Poster day, focusing on music rather than anything else
. Aesthetic Apparatus
design the kind of super slick, design-intensive posters that you can imagine framed on the wall of a large loft-style space. That's not a criticism, but the studio's aesthetic
does seem to inhabit the grey area between analogue and digital - fetishising the bright colours, imperfect alignments and thick ink of the screen-printing process while also owing a debt to the clip-art friendly, Mac-based graphics of the past decade.
The one-off gig poster has undergone something of a revival in recent years, making it the fly-poster's equivalent of vinyl (in direct opposition to the sterile, tissue-thin bulk-printed output of the major venues: the compact disc of the poster world). Artwork is lavish and runs are limited
. Websites abound. The Underground Art
of Marco Almera is what happens when design veers towards Day-glo, while Methane Studios
are fully immersed in the analogue/digital paradox, with a website that even looks like a handbill. This is a peculiarly American tradition, melding the pop sensibility of Warhol and Lichtenstein with the collage elements of punk, not to mention the dynamic layouts of stock car and demolition derby graphics, all finished off with the crisp, screen-printed aesthetic that is also a hallmark of early Quark/Photoshop layouts. Gigposters
has a huge collection (over 10,000), and invites submissions from bands, labels, venues and collectors to maintain its archives. Here you'll find everything from relatively mainstream (I
) to bands and venues you are guaranteed to have never heard of (I
, too many to mention).
That punk and post-punk music should have developed a poster tradition is all the more unusual given punk's stated desire to sweep away the aural and visual excesses of the 60s and 70s. Of course, the best-known rock posters remain the luminous psychedelic graphics produced on the West Coast during the heyday of the hippy movement (again, on-line resources are pretty spectacular, in particular I
). Swirling, intense graphics and lettering, with patterns and colours were seemingly derived from acid-trip visuals, made these posters stand out (this
has often been dubbed the first psychedlic poster) and remain influential (not to mention highly collectable
Strangely, this kind of thing just never really took off in the UK, and certainly not in the post-punk era. Even more unusually, British bands touring the US were frequently granted the design-poster treatment (I
), gracing them with an aesthetic that they could barely have carried off back home.