SkatRadioh: Pinnacle of Local Concert Poster Art
David Moreira, better known in the art world as Skatradioh, has taken local concert poster art to an entirely new level.
Last Saturday at the new Ochre Ghost Gallery in downtown Duluth there were some amazing pieces created by Skatradioh on display. A UMD student, Moreira has a fresh perspective on this classic art form.
“The posters I've made are a great artifact for people who go to some of the shows and want to buy something to take back home with them,” Skatradioh said. “There are instances when a fan of a band tells me they missed a show, but they really liked the poster with their name on it and buy it. Sometimes people buy a poster mostly out of enjoying the artwork. This is often the case with the Pizza Luce posters because most of those shows were made up of somewhat impermanent makeshift bands and cover bands. Considering the posters I print, the Meat Puppets gets as much attention as some of the smaller acts.”
Much like a rock writer, the rock poster designer also tries to add their own signature to the energy of the night.
“Everyone imagines being a rock star,” Skatradioh said. “But in my case I never gained the confidence to become a musician. Regardless of my inability to comfortably see myself on a stage, I knew I was in good company by consistently having musicians and other artists as close friends. Growing up I did have more success with visual art and that led me to the UMD to study graphic design and studio art. I needed something else to do outside of school work or I'd go crazy. Finally I decided two years ago that I'd try helping my friends with some unique posters for their bands or the shows they put together. My experience has led me to believe that the kind of work I've done has become a companion piece to the event that it promotes. As I see it, I've been able to share the stage by making posters because of the shared love and respect for each other that bands and I have developed. That's what really keeps me going.
The Ochre show on Saturday was packed. There was barely room to see the posters on display due to the excellent art created by Skatradioh and the full room.
“It was a very successful show,” Skatradioh said. “It was my first experience showing work on my own and I had a lot of great conversations with people who were new to my art. The place was full of people that came and went throughout the evening. It was great to have support for my art as well as for the gallery. You can still see the show by appointment up until February 4th. Just contact OchreGhostGallery@gmail.com.”
One thing that stood out about Skatradioh’s posters is the use of black paper. It creates a quality to his work that shows the true detail of his art.
“The first thing that comes to mind as paper to most people is a clean white sheet of 8.5''x11'' nowadays,” Skatradioh said. “It's common for designers making posters to end up digitally printing on white paper because of the affordable cost. In contrast, I find black paper or any colored paper to be a beautiful starting place to work with as a printmaker. Paper color by choice becomes essential to my designs. With the screen printing process, I then can create visual tricks by layering ink with different opacities. I'll tend to take advantage of black paper to make things bold and dramatic. I love the capability to print white on top of black and feel the density of ink from screen printing. Printing crisp white text is the best.”
One poster that stood out at the show was done in that black paper. It featured a cryptic looking gentleman peering down from the center of a large pipe-organ.
“The poster I made for 2010 Beers Under the Sea is currently a personal favorite,” Skatradioh said. “It was one of the larger and more carefully crafted pieces I've done so far. Using both silver and gold inks to produce multiple values by making them transparent was challenging and it created a really nice effect that really demands looking at very closely. The themed event is put together by my friends the Sinz brothers of the bands Dios Mio and Indulge. It has become a growing annual beer fest with plenty of punk/thrash/metal bands.”
So how did Skatradioh get into this art?
“I think it's the culmination of conversations I have with the people I live with. I'll spend a lot of time enjoying science fiction and action films that were released on VHS that rely on physical models and lots of makeup effects. The rise of the internet and its pervasiveness has fragmented my influences so far out. As it relates to poster art, I look to the efforts of Young Monster, Dead Meat Design, DNML, Dan Grzeca, Jay Ryan, Aaron Horkey, Daniel Danger, Tyler Stout, Jeff Lamm and numerous others for influence.”
The first concert poster from the psychedelic art world is known as “The Seed” and was done in 1965 by artist Alton Kelley. While this art form died down during the punk era and its cheaply produced 8.5x11 photocopies, it has recently went through a renaissance with show posters available to purchase as a memento from concerts. While Skatradioh has made a name for himself in this area, he gained his experience from the Minneapolis area.
“I grew up just outside of the Twin Cities and I was beginning to get out on my own more when I was around 16 in 2005,” Skatradioh said. “I'd go to a few venues in the cities that would occasionally have the all ages shows that ripped enough for me to want to go, but it was hard. Around then I was exposed to TC local bands like the STNNNG (Stunning), Signal to Trust, Falcon Crest, Supper Hopper, and Malachi Constant. While I was really into their sounds, I began to realize they all had something in common as I saw their names plastered around town. It was the posters by DWITT for their shows that I had admired. I thought that if this guy gets to draw up insane posters for my favorite bands, then I should be able to. Since then I learned by example for the most part. It's funny that I've done posters for bands we share in common (The Undesirables and In Defence) and even recently been a part of a group show together and we have yet to exchange words directly. I also like to refer to Adam Turman, The Paper Prophet and Burlesque of North America as beginning influences in poster art that continue to be relevant.”
Before you go out and try to replicate what Skatradioh does you need to spend some time getting to know his intricate process.
“It varies from project to project often times because of limitations I have to deal with,” Skatradioh said. “It's typical for me to begin designing a project on the computer with a Wacom tablet drawing directly into Photoshop. I was raised on a computer. Artwork can also consist of drawings on paper that I've scanned in, but in the end I make digital separations for each layer I have to screen print. These layers are printed onto transparencies, sometimes made by tiling up of inexpensive Office Max print outs. I then use these in a photomechanical process to create stencils on the screens I use to print with on a table I built. Continually browsing the GigPosters.com forums has helped me figure out how to accomplish each step necessary to print. Andy MacDougall's book “Screen Printing Today” has become the perfect resource for clear and concise instruction on how to screen print for beginners.”
I asked Skatradioh how people can see more of his posters or purchase a piece for their wall.
“Since my first show poster, the majority of what I print has been documented and uploaded to my Flickr account www.flickr.com/photos/skatradioh. This includes some sets of photos that give you a sense of the process I go through and the spaces I've worked in. Photos of my retrospective opening can be found there too. GigPosters.com is a massive poster archive and has a profile on me among thousands of others. Most events I've made posters for have allowed me to sell them at the show. I have a current listing of everything I have left for sale on Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/SkatRadioh afterward.”
To read more from my full interview CLICK HERE