Flaming Lips by Art Chantry, 1995

Poster Volley, vol. 2

A conversation between postermongers Michael Buchino and Julia McNamara.

Damo Suzuki by We Buy Your Kids (Sonny Day & Biddy Maroney), 2008

Julia McNamara

Let’s bring this into the 21st century. Even though I know we are supposed to be starting a new convo, I couldn’t help but think of this poster after Rodchenko’s Kino Eye. Let’s shift continents and a time travel few decades! Go, mate!

Animal Collective by Aesthetic Apparatus (Dan Ibarra & Michael Byzewski), 2007

Michael Buchino

Whoa — I don’t think I’ve ever seen that We Buy Your Kids one. Love them!

I have to go with Aesthetic Apparatus. Ibarra and Byzewski created a treasure trove of gig posters through the mid-aughts that got me salivating with each new print. They combined all sorts of vintage print iconography to create compelling images that I still comb through from time to time.

Flaming Lips by Art Chantry, 1995


Art Chantry. Seattle. 1995. I remember seeing this poster then; I was studying printmaking. It floored me (in a really good way). It’s burned into my mind.

This is probably one of the first gig posters that ever caught my eye — and I didn’t even know what a gig poster was in 1995!


That’s the best. I saw Chantry speak my sophomore or junior year at university and he showed this. That was the moment I thought: “yep, I’m in the right place. Graphic design is a thing I want to do.” It’s perfect.


I feel like I should say something smart and academic about Chantry. But really, what can you say about this? It just says it for you.


Maybe “Fuck Art.”


Naw. He scares the crap out of me.

Buchino Addendum: I’ve seen Chantry a few times and even organized and moderated a panel on which he spoke about the art process and gig poster business. According to him, he caught a lot of flack for this one from people offended by the objectification of women. Of course, this is an image of a man’s hips, so…that’s awkward. 😸

1943–1993 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by Mieczysław Wasilewski, 1992


Wasilewski combines images in a clever way that every poster speaks so clearly — they’re simple and seemingly obvious, and often unexpected at the same time.

Like Chantry, he often works with visual puns. They can be whimsical, but they’re not typically humorous. Plus: flames.

Dirty Dancing by Mieczysław Wasilewski, 1987


So let’s look at some more Wasilewski. Polish film poster art is so freakin’ good. His Dirty Dancing poster is a fave — so much better than anything Hollywood could produce.

Watermelon Moon by Charley Harper, 1973


Charley Harper, a guy we both love. The master of shape and color. Nobody puts Charley in a corner.

Also: remember when we discussed the symbolic significance of Baby’s watermelon scene in DD?


Of course! She’s offering her childhood as a sacrifice to the dirty, dancing adults. I love that scene so much.

Tango por Ellos by Luba Lukova, 2009


More dancing…

Lukova is a master of visual metaphor. Her posters slay me. Here is a poster she did for Vale Tango. Tango por Ellos “explores relationships that are by turns suffocating, thrilling, and soothing, revealing the conflict and harmony when feminine and masculine energies mix.”


I think I need to make a poster where the counter space is also significant. That device, expertly executed here, makes me swoon every time.

Oklahoma by Witold Janowski, 1964


Like Lukova’s Tango, you basically have a black and white image that takes advantage of negative space and a tiny bit of color.

It’s the best Oklahoma! poster ever. Janowski reduced the image to a plein-air, colorful, whimsical cowboy playing guitar. What’s funny to me is he followed up with some really angry cowboy film posters in 1966 and 1967.


Poster Volley, vol. 1
Poster Volley, vol. 3
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