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Rebirth of the Screen-Printed Concert Poster

(February 2005) posted on Mon Feb 14, 2005

Read on to find out how a new generation of designers and printers have taken concert posters from the promotional realm into the world of collectible fine art.

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By Andy MacDougall

Bands use to find designers, designers use it to find bands, and almost everyone uses the forums to stay in touch, pass on information about poster shows and exhibitions, and criticize and praise the latest posters from around the world, look for inspiration, or participate in sometimes rude, oftentimes crude, but always interesting, discourse on music, art, and life. "Gigposters. com is a good example of how the Internet is supposed to work," says Frank Kozik, one of the icons of the movement and the first president of the American Poster Institute (API).

The Art of Modern Rock salutes screen printing

A new book, entitled The Art of Modern Rock: The Poster Explosion, from authors Paul Grushkin and Dennis King, has just been released. It has already been selected as one of the top 10 modern pop-culture books on for 2004. It chronicles the growth of the gigposter art movement from the late 1980s as it leapfrogged and spontaneously erupted across North America and around the world. Visually stunning, well written, and destined to break the 250,000 print-run record set by its predecessor, the Art Of Rock, which is the definitive collection of poster and album-cover art from the 1950s to the '80s and is the reference tool of choice among collectors worldwide.

The Art of Modern Rock tells the story of the artists--rock music fans, every one--who diligently pushed, prodded, and dragged the humble, photocopied black-and-white music poster from lampposts and store windows into the current multicolored incarnation we find in high-end art galleries and in the homes of both music fans and serious art collectors. The book also explores the role of screen printing, which many of the artists embrace as their printmaking technique of choice.

The first two chapters in The Art of Modern Rock trace the people and events behind the re-emergence of the concert poster and look at why screen printing and modern rock posters are so tightly linked. Whether the posters are printed on semiautomatic presses with UV-curing units in larger print shops, such as Portland, OR's Diesel Fuel Prints, D&L Screen Printing in Seattle, WA, or Drowning Creek in Commerce, GA, or manually produced with latex house paint on homemade print tables, screen printing is the dominant reproduction method.


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