Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Paint it Black and Post it Up

July 14th, 2009

In honor of the awesome Reverend Horton Heat show I'm about to see tonight, I'd like to talk a little about rock concert posters.

I love rock posters. The in-your-face artwork coupled with clean lines and bright colors catch my eye every time. A lot of the posters that I like are screenprinted or made to look like they are using PhotoShop effects (like grunge erasers or brushes). As in my own art, I appreciate the blending of modern and traditional technique.

Here are a few from The Rev that I like:
Any poster (not just a rock poster) has to be evocative. It has to draw in the viewer and provoke a response, and it only has a fraction of second to do so. In my case, the poster on the far right in the photo was enough to bring me to a complete stop while skateboarding by The Knitting Factory downtown. It instilled me with a strong desire to drink alcohol and rock out. A concert poster has the to make the viewer feel the music and want to see the show, or in the case of collector posters, remind them of a show they've already seen.

If you are designing a poster for a rock show, chances are that you'll choose a black and red color combination. Just for fun, I did a little sniffing around online to find out why this is such a popular choice. I already knew that black has associations with death and evil, and red is associated with blood, passion and sin.

What I didn't know, (or didn't remember from Social Studies class) is that red and black are heavily associated with socialist movements and anarchism. The Wikipedia told me the following things (thank you wikipedia, for you are a kind and generous god): "After the rise of socialism in the mid-19th century, red was used to describe revolutionary movements. Red and black are colors associated with anarchism, and, specifically, anarcho-syndicalism. Also, Black and Red, was a radical Marxist printers/publishers group that Fredy Perlman was involved with." So it makes sense that rock and roll music, which was considered highly radical and subversive when it first emerged, would carry associations with other fringe groups (fringe like on-the-edge, not fringe like cowboys).

As a recovering a goth/punk kid, I have a predominantly black wardrobe peppered with plaid and the occasional shiny vinyl. I could say that I'm just naturally drawn to these things, but it's more likely that I've been socially conditioned to liking them based on who I choose to hang out with and the music I listen to. I blame Johnny Cash and the Victorians for the black clothes. I'm not sure where to place the blame for plaid, but someone needs to take the fall for a pattern that flatters absolutely no one. Anyway, now I'm off topic. In keeping with tonight's rockin' theme, I made myself a black polka dot mini-dress that I will combine with cherry-red accessories. I'll also be attempting giant, rockabilly, pin-up girl style hair.

Photos should be up tomorrow for those who like a good laugh.

Further reading:
Rockpostercollector.com is a fantasical site to check out tons of collector-quality posters. If you are just interested in looking at the artwork and not in owning an original, there are some great poster anthologies available at most bookstores. Check out The Art of Modern Rock or Swag 2: Rock Posters of the '90s and Beyond.

1 comment:

greg said...

and it was a blast!!