It might well be considered the most disposable of art-forms, but the world of gig posters and flyers offers a telling portrait into the popular artforms of any historical moment, and those works created are often the most telling way of tracking the short-term developments of the fluid consumer-art markets. And alongside its predecessor, Gig Posters Vol II stands as one of the single best single compendiums of the art-form.
Compiled by the rock-monickered Clay Hayes, this second volume of posters follows Hayes online attempts to collate the greatest gig and concert posters for fellow enthusiasts at GigPosters.com, and coming from such a reputable source can only mean good things once you open the front cover.
Once inside, the contents include those from such musical talents as the Black Keys, Flight of the Conchords, Ice-T, Norah Jones, and Coheed & Cambria, resplendent in their original form, and in a large enough format to show the artwork off (11 x 14 inches)
Not only is the book as comprehensive a tomb of posters as you’re likely to find, there are also 101 posters that come with a perforated edge and which are billed as ready-to-frame (though for me that would somewhat compromise the magic of the gig spirit). The book offers work from the great and good of today’s most talented designers, including David V. D’Andrea, Peter Cardoso, Graham Pilling, Tyler Stout, Marq Spusta, and Nashville’s legendary Hatch Show Print.
Every page showcases a poster, offering some information on its production, and original size, as well as a word from the designer – a simple format, but one that allows the posters to shine. And those included are incredibly good, like this one from Ivan Minsloff:
Green Day, Los Angeles, CA, 2009. Two-colour screenprint, 18 x 24 in (46 x 61 cm), edition of 200.
One of my earliest posters was for the Melvins. I hadn’t done much of any work at the time, but their label, Ipecac, wanted to use one of my drawings for a show flier. It was kind of a crappy poster, but I was so excited to do something for a band that I admired. Then, the same poster ended up in the movie Juno, which was super weird and awesome. The gig poster community is so completely humbling and inspiring; there are so many talented people making epic work. I can always count on seeing something rad on the Gigposters website.
In terms of the selection, Hayes has excelled, including posters from some of the biggest bands in the world like Green Day and Kings of Leon to lesser known bands. The important qualifier, crucially has clearly been the quality of the artwork over who it was made for – and thus the tomb is a celebration of artist over celebrity – and as a result there are no posters that feel out of place or unqualified to be included.
Sadly, the accompanying text rarely goes into anything like massive detail behind the posters, but then that’s a natural restriction of the format, and it allows for the posters to be taken out if you’re so inclined. Obviously that somewhat compromises the book status, but there is no disclaimer to say the book must be torn apart, and I for one will continue to enjoy it as a tomb rather than as individual posters.
Overall, it’s a book for fanatics and casual art appreciators alike, offering an affordable option for fans who wish to cover their wall space with the finest posters known to music-kind, as well as an insightful look into the processes and culture behind their production. With over 700 posters in total (including mini-portraits of 599 that don’t tear out on perforated high-quality paper), it’s unlikely you’ll find anything quite so thorough since… well, since the first volume was released.
Gig Posters Volume II is available to buy now.