Since earning my degree in art I have been trying to find my voice as an artist. My whole life I have enjoyed creating art then once I hit awkward puberty I found solace in music and learning to play guitar. So it seemed like such a natural direction for my art to incorporate the music that has impacted my life. Here are some of the details of my journey to reinvent the rock poster.
Rock N Roll Posters Of The Past
Rock ‘n’ roll-inspired art of the past mostly consists of concert or gig posters. Many of these posters have vibrant, psychedelic, rad artwork but at the same time lack any ACCURATE visual representation of who the band really is or what their music sounds like.
Another defective attribute of most rock posters is being cluttered with specific concert information such as the venue, date, opening acts, where to buy tickets, and even when the doors open. If you attended the concert for which a poster was created then there is significance in having the concert info on the poster; but if not, all that information means NOTHING and in many cases it takes away from the art itself.
Many other gig posters have rather cliché images. Rock ‘n’ roll is so much more than skulls, the middle finger, and half-naked, big-breasted, devil women. This is why I am driven to reinvent the rock poster; to truly capture the essence of each band and the music they create.
The Creative Process
15 – 35 hours researching the band, reading through the lyrics of every song, collecting a wide range of photo reference of the band and their original album artwork, watching music videos & live performances and brainstorming concepts & themes relevant to the band and their music. Doing such in depth research helps to create a visually accurate representation of the band and their music.
35 – 60 hours creating the detailed drawings, puzzle-piecing the drawings together in Photoshop, arranging & tweaking the composition and hand drawing the text.
10 – 15 hours creating background textures by painting and collaging photo reference.
15 – 30 hours enhancing the background textures and adding digital color.
The average piece takes me 75 hours to complete, however on a few pieces I have spent roughly 140 hours.
Symbolism & Hidden Meaning
With each piece I create I strive to truly capture the essence of the band through imagery, lyrics and the overall concept. In several of these band posters you will see original album artwork incorporated into the piece. Almost all of the text in each piece is lyrically based. Usually the more you are familiar with the history of the band and their music, the more you will understand the symbolism and appreciate the subtle nuances within my work. Here are just a few examples:
I knew before I even started my Zeppelin piece that I wanted it to have a mystical feeling. As I dove into my research I quickly realized that Tarot cards would make the perfect foundation on which to build. The “Stairway to Heaven” illustration of the “Zoso”booklet obviously derives from The Hermit Tarot card. Below, you can see how the Tarot deck influenced this piece.
In “The Beatles – Lonely Hearts, Rubber Soul & Magical Yellow Submarine Tour” you will see a walrus sitting on a mushroom smoking a hookah, here is how that imagery came about…
When John Lennon wrote the lyrics to the song “I Am The Walrus” he based it on the poem “The Walrus And The Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll. Lewis Carroll is best known for writing Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. In Alice in Wonderland there is a part where Alice comes across a caterpillar sitting on a mushroom smoking a hookah…. hence, the walrus on the mushroom smoking the hookah is born.
The hookah also ties in nicely with the sitar since both originate from the India – Persia region.
In “Radiohead – The King of Limbs” you will notice 3 white mice in the tree towards the top of the image, they are each doing a different dance move inspired by Thom’s Lotus Flower dance.
In “Pearl Jam – If Not For Love I Would Be Drowning” there is original album artwork from all of PJ’s nine studio albums from Ten to Backspacer.
In “U2 – Where Is The Hope And Where Is The Faith And The Love” you will see a demolished building to the left, in the middle of the wall there is a deteriorated spot. The shape of this spot is Ireland (the island not the republic) which is of course U2’s native land.