Read on to find out how a new generation of designers and printers have taken concert posters from the promotional realm into the world of collectible fine art.
The contemporary music poster is part ad, part merchandise, and part fine-art print. It's produced in small quantities, signed and numbered by the artists, and sold at art shows as a limited-edition piece. The more famous posters, by established artists such as Frank Kozik, Jeff Wood, Jermaine Rogers, Emek, Art Chantry, Linsay Kuhn, Jay Ryan, and a host of others, are available in galleries, from the artists' Websites, secondary print markets, or eBay, where rare prints sell for thousands of dollars and counterfeits are starting to turn up. Today's poster artists are the second wave of the rock-art movement, taking up the torch from the likes of Mouse, Kelly, Hipgnosis, and others from the 1960s and '70s.
United by the Internet
The growing number of individuals and design groups who produce gigposters are scattered in cities and towns across the US, Canada, and other countries. You may know some of them in your area, or they may work in your shop or for one of the graphic-design firms that give you work. They could be anywhere there is a music venue that needs posters--in big cities producing posters for local club and coliseum events or in small towns printing posters for bands and events all over the world.
The artists behind this movement have become linked and united in the past few years by the Internet, mostly through a Website called--what else--gigposters.com. The site is operated by Clayton Hayes, an enterprising fan of the rock poster from Calgary, Canada. Hayes, a Web designer and musician, launched the site in 2001 and watched it grow into a virtual club-house with 34,500-plus posters on file from more than 3100 artists and designers worldwide.
"I am so excited every time I log onto gigposters.com and see the volume of new art and artists who are getting into the field," says Leia Bell, a Salt Lake City, UT-based artist. "When I began, I had no idea there were so many people out there doing the same thing as me, because I was the only one I knew of in my town. I knew all the big-name artists, of course, but when I finally discovered gigposters.com, I was blown away by all the different styles, methods, and areas of the world where poster art was making a comeback."
Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to the magazine.