Music is one of the key cultural, soulful, and human experiences of life. A form of art that has a powerful impact on our emotions, or that can be a stream of support in dark times. Music often becomes a factor in marking significant moments of our life. Falling in love, pushing through a challenge, a significant loss, or a personal triumph, all of these experiences can be framed or elevated by music. A powerful and memorable way to experience this form of art is the live music concert. As a designer of art for music, creating concert show posters to commemorate this concert experience is particularly fulfilling.
One of the most gratifying parts of creating design is introducing things into our culture that make an impact on the lives of people. The challenge of designing something that fans will want to frame and display in their homes for years to come, and that continues to remind them of that special night at a concert.
This triptych in the photo above is of silkscreened posters that we designed for three nights that Wilco performed in Los Angeles in 2012. Playing at a different theatre in Los Angeles each night, the only way to get all three posters was to go to every show. The Hollywood Palladium, the Los Angeles Theatre, and The Wiltern. Together, the triptych is of the Welton Becket LAX Airport theme building. To see all three collected and framed in the home of a fan is the fulfillment of a fundamental goal of mine as a designer. Creating artwork that fans appreciate, that reminds them of the cultural experience of the concert, that enriches their life, in their home an ultimate goal. Seeing it in play, in someone's personal setting (a friend sent me this photo of someone's guest room) makes me appreciate the fan's appreciation.
For the 2015 U.S. tour of Tweedy (Jeff Tweedy of Wilco with Spencer Tweedy and special guests) we made this silk screen poster inspired by the band's video for the song "Low Key" from the album Sukierae.
In the video Jeff and Spencer drive around town in a sharp vintage BMW R69 motorcycle and sidecar visiting an all star group of special guests trying to sell their album door to door (we helped Jeff and Spencer with the album package). It is a very sweet video directed by Nick Offerman (known as Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation) with appearances from John Hodgman, Connan O Brien with Andy Richter, Chance The Rapper, Mavis Staples, Steve Albini, Wilco Drummer Glen Kotche and many others. However it was the key the role of the BMW R69 motorcycle and sidecar that added so much character to Jeff and Spencer as door to door salesmen, so it seemed like a fitting icon for the concert tour poster.
Make sure you wait until the very end of the video for the final ending.
Through design, helping fans enjoy this part of the human experience is why we do what we do.
We create artwork for music in all kinds of configurations, album packages, web and digital elements, boxed sets, apparel and merchandise, but the tour poster falls into a special form of design. In the age where so much of the media that we interact with is on screen and electronic, the physicalness of the poster on paper, the richness of the silk screened ink, makes the piece less ephemeral and more valuable.
On this poster for the J.D. McPherson's "Let The Good Times Roll" we were inspired by the artwork on the most recent album from him. The album cover is a cropped image of a bear's claws, taking the bear element, we opted for the whole bear, growling, and on fire to reflect the shake, and drive of Rock N' Roll on McPherson's album. Utilizing the transparency of silk screen ink adds another layer of character to the poster art form, where traditional printing doesn't always achieve the same richness of color play.
We enjoy and appreciate connecting with people and our culture through design. In the brand identities, cause related projects, websites, and album packages, its always fulfilling to see appreciation in people interacting with our work, but the concert show poster remains a special category. It is great making art for fans, and we appreciate the fan's appreciation.