Q&A with C.J. Dunn

July 31, 2015

Photo by C.J. Dunn

Photo by C.J. Dunn

Q: What were some of your initial inspirations artwork for creating the gig poster for the New York (Webster Hall) poster from July 2010?
A: At the time, I was really into French poster art from the turn of the century. My poster is an homage to one I really love by Eugène Grasset for a performance Joan of Arc.

Q: What were you trying to convey in your ESMZ poster?
A: I really liked how Alex wrote the origin story of Edward Sharpe. The main figure of my poster isn’t Alex, but Edward, and he’s surrounded by flowers, which represent the Zeros. I just found the original email I sent to Alex when I conceived the poster. I wrote that it “shows Edward raising up the flag of the Zeros, spreading good vibes throughout the land,” which pretty much sums it up.

I loved the Sergio Leone style stuff they shot on film for the first record, which had this epic quality that matched the music really well. In my poster, I wanted Edward’s pose to convey a similar epicness, a strong sense of purpose, while existing in surreal setting.

Q: Describe your creative process for interpreting and transforming music into a poster art?
A: It’s a pretty intuitive process. I think about how the music makes me feel, and I want my artwork to support that feeling. Sometimes other people tell me they feel that connection in the work, between the art and the music, which is really rewarding.

Q: Were you a fan of ESMZ before you were asked to create the poster art?
A: Definitely a fan. I actually knew Alex since I was 7. Our parents are friends. And, as it turns out, I went to high school with Orpheo before he and Alex knew each other. So when I found out they were playing music together, I was really excited. And luckily their music is also really good! I saw their KCRW radio debut when it first came out and it made me really happy.

Q: How did you get into creating poster art for musicians?
A: I saw one of their first shows in New York. It was magical. And I try to catch them whenever they’re in town. I remember an Alexander show at Bowery Ballroom where Alex came into the crowd near me and had everyone sit down to sing Brother, that was pretty special for me. (See photo above from the Bowery Ballroom.)

For more information about C.J. Dunn, visit copterdesign.com/.

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