12-Oct-2015 (Mon)
Wherein we almost have a kitchen, and we need poster artists.

Progress over at Codeword is moving along. Look, we have walls, glass and a hood. The shiny white stuff on the wall is the plastic covering the stainless steel back wall of the kitchen. The ductwork for the hood has not quite reached the roof yet (it goes four stories up and is installed with a terrifying Bosun's chair) but the roof fans are installed.


We had to abort our plan to put the walk-in fridge in the light well. It was just going to take too long and cost too much money. (Those windows above are looking through the light well where the fridge was going to go.) Pro tip: Any time you find yourself embarking on a project that requires you to hire a structural engineer: don't. He's going to completely fuck you by drawing something that cannot sanely be constructed in this or any universe, and even if it could be, will cost more than literally the entire rest of the project. "Out of an abundance of caution." If you are very very lucky you will realize how dire the situation is in time to move to Plan B. Or Plan C.

So the walk-in is going out back, in the alley, where it is smaller and far less convenient. Oh well.


HEY! Are you and artist / designer who would like to make gig posters for us? We are currently short of people to do so. We don't pay a lot -- usually $50 each, maybe more if you're particularly amazing and/or easy to work with.

Allow me to ramble on a bit about gig posters.

So here's the horrible thing about them: usually, for a touring act, the band's agent will send us an "ad mat" to use as the poster, which is typically the headliner's album cover, or a crappy head-shot of the folks in the band, with "THE [BLAH BLAH] TOUR" in 72 point type on top, and a white rectangle at the bottom for us to scribble our name and date into. And the "BLAH BLAH" part is neither the name of the band nor the name of the album, so nobody can possibly know why the fuck it says that or what you're talking about. (That part is just so dumb and very closely related to my earlier rant about band bios. )

And then we say, "Hey, so how about we make our own flyer for that show instead?", and usually the agent says, "No, for the entrails spilled by my oracle predict that we will sell more records if every show on the tour uses this crappy-assed, forgettable artwork instead of something unique that a fan might actually care about."

But, sometimes they don't say that, and we spend some of our show budget on posters and flyers specific to the show. Sometimes we print a few of those posters to sell, but not often, because people basically never buy them. But we usually get the band to sign one and hang it on the wall in the restaurant, and that's nice.

I pretty much never hang up ad mats, because they suck. Lemme give you some examples.

This piece of shit is an ad mat:
And this is what we commissioned:

This piece of shit is an ad mat:
And this is what we commissioned:

This piece of shit is an ad mat:
And this is what we commissioned:
In summary, ad mats are terrible.

Anyway, that's why we don't pay a lot for poster art: we don't make any money from it, we have something crappy and yet barely-good-enough that we can use for free, and it's like pulling teeth to get the agent to agree to let us do something nicer anyway. But it's cool, so we do it when we can.

Three or four years ago I attended a panel at SXSW about gig posters, and the guys on the panel told a beautiful fairy tale. They told us that the way all those amazing, unique screen-printed posters being exhibited and sold at Flatstock (the poster art show / marketplace that happens at SXSW) was this: that the venue got permission, then the artist made posters for the gig, and the artist got paid by selling those posters at the gig, and to their own clientele after the fact, online. That sounded like such a nice story, because it means that everyone gets paid but I don't have to do the paying. But we've yet to find anyone who actually works that way. Usually it's been: "You pay be $500, give me three months notice, and if it also happens to be one of my favorite bands I'll consider it." So, yeah, that doesn't really work.

Posters. Sigh.

Anyway, moving on. Here's a funny recent email exchange with one of our promoters:

From: Barry
To: [Promoter]

I had a mother call and have me cancel a ticket for this show that her daughter was not supposed to charge.

She will probably try and get in anyway, and she has a confirmation code but she will not be on the list. Don't be fooled. Her name is [REDACTED].

From: [Promoter]
To: Barry

Thanks, Barry. We'll tell her to steal cash from her mom's purse instead next time.

And finally, as is traditional, some photos:

Angelo Moore
So Stoked Goes Kawaii
Monday Hubba: Alexa's Birthday
Bootie: Black & Blue Ball
Hubba Asylum

5 Responses:

  1. James says:

    Recommend finding out how much the person who digs up the quotes to go on Prince's ad mat fine print makes and offering that.

  2. Jeremy Wilson says:

    I spent nearly a decade making gig posters, including exhibiting at many Flatstocks, and I can assure you that the vast majority of poster artists, myself included, operated like you describe. I never really had much problem selling posters at the venue but mostly it was online or Flatstock after the event.

    I actually offered to do posters for DNA years ago using that method and never got a reply.

    That said, the "standard" method has the artist assume all the costs involved with a poster series, which of course the venue likes as it offers no risk, but unless it's a popular band, selling the posters online later can be a big challenge. Even the big name artists can have trouble selling posters for less popular bands. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked "do you have this poster with a different band name?"

    So, I can't really fault an artist asking for an upfront art fee.

    • jwz says:

      How did you make this offer that was ignored so that I can tear someone a new asshole? If the method you used was not "email booking@dnalounge.com", and you are still interested, please do that... Thanks!

      • Jeremy Wilson says:

        I looked through my email but couldn't find where I sent it. It was back in the 2007-2008 range. I'm fairly confident I sent it to a dnalounge.com address. Sadly I closed my studio in 2009.

  3. nooj says:

    Does a cooler poster translate to more buzz or higher attendance? Or more drink sales?

    A good poster shows heart; I'm more likely to go when I see one.