

Swag 2: rock posters of the ‘90s and beyond by Spencer Drate

Swag: rock posters of the ‘90s by Spencer Drate

The Art of the Fillmore, 1966-1971 by Gayle Lemke

Electric Frankenstein: high-energy punk rock & roll poster art by Sal Canzonieri

[thanks to the great poster artist, Nels Jacobson, for poster history details]

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