Since being reincarnated as a designer (I was a hummingbird in my previous life, and Houdini the life before that), every night before going to bed I develop an insatiable appetite for design inspiration, so I prowl the interwebs for the life-blood… mainly in screenprinted form. For the time being, Good Ole Jesse, Billy Badass Perkins, Dirky Boy, JP and Nathan “The Fox” Fox are satisfying my thirst. I carefully selected these few favorites so that you may peruse them at your immediate leisure.
Billy Perkins’s notoriety lies in designing concert posters for the Pixies, Los Lobos, Widespread Panic, Alice in Chains and David Bowie to name a few. Growing up in the 70s, he found inspiration from reading comics… most memorably those drawn by John Buscema, Gene Colan and Jack Kirby. Music and album cover art gained his attention in his teen years… his influences shifted to highly theatrical KISS and Alice Cooper covers. Since then he’s counted on music to conjure up the imagery seen in the posters below.
The first poster, “URSUS MAJOR”, was produced exclusively for Nakatomi, is a 4 color silkscreen and is printed on metallic paper… ahhh, nothing like the screenprinting aesthetic! The type in “Willie Nelson: Alseep at the Wheel” uses a technique used often in 60s and 70s poster design where the type created an organic shape… a notable difference here is that the content is legible. Source. Gorgeous detail and more info on the “The Bold Warrior: Mad Max 2″ poster via slashfilm.com. Want to know more about Billy? Read on.
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My investigations and email communication with Jesse Phillips produced three things, he’s an Austin based artist, a bunch of his work is posted on Flickr and one can purchase his work on gigposters.com and his online store. His work consists of heavily inked, psychedelically colored and mashed pulp, sci fi, zombies and a few other guilty pleasures.
First is a concert poster for a band called Rebilt. While fashioning a pair of 3D glasses you’ll notice that the red text and shapes take on the form of blood. When viewing only the blue ink (close your right eye) you’ll notice the ladies have turned purple and there is no blood to be seen… just dried bones. This simple observation illustrates that Jesse Phillips not only skillfully creates juicy imagery, he throws in concept for added value. Don’t know much about the middle poster except the typography, colors and composition make for a visually digestible and savory meal… I’m a sucker for vegas-style signage. The last poster, designed for a band called the Epoxies is a superb union of pulp and horror, added to it the bright complementary colors for dramatic effect. Check it out on gigposters, color alternates on his portfolio page.
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Dirk Fowler is a fucking master not only in poster design but in graphic design as well… conduct a quick Google search and you’ll quickly pull up all kinds of accolades. He has a clear talent for balancing figure-ground with simple (and sometimes humorous) imagery. The gore in the “Of Montreal” poster below is so simple and clean it makes you wanna chuckle.
Reading up on Dirk I saw no mention of Saul Bass as an influence which I think a lot of his posters reminisce. Maybe it’s because Dirk has such a solid and successful body of work… one gets a sense he’s put alot of development and genuine practice into the craft. One of the more interesting facts about him is that he first began producing some of his posters using an antique press, and still does. Info on Dirk Fowler here and here.
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You might argue this next guy isn’t a poster artist, though he’s illustrated enough amazing magazine covers (The New York Times, WIRED, ESPN magazine, etc…) and holds a special place in our hearts to earn a mention. His name is Nathan Fox, Illustrator and Artist Extraordinaire. He’s done work with Instant Winner Skateboards, is currently making comic book appearances, narrative illustration and gallery work. A major element in his work is movement: car crashes involving well-endowed vixens, mobs of Hollywood actors bum rushing the red carpet, thoughts exploding out of a person’s head all at once, shit flying all over the place… It’s fucked-up and wonderful all at the same time. My favorite piece is a series of skateboards that when aligned create a scene of tattooed female ghosts rising from a horrific car accident. The series is called “Crashed Out Resurrection” and you can view it here. Check out Nathan’s work at www.foxnathan.com.