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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

The Flatstock event has now morphed into a combination exhibition, sales opportunity, and a chance for the members of the poster-making community to get together in one place. Right now, Peveto and the Austin contingent are in the preliminary stages of organizing Flatstock 6. "At the last one, we held a screen-printing workshop by Ron Donovan and Chuck Sperry from Firehouse Kustom Rock Art and a stencil workshop by Mig Kokinda," he says. "We plan on continuing those and we are talking about what to add to the event. The dates are for sure though: March 18 and 19 in Austin."

Inspiring innovation

I've always loved rock posters and, having played in bands and promoted music shows over the past 30-plus years, know their power as an advertising tool. As a screen printer, I appreciate the technique and art-production skills that go into producing these images. What knocks me out about the gigposter art movement is the innovation it brings to our industry. One example is real-time promotion of a print run. The fine-art market could learn something here. Artist Frank Kozik, working with Andy Stern at Diesel Fuel, shot and posted digital images of a print run in progress on message boards, where collectors were able to place their orders and pay electronically. As the print run progressed, the orders came in, driven by the images and the constantly declining number of prints available. The run was sold out before it was completed.

Here's another example: Screen-printing ink is hard to come by for novice printers on tight budgets or those stuck in remote locations without suppliers nearby. These folks have innovated by using latex house paint as ink. A trip to the local paint store can usually score the printer some interesting and very cheap mistints (colors that were either made incorrectly or failed to meet the customer's expectations). From there, the poster artist mixes in a clear base and an additive, like Floetrol, that improves the paint's flow and extends its working time. This movement is revolutionizing DIY screen printing worldwide.

True to their technique


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