Sunday, December 02, 2007

two ROCKIN' approaches to automotive-themed rock (and rockabilly) posters

(above and two below) by Chris Hopewell / Jacknife Studios

(all below) by dX












You know me by now, always on the lookout for emerging poster-artist talent in the conjoined rock music and automotive worlds. And, so, here are (drum roll, please) Chris Hopewell of Jacknife Studios (Bristol, UK) and dX of San Francisco. While Jacknife posters are screenprints and are printed as finite editions, dX' flyers are most often printed out of his home or over at the nearest Kinko's. Both guys have a style down solid.
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Here's what we know of Chris and Jacknife (from his MySpace profile and from their website www.jacknifeposters.com):
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They're a UK, Bristol-based poster studio which produces "some damn fine" hand screenprinted, limited edition gig and tour posters "for all kinda bands from all over the world." Their posters are printed on 320g high-quality 'art style' card-stock, and use Daler Rowney system-3 inks. Each poster is signed and numbered as part of a strictly limited print run. If Chris gets back to me I'll share more about his background with you.
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Now, about dX, I was able to track this elusive sucka down and pose some questions to him about what's essentially (in my opinion) highly imaginative, hand-drawn and typographically strong street art that draws you in, instantly, at first glance. You can intuit that he works mostly undercover, adding to the mystery of how these pieces originate and propagate (you have to scour SF regularly on an irregular neighborhood tour to find 'em).
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Q: Are you a native to these here parts (the Bay Area)?
A: No.
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Q: How'd you come by the moniker "dX"?
A: It came about because of a girl. You can figger out the rest.
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Q: Since you were a kid, always been scribbling?
A: Yes. I would watch my pop draw airplanes, cars, and stuff, then go to my bedroom and draw tits on the characters in my comic book collection.
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Q: When did you discover that you were a talented cartoonist?
A: I'm talented?
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Q: When did you start making street flyers?
A: (The first thing I did with poster art was to make) a giant backdrop painted on a bedsheet for a band in my junior high school, circa 1967. They were called "Mammoth." They went on to be come "Van Halen."
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Q: Always been into rockabilly? Punk? Latino? (the music I see from your flyers.)
A: I love all kinds of music, except hippty hop, which really bores me.
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Q: Ever attend rat rod car events, like Billetproof?
A: Yes, upon occasion.
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Q: Do you own a hot rod?
A: No car, no house, no tools, no dog.
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Q: What's the name of the club you own?
A: Oh, you mean our bar? It's called "THE KNOCKOUT."
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Q: Are you a musician?
A: No.
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Q: You work is stylistically linked to a lot of great poster artists whose work appears frequently on www.gigposters.com. Those guys would include Johnny Crap, Alan Forbes, John Seabury, Mike Fisher (Maximum Fluoride), and there's a bit of R.Crumb in ya too. Do you feel an artistic affinity towards them?
A: They are guys whose work I respect, so, yes, I suppose I do.
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Q: Who are some other artists who've influenced your work?
A: Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth; Jack Davis; Andy Warhol; Christo; Johnny Dismal; Claes Oldenburg; R.Crumb; Bill Plympton; Frank Miller; Salvador Dali; Frida Kahlo; Gary Baseman; Maurice Sendak; Charles Burns; Stanley Mouse; S. Clay Wilson; ZAP Comix; Rick Griffin; Alton Kelley; Victor Moscoso; Frank Kozik; just to name a few . . .
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Q: Are your pieces ever screenprinted? Or are they almost always inkjet prints?
A: When I was younger, I worked in a small silkscreen studio and did have the opportunity to have some posters screenprinted. But that was a long time ago. These days, they're mostly inkjets or just plain ol' xeroxes. I got lots more stored as photoshop files too.
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Q: How large are your print-runs?
A: I print as many as I need to promote any given show. And I give 'em to the bands for them to do what they need to do.
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Q: Do you staple 'em to poles? Or wheatpaste 'em to buildings (in the time-honored urban tradition)? Or, tape 'em to the inside of store windows?
A: I pay a guy to hang 'em on whatever surfaces he can that won't get me fined.
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Q: Do your posters attract people to go to the gigs?
A: I don't know, actually. I think rather it's the cheap booze that brings 'em in.
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Q: There's a postermaking tradition going back to the '50s and '60s in the Bay Area. I'm intuiting that you feel you're working in that tradition (letterpress came first, then the psychedelic Fillmores and Avalons, then the punk flyers, then Kozik, then today's screenprints).
A: Yes, I do feel that. So, where can I get my hands on some of those old Tilghman letterpress prints??
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Q: Lastly (for now), what do you see as the relationship between car culture and music culture?
A: Both have always been about rebellious beer-drinking juveniles with something goofy they thought it was important to say. And (along the way) they discovered that art was an easy, cheap way to (say something about it).
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Prominent rock poster artists including Jim Altieri, Maximum Fluoride (Mike Fisher), Billy Perkins, Johnny Thief, Lil' Tuffy, and even Tanxxx from France are great admirers of dX' work. Here are a few comments gleaned from my several months watching his pieces slowly emerge and reading what what was said about it on www.gigposters.com:
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Billy Perkins (from Austin, TX): "Every time I look at his work my smile gets a little bit wider. Look carefully at everything he does . . . right down to the eyelashes he draws. I'd just love to see dX's sketch pad!"
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Richie Goodtimes (SF): "I had no business going to a rockabilly club but my friend Dustin is "Dusty Chance," and that's how I met dX. He's a true believer. His flyers are what they are and they work just fine for what they're intended to be. He has a bar and he can do whatever he hell he wants to promote it."
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Lil' Tuffy (SF): "His flying drumstick is his trademark; there's one in almost every one of his flyers. He's been doing this stuff for years, mostly for the rockabilly scene. He's an AMAZING illustrator."
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Steve Walters (Chicago): "To be this awesome with only a few colors takes a whole bunch of talent."
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El Negro Magnifico! (Calgary, Alberta, Canada): "It's good to see someone handle promotion for their own establishment and not suck at it."
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Johnny Thief DiDonna (Savannah, GA): "Sometimes you just can't beat that old-school flyer style."
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And, in response, dX (a modest guy), had this to say:
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"Yup, some of my work may look like it's been influenced by Charles Burns (not a bad hero to have), but I've been drawing in this spikey, razor style since way back in the mid-to-late '70s (it evolved from cutting rubylith at my shop). I like to make my work look as much as a greasy gorilla as I can. But in fact I'm just as much influenced by the woodcut illustrations of centuries past. So, thanks for noticing, everyone, and I'll try to keep puttin' stuff up."
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my two cents: dX (and Jacknife) . . . you rock! More please!

4 comments:

eLiSeJa said...

Wow, those posters are just great. I love them!

Just passing by...
...I found you at google! ;9

Kevin Broome said...

I've been researching hotrod/rockabilly style posters for a project that I am working on and dX's work has definitely stood out. Thanks for posting the interview. Info has been hard to come by. Do you know if he has a website?

-K

Anonymous said...

are these posters for sale?
I've been hunting after the December 1st QOTSA Bristol one. Want to get it framed on my wall, great work!

nxdaxo@gmail.com

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