Upcoming Show: December 2nd
David V. D’Andrea interview
Excerpts from an interview by Rebecca Czaicka for her dissertation,”Psychedelic Art and its influence on contemporary Illustration”.
There’s a clear influence of Psychedelic Art in your work, has your work always revolved around this theme?
I’m not certain. It hasn’t been a planned theme, although I’ve always been heavily influenced by music and design created by people with their “3rd eye glowing”, to quote Scott Weinrich. I’m influenced by nature which is inherently very, very psychedelic! I suppose my work becomes increasingly psychedelic as I become more and more comfortable with conveying my inner journey, better at putting it on paper.
I think that at the core of Psychedelic Art is the artist’s inner vision on paper…and in turn the viewer’s moment of realization…of “I KNOW that too” or “I’ve seen that too”. Since psychedelic drugs and meditation are congruent to the ultimate heightened visionary state, the shared visions are plentiful. Great Psychedelic Art is at once very personal and entirely universal.
When developing new artwork, where do you look for your inspiration?
I spend a night immersed in “research”. This entails flipping through books of classic art, design, natural history etc, often a bottle of wine, salvia occasionally. I love my record collection, so I spend time with that. Good sci-fi or natural history books, heraldic studies, vintage underground comics or 70’s magazines such as Eerie or Nightmare. I meditate in silence or lay down on the floor w/ headphones and Earth 2.
It’s all really an inward looking. I always have a sketchbook at hand, and hopefully emerge with some ideas on paper the next morning.
Who are your design heroes, from the past and present?
My favorite contemporary artists are Barron Storey, Arik Roper, Kiki Smith, Daniel Higgs, Vania Zouravliov, Roger Dean, Alan Lee…
From the past, Barney Bubbles, Rick Griffin, Harry Clarke, Ivan Bilibin…
What is it about Psychedelic Art that makes you want to re-interpret it in your own way?
Well, if anything, I think I’m just plugging in to the same channels, the same psychic stream, as the classic poster artists and designers of the past. That might cause easily identifiable parallels in graphics. But really, I think Psychedelic Art is each artists’ view of that world beyond the veil, and the particular way they each choose to explain it on paper.
Nowadays, if I do lettering that references Griffin or use colors from Moscoso’s palette, it’s simply a nod to them. Much of the music that I am into is either from their generation or direct descendants of it. The coupling of live music and art was at a peak during their era, and in many ways I’m riding the wave that they created. The re-interpretation is a conscious nod, although I try to keep my own style and vision as the focus of each piece.
A lot of your work is print and packaging, how do you get most of your commissions? (e.g word of mouth, website etc)
I began in the mid 90’s by producing photocopied flyers for local shows. It has all evolved organically from there. At this point I do get a lot of people approaching me, so i just do my best and one job leads to the next. I screen print all my own posters here at Monolith Press. The printing has become an important part of my process, so I really enjoy producing show posters for bands I like. It’s a never ending struggle, both to maintain financially and the decisions involved in maintaining a healthy drive to create.
Alan Forbes interview
Interview by Erin Cadigan, curator of the “Psychedelic Bicycle Ride” show, August 2010, San Francisco.
What can we say about Alan Forbes? Definitely one of the most prolific of the new guard of psychedelic rock poster artists. Incorporating nature and humanistic imagery with sacred symbology his work is very well known in the heavy rock, metal and indie scenes. There is something creepy yet mesmerizing in the fluidity of his ink work, it calls to mind poster masters like Mucha and the San Franscisco “Big 5″ yet delves into the present and future creating a modern style of his own. Here’s Alan in his own words……
At what age did you know you wanted to be a professional artist?
I honestly cannot think of anything else I have ever wanted to do. Ever since I was a kid I have always been driven to draw constantly. I have done a couple day jobs,and each time it has taken me back to artwork.
Who are your favorite artists?
I have loved the sixties posters. Rick Griffin, Mouse and Kelley, Greg Irons. I also really dig the work of Arik Roper and David Dandrea.
What moves you to create psychedelic or visionary art?
What inspires me to do the work I do is usually a ton of reading (lately “nog ” by Rudolph Wurlitzer and yet more Alan Watts). Also a lot of my surroundings here in San Francisco and the Bay Area. I am lucky to be in such an amazing city with endless access to nature. I guess you can say I wander around in my head every day.
What medium do you work in? What is your process to complete art?
For posters I only like to work in brush and ink. No computers, everything hand drawn and lettered. As for paintings, it is oil and acrylics.
Like any other field do you see yourself “retiring”?
I do not think I will ever retire. I think that being an artist is a ever evolving process.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so what kind?
Music lately has been the Black Crowes, Howlin Rain, Sleepy Sun and a whole bunch of this great Bay Area music scene that is going on.
Stacie Willoughby interview
Interview by Cat Johnson. Originally published on houseofcat.net.
You spend a lot of time creating posters for shows and music-related events; can you talk about the relationship between your art and music?
There’s something about combining the two that takes everything a step up. That’s true whether there are visuals happening at the same time as the music, or whether there are visuals lauding the music beforehand, or whether there’s music happening while the art is being made…they just work well together.
I like having the event be the de facto meaning of the poster. It really takes the pressure and the seriousness off of WHAT THE ART MEANS. And if people are looking at the art and they understand inherently that it’s an advertisement for an awesome event, then that’ll be the thing on their mind, and any other meaning they pick up from it will be sorta sneakier and secondary. And y’know, I like shows, I like live music, and live music goes off best when everyone’s, y’know, ready for it. I’m just really into making things exciting…I want my posters to be the best possible kind of foreplay.
How has your art evolved over the years? When did you start drawing and how did you get into doing gig art?
I’ve always drawn. Since my hands could clasp an implement. I’d like to think I’ve gotten more skilled over time, and I know I still have an eternity to go in that department. I’ve gotten much more willing to let myself draw whatever I feel like, even if it’s gonna be kind of uncomfortable for someone. I started making advertisements because it needed doing, and it’s pretty much the best job in the world. For me, I mean.
What kind of physical space do you create for yourself when you sit down to start a project? What is your preferred medium?
I like posters because you can do them anywhere, you can take them with you outside, you just need a hard surface on your lap. I hang out in my room and do them and listen to records. I have a drawing table but I only use it about half the time, maybe, and I haven’t had it that long. I have this board I put in my lap, I just sorta work that way. I like playing with materials, but I guess pencils and pens are my favorite. Markers are cool too, but I’ve been playing with a lot of mixed media lately. Anything that can mark the surface and is even remotely controllable.
The characters that show up in your work tend to be one of a kind, other-worldly types. Where do they come from? Do you plan them out in advance or do they manifest spontaneously as they’re being created?
I don’t know, I don’t think about it. I make something that looks right as I go along. I get an idea, and then it needs something, and then I put it there, and I keep doing that ‘til it’s finished. I’m sure that everything’s psychological. People always see the posters and they’re like, “Hey! It’s a girl with a spiderweb on her!” And it seems silly because you’d think I’d be aware of what the poster is of, right? But actually I don’t see half the stuff other people see in there, so it’s cool for me. The thing never feels fully apparent ‘til someone else tells me what they see.
Poster art has such a rich history. Are there particular artists or movements that have directly inspired your work?
Yeah. Tons. Pretty much everything I’ve ever seen. That’s how I feel about it. I didn’t study anyone, I just have a really photographic memory and I file everything away and let it blend.
Historically, poster artists are record keepers, documenting everything from art and music movements to wars and political upheavals. Their posters are known by all, yet very few know the artist behind the work. Why is this and how can we pay poster artists the respect they deserve?
I don’t know. You either care or you don’t, it’s not a big deal. If a poster strikes me, I always try to find out who did it. Posters are advertisements, so people’s minds go to what’s on the poster instead of who made it, first. And then if the art is really striking, they might want to know who made the poster, and that’s a compliment to the artist. But I think it’s cool that people know of the posters and don’t necessarily know who I am or my name or my face. It helps me to see more realistic reactions to them, unlike when you’re at an art show and everyone’s kinda pussyfooting around, feeling like they have to have an opinion even if they don’t feel anything.
Posters are like guerrillas, they’re out all over the street and half the time you don’t even realize you’re being infiltrated. That’s true of shitty ads too, unfortunately. But I just like making the thing, I like altering the landscape a little tiny bit in my own way. I mean, everything I have to say is in there. But I believe in communication, so that’s why I answer these questions sometimes, but there’s really no need: it’s all in the posters.
Original blog post here: