Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I'm obsessed with contemporary art (and especially graphic design.) I love to play with typeface, wanted to see that documentary about Helvetica (yes, the Mac font.), and spent all of my 30-day Photoshop trial making stupid fake posters for things. Unfortunately, I'm not skilled, innovative or confident enough to compete with all the talented designers out there, so instead I just collect as much art as I can. You know how those who can't do, teach? Well, they also buy.
Compared to buying original paintings or drawings, graphic design and digital art is super cheap to purchase. The ease of printing off multiple copies means that you can usually buy good-sized posters and prints for $50 or less. But where to find them? Over the next few days I'm going to give you some ideas that have allowed me to find all kinds of cool stuff. I haven't exactly saved money, but I HAVE found a lot of amazing art in the process.
1. band posters
No, I'm not talking about those embarrassing posters of bands where they're shirtless and sexed up (or wrapped in an american flag...what the fuck, 'n sync?) Instead, I mean gig posters that are designed for an individual show that a band plays. This is my favorite way to get new artwork.
These posters are usually printed in very small runs (100 or less) by local graphic designers who get a chance to make new art whenever a band announces it'll be playing in their town. The other advantage of gig posters is that they are so easy to find. Gigposters.com is a resource where all you have to do is type in your favorite band (or graphic designer) and all relevant posters will come up. They tell you who designed the poster and give a link to their website, where you can usually purchase their work.
The site can be overwhelming because there are thousands of bands (from mainstream to high school level) and designers on the site. An easy starting point is to just type in an indie band you assume will have lots of posters (the Arcade Fire and the Shins have TONS), and you can see pages upon pages of posters for their shows. Click on one you like, even if you're not a fan of the band, and then go to the artist's website to check out more of their work. If they've designed for one indie band, they've designed for others, so chances are you'll find something in the same vein for a band you're a bigger fan of.
Eventually you'll realize there's a lot of overlap and you can find designers you like that will continue to produce good posters in the future, even if the ones you see now aren't your cup of tea or are all sold out.
Some of my favorites: The Small Stakes, Leia Bell, Kangaroo Press, Option-G, The Heads of State, Dan McCarthy, and pushmepullyou design. Examples of their work are below.
Furthermore, if someone's designing little gig posters, they're designing for non-commercial work as well. Eleanor Grosch (of pushmepullyou) has the most amazing animal prints at Artaissance (another great resource for finding original art.)
But be warned that fine art work is way more expensive. Pieces can be anywhere from $50-300 and upwards. I bought this pretty little piece below for $83:
More to come tomorrow!