Gregory Jacobsen: "Explosion"

Posters & Packaging: Gregory Jacobsen

The work of Gregory Jacobsen depicts a slaughter. His work reveals the primal and wondrous parts of us, the parts just beneath the surface of our social mores fighting with our basest desires. These paintings lure as they terrify, inciting a reluctant humor.

Gregory Jacobsen: Oozing Embankment
"Oozing Embankment" (oil on panel, 10 3/4" x 13 3/4", 2009)

Many of his paintings are still-life oil paintings gone mad. In “Oozing Embankment,” from 2009, it is as if there was once a less subversive still-life there, the fruits representing anticipated consumption. But tradition has been turned inside out, upside down, and left to show us what is really there: color, decay, and a natural, oozing beauty.

Jacobsen’s paintings and performances conjure conflicted feelings of terrorized fascination, a beauty in decay and gore, the truth of human existence. These moments originate from the underbelly of desire, terror, instincts for consumption, and compulsions toward what is odd and beautiful.

Jacobsen grew up in Middlesex, New Jersey. “A very strange place with an inferiority complex,” he says. “It’s New York’s little neighbor with fading mobster guys who are really always shit on and are considered second tier.” He says that New Jersey influences him; its inferiority complex causes him to look inward to evaluate himself, his body, and then outward to reveal similar truths about others.

Posters & Packaging: Died Young, Stayed Pretty

An insightful look at America’s underground poster community, Eileen Yaghoobian’s Died Young, Stayed Pretty chronicles the filmmaker’s multi-year trek across the US and her fastidious quest to capture poster art’s cultural presence.

The film — which is Yaghoobian’s first feature-length project — focuses primarily on poster-art giants who are generally unknown outside of their field of work. Additionally, Died Young, Stayed Pretty addresses the prospect of posters functioning equally as advertisements, artifacts, and pieces of fine art.

In 2004, Yaghoobian set out to create a film both “transparent and true” to its subject matter. Initially fascinated by the artwork she saw on, Yaghoobian felt an immediate connection with the imagery, and thereafter set out on a three-year road trip across the US in order to discover the “language of posters, and their cultural dialogue” within the landscape of America.

Mara Piccione: "Died Young, Stayed Pretty" poster
Mara Piccione: Died Young, Stayed Pretty poster
Donovan Foote: Piano Man

Posters & Packaging: Donovan Foote

Designer and illustrator Donovan Foote was entranced by the practice of drawing as a little kid. This preliminary interest led to his discovery and appreciation for comics and cartoons — an influence that’s readily apparent within his work.

Around the age of 11, Foote took up trumpet. “My dad is a big jazz guy, so I grew up listening to a lot of jazz music,” he says. “Most of my friends were only listening to rock, so I think the exposure to something other than rock ‘n’ roll had a big impact on me.”

Foote went on to play in a seven-piece ska band during high school and college, which revealed a whole realm of underground music. “I really loved all the new and odd music I heard while playing little shows,” Foote says. He eventually went on to pick up bass and currently plays in the Chicago-based band Torch Singer. The band will soon release its debut EP, Living Room, but Foote’s musical endeavors are more or less a side project to his visual work.

Donovan Foote: If You're Frightened of Dying album art
Donovan Foote: If You're Frightened of Dying album art
Bongoût: spreads from Down the Rabbit Hole

Posters & Packaging: Bongoût

Located in the central borough of Berlin is the unsuspecting, quirky graphic-design studio and gallery Bongoût. The owners, Christian Gfeller and Anna Hellsgård, have long been infatuated with music, so the prospect of producing music-inspired visual art came naturally to them when they began collaborating on graphic-design projects in 1995.

“When Anna and I first met,” Gfeller reminisces, “we both owned massive vinyl collections. Over time, and due to several house moves, the non-vital part of the collection was cleaned – but we still own a few thousand records. Music plays a very important part in our lives – not just the music itself, but the whole cultural surrounding.”

The two designers are particularly fond of obscure punk, noise, lo-fi recordings, black metal, world music, and electronica. These eclectic influences are clearly discernible within Bongoût’s artwork. The duo has created posters and album covers for a diverse set of genre-defying clients like Black Mountain, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, and PJ Harvey.

Bongoût: Black Mountain concert poster
Bongoût: Black Mountain concert poster

Adam Pobiak: The Fabulous Penetrators' With Love packaging

Posters & Packaging: Adam Pobiak and the UK silk-screen scene

Although the art scene in London is constantly bustling with emerging bands and imminent visual artists, its poster-arts community is barely on the radar. “Silk-screened posters in the UK are nowhere near as popular as they are in the States,” says British designer Adam Pobiak. “Let’s put it this way: I’ve never seen a silk-screened poster at a show that I didn’t do myself.” However, the scene is growing, and people are slowly starting to catch on to the art of poster production.

The imagery within Pobiak’s work comes from a hodgepodge of sources. He takes many of his own photos and works with a variety of found imagery that originates from the likes of stock-photo catalogs and pornography sites. “I feel that if you can recognize the original photo I’ve used,” Pobiak says, “I haven’t done my job.”

Joanna Wecht: The Drive-by Truckers concert poster

Posters & Packaging: Joanna Wecht’s New Feminism

In an art field dominated primarily by men, Joanna Wecht’s work stands out not just because it is eye-catching and full of wit, but also because it has a gender. Wecht exclusively integrates both women and the concept of femininity into her alluring designs.

Joanna Wecht: DeVotchKa concert poster
Joanna Wecht: DeVotchKa concert poster

Raymond Biesinger: "Miscellaneous Spots on Moving House, Studio, and Head"

Posters & Packaging: Raymond Biesinger’s content-driven contrasts

Formally educated in American and European history, poster artist Raymond Biesinger uses historical remnants, politics, and statistics to drive his work.  He values content and intelligence in design — not just illustrative work that “looks nice” — and his work is increasingly conceptual, rather than empty or impersonal.

A self-taught illustrator and designer, Biesinger is foremost a graphic designer for periodical publications and advertisers, but his eccentric drawings also are visible on band posters – especially for his own band, The Famines. Though he doesn’t pay much attention to contemporary artists, Biesinger is instead influenced by minimalism, structure, rationality, and wit – aspects that are all apparent within his work.

Raymond Biesinger: Flemish Eye Ball

Dan MacAdam: Sonic Youth poster

Posters & Packaging: Dan MacAdam’s Industrial Archetypes

Operating his printing and design practice under the name Crosshair, Dan MacAdam has taken a unique approach to poster art while working with the screen-printing medium for more than 15 years.

His recent work fully integrates the text — which is generally minimal — into the visual context of the image instead of displaying the text and image as two separate entities. Thus the image as a whole appears natural and undisturbed as it provides information to the viewer. In essence, instead of reading, the audience is viewing and absorbing the design.

Dan MacAdam: Wilco concert poster
Dan MacAdam: Wilco concert poster
Pinky Blaster: Child Bite album packaging

Posters & Packaging: Pinky Blaster

Pinky Blaster: Child Bite album packaging
Pinky Blaster: Child Bite album packaging

Shawn Knight, a.k.a. designer and illustrator Pinky Blaster, has created art and music since an early age. Followers of the Detroit music scene may recognize his name – previously of the band New Grenada, Knight now performs in the high-energy punk band Child Bite. The band is notorious for its wide range of instruments, humorous live performances, and its members’ impressive facial hair.

While in high school, Knight began playing in punk and metal bands.  These two genres influenced him heavily while he was growing up; he notes both Black Flag and The Dead Kennedys as significant influences. Knight got his start designing local band fliers and posters, and he continues to use live music as an opportunity to expose his artistic skills — though now at a national level.

Pinky Blaster: Faith No More
Pinky Blaster: Faith No More