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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

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Flatstock, Or The Music Poster As An Art Form | PlayGround | Music Features

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 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 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 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.

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