Rest of the Best: Houston's 10 Best Concert Poster Artists
No matter how much you love to spread the word about your band through online media, one thing has never changed. You've got to have a badass poster to let people know that your concert will be equally badass. Even if it's only ever seen in jpeg format. Creating concert posters is a unique art, and today we celebrate the ten most amazing people in that medium plying their trade in Houston.
10. Sean Ozz: If you're going to have a tattoo artist in your band, you might as well use him. Sean Ozz fronts The Abyss, and is usually the talent behind their flyers, covers, and other art. There's a distinct nod to middle-career Korn in his style, especially the Issues cover that was selected from a fan contest. Both approaches speak of a demented, cartoonish whimsy. It'd be nice to see him branch out to other acts.
9. Jason McElweenie: McElweenie has tackled posters from some great up-and-coming acts like Passion Pit to legends like the Reverend Horton Heat. His work is interesting in that it usually features advertisement within the concept of advertising itself. "What inspires me is old advertising and decay," said McElweenie via email. "Old tins, barns, billboards, vintage packaging. I love how nature beats slowly chips away at someone's dream."
8. Shelby Hohl: If you're looking for something a bit more gruesome, esoteric, or surreal then Shelby Hohl is your man. He's set up acts like Cradle of Filth and Weezer with choice posters. "The projects I get the most excited about are usually ones where I'm able to have a reason to draw gnarly, fucked up shit," said Hohl via email. "I'm a huge fan (and probably a flagrant biter) of Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth, anything Troma-related, R. Crumb, William Burroughs, and copious amounts of black metal and punk music. Lately, I've been into alchemy and creating sigils so that's been finding its way into a lot of newer stuff."
7. Michael C. Rodriguez: With everyone from our own Tontons to Morris Day under his belt, Rodriguez captures the perfect feel of every band he creates for. They each tell a tiny, static story in Wonderland colors, just like the '60s and '70s comic book covers that are one of his main influences. "Music has also been a big inspiration in my art," said Rodriguez via email. "I like to sit and listen, based on my mood, and just draw. I believe music takes me out of reality where I can create with an open mind. Music can be powerful and quite inspiring if you listen."
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6. Timothy J. Dorsey: To be honest, Dorsey's art scares the crap out of me. It's just the right mixture of technical brilliance and childlike lack of proportion. It's supposed to be cute, but man it plunges right into the uncanny valley sometimes. He keeps the walls of Fitzgerald's looking lively, though. You can't argue against that.
5. Greg Williams: From down in Pearland comes Greg Williams, and his posters are like a sucker punch to the eyeballs. Straight up comic punk style is his thing, and he does it with a warm, over-the-top execution that matches the hardcore acts who request him. "Giving back to a music scene that has given so much to me is what inspires me," said Williams". He's been a little scarce over the last several years after some burnout, but it's nice to see him edging his way back into the public eye in 2014.
4. Alex Rosas: Rosas takes a... slightly more visceral approach to creating art for bands. For instance, the sludgy metal sound of the Peloton self-titled EP inspired him to cover a piece of paper in dirt and Worcestershire sauce then draw a design on top of it. Little touches like that offer considerable gravitas to his work.
3. Chris Nolen: Everything Chris Nolen does looks like a great adventure. When he tackles a poster it's all robots, explosions, and a strange speculative world where everything looks amazing. Also, he turned Wayne Coyne into the Fourth Doctor, and that sort of thing deserves all the praise.
2. Carlos Hernandez: How good is Carlos Hernandez as a poster artist? Good enough to get a gallery show at Rice starting today. The founder of Burning Bones Press has rocked an award-winning career turning out prints for Arcade Fire, The Black Crowes, and tons of others. In any other city he would be ranked No. 1 but that spot goes to...
1. Jermaine Rogers: It couldn't be anyone else. He's got a credit list that includes Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, David Bowie, Neil Young, Deftones, Public Enemy, Soundgarden, Arcade Fire, Mars Volta, The Melvins, At The Drive-In, Queens Of The Stone Age, Ween... it's actually easier to name acts that he hasn't designed posters for.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame hosts a permanent exhibit of his posters, and if there's a book on poster art published after 1995 he's almost certainly in it. In the field of the concert poster he's a modern day trailblazer who changed all the rules. Houston is glad to have him, even if we do have to share him with Brooklyn. Houston would never have been the same without his amazing output.
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