Entrevistas

Flatstock, Or The Music Poster As An Art Form

An interview with Geoff Peveto, director of the “Woodstock of Posters”, before the arrival of the travelling festival within the San Miguel Primavera Sound programme

After a concert - and the consequent translation into various sonic dimensions - what remains are the memories (alongside the occasional bruise) . . . and the official poster. Who has never committed an act of vandalism, pinching a Madonna, Leonard Cohen, or fill-in-the-blank-rock-star poster? An epic concert calls for a legendary poster, and the folks at the American Poster Institute (API) know it. This is why, one fine day, they decided to organise a festival of music posters. It is finally due to arrive in Europe in May, landing first in Hamburg and later in Barcelona, coinciding with the San Miguel Primavera Sound festival (there will be a second round in Hamburg in September). It will be located at the Parc del Fòrum record fair, along with another more museum-like exhibit at Palau de la Virreina, from 15th May to 3rd June.

Flatstock is an initiative started by illustrator and collector Geoff Peveto. The first exhibit was held on 28th September, 2002 at the Cellspace gallery in San Francisco. Since then, it has grown as an initiative bringing together new talents in rock signage; a visual (and ideal) accessory for all music festivals. After the Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival in Seattle and the Southwest Music Convention in Austin, the 34th Flatstock festival will open in Barcelona: works by dozens of artists will be on display, among them Weathermaker Press, Clint Prints, Michael Michael Motorcycle, Army Of Cats, Adam Pobiak and Monkey Ink. For this reason, we spoke to Geoff Peveto (who also edited the book “Rock Paper Show: Flatstock Volume One”, published last March by Soundscreen Design, which brings together a wide selection of the first ten years of Flatstock).

Geoff, where are you now and what do you see around you?

I'm in my studio and there is a Jay Ryan art print called "she protects us," a Mike Budai art print of a 1970's playboy centrefold with a little Dracula he drew on it, an Amy Jo rock poster for Thrones, a Lars P Krause poster for Unsane, a Wayne Coyne Flaming Lips poster, two art prints I did with Gary Baseman and Jeremy Fish, an old Breeders poster I made and a Neil Young poster I made. 20 flat files full of posters and prints, two shelves full of Jamungo toys and a couch my grandmother had in the 60's.

So you aren’t at Frank’s, your favourite restaurant, eating a hot dog.

No, I'm at home. If I were at Frank odds are I'd be drinking and maybe eating a dog, but for sure drinking.

Are you listening to music?

Yes, listening to "Sports" by Weekend. Their song "Coma Summer" is my current favourite along with the new Bloodhouse. Rocketsauce and Tater (the dogs) are laying around.

Are your dogs close by?

Yes, Rocketsauce and Tater are laying around.

Some years ago, artists met at galleries, clubs, or comic book shops - but the American Poster Institute (API) team met through the website gigposters.com. How did it happen? The whole project was born from visits to a website?

I'm not sure API or Flatstock would have come to fruition had gigposters.com not existed. That site allowed a lot of artists all over the world to start talking about how we were all doing the same thing, just in different places. That commonality made us want to get together in person and so Flatstock became the place we did that.

What were the next steps in founding Flatstock?

There was a discussion on gigposters.com about how posters were rarely considered for any kind of gallery show. Frank Kozik said "why don't you all quit bitching and organise your own show?" and he got the ball rolling to do that.

Could it have happened anywhere else besides San Francisco?

Yeah, it could have easily been Austin or Seattle or Chicago but Frank lived in San Francisco, so it made sense to hold the first one in his town.

Why did you move to Austin in the 90s? Were you looking for any particular artistic scene?

I've been a music fan my entire life and growing up in Oklahoma we didn't get many shows. While in college I got tired of bands skipping us on their tours, so I wanted to be somewhere that actually had a thriving music scene. At the time I was looking at Lawrence Kansas and Austin. I decided I hated cold weather, so Austin was the choice.

What’s your relationship with Frank Kozik, your partner in the API? How did you meet?

His Butthole Surfers Flaming Lips poster was one of the first ones I ever bought, but I didn't personally know Frank until we started working on the first Flatstock together. I made a trip out to San Francisco a little before the first Flatstock and met him and talked about what was needed to get this first show going.

Why the name “Flatstock”?

“Flatstock” is an industry term for paper. It also sounded like Woodstock, which is arguably the most famous music festival ever. It seemed to fit.

Can you preview some names and examples of the posters we’ll see at the San Miguel Primavera Sound exhibit?

There will be 30 booths with really diverse artistic styles. You will see posters for major acts like Arcade Fire, The Black Keys or Wilco, and truly underground bands that are friends of the poster makers. The split of attending artists is about 50/50 of European and US, so you are going to see plenty of regional bands along side the famous ones. One of the coolest things I've witnessed at Flatstocks, especially in Europe, is people buying the posters even if they didn't know the band. They liked the art that much.

What are the upcoming Flatstock shows in Europe? Will they be considerably different from the one at San Miguel Primavera Sound?

Flatstock will be back in Hamburg, Germany for the Reeperbahn Festival in September. Flatstock in Hamburg is very similar since it is also outside, but the Reepebahn Fest is more like South By Southwest in regards to the bands playing in venues vs. outside.

What posters did you have in your bedroom as a teenager?

My room was covered with posters of every metal band that was in Circus, Kerrang and Hit Parader. Everything from Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin to Slayer, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden. Really every inch had pictures pinned to the wall.

What makes the perfect poster? In other words, what should a good poster have to capture the real essence of a band, the spirit of a city, or even the zeitgeist of an era?

I like to see the artist actually put some thought into a concept that relates to the band and their fans. If the band or their fans don't understand why you chose the imagery to represent them, you probably missed the mark. I don't have a strong need for the band name to be huge or the information to be 100% immediately clear. I like when you have to dig a little bit to get to the message of the poster, but I think it needs to be relevant to the band, their aesthetic and their music.

What style is most appropriate for a poster? Pop art, comic, expressionism, surrealism…?

It depends on the band and your audience. I wouldn't use anything comic for a High On Fire poster. They have a very distinct vibe. It's heavy and dark. Funny doesn't really fit them. On the other hand you can do that for the Melvins, who are just as heavy, but the band has a really great sense of humour.

Can you identify a poster that you designed for a band and that you feel especially proud of? Where the result was ideal for a client that you particularly admire.

I did a poster for Willie Nelson that came out pretty well. It was printed on metal and aged to look like an old “no trespassing” sign. Willie said, "This is really nice."

I've done a lot of posters for Modest Mouse and The Hold Steady that we are pretty happy with too.

There is a certain trend towards releasing special, limited-edition posters, which end up becoming very big collectors’ items. Are posters the new paintings of the 21st Century?

Silkscreened art has always been a limited edition, and posters aren't treated any differently. There are such things as an "open edition" meaning the poster can be reprinted indefinitely. I think there is a certain integrity to maintain that's been engrained in the practice of making limited-edition prints, so I've never produced a print that way. We are making unique art even if it's a rock poster. People respond to that and appreciate that they have something special that only a few folks share with them.

Are you a collector or accumulator? What is your collection like? Do you do it as a hobby, or is it an obsession?

I do collect posters. I have a handful of pretty valuable things, I suppose, like all the Flaming Lips posters that Wayne Coyne made back in the 90s. It's a casual hobby vs. an obsession, at this point. I've been fortunate enough to become friends with all the poster makers I really admire, so we've swapped a lot of stuff over the years.

What poster would you kill for (or at least fight or pay a lot of money for)?

There is an old Husker Du flyer that I think is awesome. It's just a Xerox, but it's funny as hell and I doubt I'll ever see it in person. I have managed to pick up most of the things I ever looked for over the last ten years.

Have you ever been in Barcelona for Primavera Sound?

I haven't and I am stoked to be there. The fucking Refused are playing! It's going to be a badass mission.

Let’s forget posters for a minute and talk about groups. Who will you be sure not to miss at Primavera?

Refused! Man the line-up is amazing, so many good bands, but I am especially excited to see Afghan Whigs and Archers Of Loaf again. Finally get to see Chavez. Plus Sleep, Mayhem, Mudhoney, Neutral Milk Hotel, Wavves, Girls, The xx, Thee Oh Sees, Yo La Tengo, Beach House, Napalm Death, Melvins. Jeez, Primavera has an awesome line-up this year.

Finish this sentence: “A concert is better with …” (OK, you can clearly say bacon, monkeys, and beer; what are three things that you can’t live without).

Friends. Definitely friends. And bacon, monkeys and beer.

Your life and work are intimately related to music. Do you play any instruments?

I played piano in grade school and drums in high school. Had a crappy band in college for a minute that I sang in. But once I got into design, I focused on that and photography and let my friends who could actually play instruments make music.

¿Te ha gustado este contenido?...

También te gustará

Sascha Braunig

Actualidad

8 discos jugosos que no puedes pasar por alto

Hay música con chicha por todas partes. Para que no pierdas el ritmo de la actualidad, te destapamos un puñado de discos sabrosos que vale la pena ...

leer más
luna

Actualidad

Este crowdfunding te permite reservar una plaza en la luna

Las recompensas mezclan la ciencia espacial con la fantasía popular propia de películas de ciencia ficción.

leer más
hammerand niña tumbada

Actualidad

El fotógrafo que se escondió en una cámara de vigilancia

Hammerand denuncia que, más allá de los planes de vigilancia del gobierno, existen multitud de dispositivos con cámara conectados de forma poco ...

leer más
superhipsters

Marketplace

Si los superhéroes fueran hipsters...

Ahora que Lacoste L!VE reivindica en sus última colección el imaginario del pop, los colores superheroicos y las aficiones geek, recuperamos de ...

leer más
virales

Historias

La semana en virales: 10 imágenes y GIFs desde el lado freak de Internet

Punk en primaria, primeros auxilios creepies, Sergio Ramos y tu próximo look SWAG

leer más
Michael Jackson Varsity

Marketplace

De Harvard a las calles: historia acelerada de la beisbolera

Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Swift y Michael Jackson la llevaron. Visita la selección PlayGround para hombre y para mujer.

leer más
LA GRAN LOCURA SWAGGER Reproducir

Videos

LA GRAN LOCURA SWAGGER

más
mad men

Historias

Así eran las escenas seductoras que inspiraron Mad Men

En los años en que Madison Avenue dominaba Manhattan, el fotógrafo William Helburn se sintió en plena comunión con el espíritu del momento. ...

leer más

Últimos artículos

esoterismo1

Reportajes

Un día en el delirante mundo de la feria de esoterismo

La Ley de Atracción viene a decir que podemos conseguir lo que queramos si sabemos visualizarlo y lo deseamos con todas nuestras fuerzas.

leer más
fantomas1

Columnas

El Fantomas de Barcelona, o el renacimiento del gran villano europeo

Hubo un tiempo en que Fantomas era el malo más malo de la cultura popular europea.

leer más
hopper1

Artículos

El drama de los insomnes: ¿por qué es tan difícil encontrar un sitio para comer de noche?

El modelo de ciudad que vive de día y duerme de noche se mantiene intacto en España.

leer más
La juventud es un problema de miseria

Columnas

La juventud es un problema de miseria

La novelista francesa Cécile Coulon nos regala este relato poético sobre tres jóvenes que tienen que enfrentarse al olvido de un país que se ...

leer más
Lo que el ladrillo de se llevó: bestiarios inmobiliarios de España

Entrevistas

Lo que el ladrillo de se llevó: bestiarios inmobiliarios de España

Nación Rotonda documenta fotográficamente los efectos de la depredación sobre el territorio, Carabancheleando invita a pasear por ese popular ...

leer más
Zoofilia y pop latino: un cuento sobre la tierna adolescencia

Columnas

Zoofilia y pop latino: un cuento sobre la tierna adolescencia

Elisa Victoria es la autora de ‘Porn & Pains’ (Esto no es Berlín), columnista en Primera Línea, y un personaje muy carismático en la red. Para la ...

leer más
12 claves para entender la enorme influencia de Reddit

Columnas

12 claves para entender la enorme influencia de Reddit

El usuario medio de Reddit podría identificarse como ateo, favorable a movimientos sociales como Occupy Wall Street, favorable a Wikileaks, ...

leer más
La juventud Britney

Columnas

La juventud Britney

La escritora Lucy K Shaw nos trae una breve reportaje ficcionado de lo que supuso para el mundo y para Britney Spears el momento de su trágica ...

leer más

Más artículos

cerrar
cerrar