PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Reviews

The Power of Print: 'OMG Posters'

Poster for a Spoon concert from OMG Posters

Poster art is in a renaissance right now; OMG Posters: A Decade of Rock Art proves why.


OMG Posters: A Decade of Rock Art

Publisher: Regan Arts
Length: 208 pages
Author: Mitch Putnam
Price: $50.00
Format: Paperback
Publication date: 2016-10-11
Amazon
“For this book, I’ve decided to focus solely on concert posters. They are a completely unique art form -- drawn, printed (many by hand), hung, and sold to commemorate a one-night event in a single city. It’s hard to get more niche than that. So it’s surprising that these posters are often done by some of the world’s most talented illustrators and designers.”

-- Mitch Putnam

“If my work only lived digitally, I don’t think I would be interested in making it. Honestly, the printing is what brings each piece to life.”

-- Jason Munn

“I’ve always been drawn to art that had text on it.”

-- Emek

OMG Posters: A Decade of Rock Art, like much of the art contained within its covers, makes an immediate statement. An oversized book in paperback form, it smartly uses its size to convey the power of the printed poster. Throughout the book, Mitch Putnam, founder of the site OMG Posters and curator of the book, and artists repeatedly make the point that seeing the posters online is no comparison to seeing them in full-sized printed form. So while the art itself is showcased, the poster format is also celebrated.

Olly Moss, one of the most successful and recognizable talents in poster art today, writes in a foreword that he'd never really been drawn to posters until he was offered work by Putnam six years ago. It was in seeing the caliber of work that already existed in the medium that he realized it's "A test of everything: color, composition, communication, typography, and draftsmanship." It's almost impossible to imagine that Moss' creative talents may not have included poster work if not for Putnam -- though he now notes it's his "best-loved form of design" -- yet Moss stands as an excellent example of why poster art is as dynamic and striking as any other art form.

The book is divided by artist, opening with the same four questions posed to all, and then a portfolio-like selection of each artist’s work. The questions cover influences, early projects, the creative process, and what attracts these artists to do this kind of work. They’re standard questions that still manage to reveal a great deal, especially when taken as a whole. Influences run the gamut from Robert Crumb to Saul Bass to René Magritte; similarly, the styles represented are as varied and distinct. Answers are sometimes sarcastic, sometimes serious, but always convey something about the creator that also comes through in the art.

The work displayed is smart and thoughtful, choices that represent the artists chosen well, and also point to the level of creativity allowed in the medium. Brian Ewing is one artist who notes that freedom is part of what draws him to making posters. Having few restrictions, apart from format and the need to include specific concert information, allows for a much looser and inspired process that results in a true commitment to the work, and ultimately comes through in the finished product.

The question on the creative process is of particular interest as several artists mention taking the time to become familiar with the band or artist they’re creating for. Making that kind of visceral link between subject and artist is what makes so many of the posters connect beyond the informational advertising aspect. As certain artists develop relationships, a unique visual language is created, such as in Jay Ryan’s work with Andrew Bird. Ryan’s whimsical animals are a perfect complement to Bird’s own imaginative and fanciful music.

Interestingly, the idea to focus on concert posters brings to the fore the work of several artists more well-known for their movie and television poster work. Artists such as Aaron Horkey, Tom Whalen, and Tyler Stout have carved out a place in reimagining films and TV shows such as '80s classics, horror films, and Disney and Pixar movies. Their work in representing bands is just as imaginative and expressive, including a level of detail that belies the traditional one-off poster or flyer tradition that many may be more familiar with.

In fact, Putnam has been instrumental in re-infusing poster art with the kind of enthusiasm and energy that’s made fans rabid to collect limited releases and make books like this one possible. The level of artistry that’s consistently on display is wonderfully eclectic -- from the hyper-realistic to the cartoon-inspired to the minimalist design -- yet the connecting theme of concert posters is useful in highlighting these differences to beautiful effect.

OMG Posters: A Decade of Rock Art is more than a coffee table book, but rather it’s an excellent introduction to some of the most influential and respected artists in the field. It’s also a terrific sampling of some truly gorgeous art that, as artist Dan Grzeca mentions, is affordable to many. The care that obviously went into putting together the book and choosing the art pays off beautifully in showcasing posters in as close to actual form as possible. Poster art is in a renaissance right now; OMG Posters: A Decade of Rock Art proves why.

8

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.