How many Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros posters have you created?
As for gigposters, I’ve done three original and one variant.
What were you trying convey in the posters? What does it all mean?
The first poster I did for the band (in 2009) was inspired by one of their videos that reminded me of (or had a direct reference to, I can’t remember ) the 1970 cult Western “el tropo,” so I went in that direction. Pretty obvious to anyone familiar with the film. As for the 2010 poster, just a simple, happy and carefree vibe …with the umbrella carried over from “el troop.” The 2012 poster was a return to the spaghetti Western. I gave myself the limitation of trying to draw while only picking the pencil off the paper a minimal amount of times. I like the results. The flowers were an after thought. Originally I avoided drawing the gun because they just look wonkie from that angle, then I thought, “Why even use a gun? What about something else?’ The first thing that came to mind were flowers so I went with it. I leave it to the individual viewer to select their own meaning.
Were you a fan of ESMZ before you were asked to create the poster art?
Nope. Had never heard of them. A definite perk of the job, constant introduction to music I may not have sought out on my own.
Have you ever seen ESMZ in concert?
No, I say to my shame. Looks like it would be amazing. I’m based down here by the Belly Up in Solana Beach, Calif., and have an open invitation to see any show I like. Problem is I’m working 6-8 weeks in advance of gigs on the poster, and honestly forget by the time the show rolls around. If they come through again I’ll make sure to write the date backward on my forehead in thick black marker.
Describe your creative process for interpreting and transforming music into a poster art?
Ha! The $64,000 question. It varies. Usually I’ll start with an image search on the band or check their website to look at how they like to represent themselves visually. If that doesn’t work then I’ll watch the band’s videos, read their lyrics and/or read their bio looking for something that inspires. I may also look at posters by other artists for bands in the same genre of music looking for common visual styles and/or elements (I won’t look at other artists’ work for the same band until I have a firm direction on the design I intend to go with). Finally, sometimes I just slap a cool image on for the sake of being a cool image and hope that the band and fans embrace it. Sometimes they love it and sometimes…
The challenge with a gigposter is that you want it familiar enough so that it’s relatable to the fans and band, but you also want it unique so it doesn’t slip into tired cliches and is set apart from the other gigposters for the band. The paradox of the gigposter: familiar but different.
How did you get into creating poster art for musicians?
I did flyers for the high school band I was (kinda) in. That got the attention of other local bands, and I started doing flyers for them. One of those gigs was at the Belly Up (Solana Beach) and it got the attention of the promotions director. He brought me into their offices to do one poster (I was 19, still too young to get into the club ), and I just kept coming back, hanging out and making posters when needed. After a while, the club officially made the position of “art boy” (now “resident artist”) and began to pay me my “allowance” (It’s fluctuated over the years between a set salary and a per-piece payment). From there, I’ve gone on to work with numerous venues, bands and management agencies.
Additional comments or favorite Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros story?
Not yet. Maybe one day I can share the story of how I went to the show, met the band and explained to them why I had the date written backward on my forehead in thick black marker.
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