Poster Art: Ryan Duggan’s punchy minimalism

Screen-printing poster artist Ryan Duggan grew up in Northern Illinois in a small town that Tom Waits wrote a song about.  “There I spent all my time drawing and forming shitty bands with my friends,” he says.  For reasons still unbeknownst to him, Duggan then relocated to Chicago to study advertising.  Maps & Atlases was formed by friends shortly after, and Duggan has been screen-printing since.

“Many posters these days are meaningless collages made in Photoshop and distressed to look ‘rock and roll,’” he says. “It comes off looking very fake to me.  I feel that music is a dirty, stupid ordeal and that this should come across in the imagery — it’s how you know everyone’s still having fun.”

Ryan Duggan -- Harpoon posterDuggan’s work, done under the name Drug Factory Press, displays the skill of an artist paired with the imagination of a pre-pubescent teenager with a pension for old cartoons.  Imagery of winged trolls, a headdress-clad Mickey Mouse, and intestine-spewing ninja Gumbys adorn the 27-year-old’s posters.  Duggan draws his inspiration from old advertisements, weird children’s books, Seripop, Fort Thunder, and old skateboard art.

Skateboards, in fact, comprise another facet of Duggan’s work; he runs and designs for Hated Skateboards, a small skateboard-design operation that sells boards and T-shirts (and even a beer koozie).

Duggan’s process is done entirely by hand — including redrawing borrowed imagery — and screen printed the old-fashioned way, with no computers involved.  Usually approached by a band, Duggan makes up some sketches, runs them by the band, gets the “okay,” and prints them.

“Well, musicians usually have very small brains,” he says when asked about the working relationship.  “But I can work with them because I’m one of them.”

Poster Art is a biweekly column about today’s independent poster art and the artists who create it.

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