The world of rock posters is a notoriously misogynist place, filled with endless images of half-naked women depicted in poses of supplication and subservience to their mostly male rock gods. Not surprisingly, most posters of this ilk are created by men for the male gaze, but just as obviously, there are a lot of women in the world who like rock and roll, and a few of those women even choose to create rock posters.
The work of six such artists (Alexandra Fischer, Carolyn Ferris, Junko Mizuno, Criesta Jerray, Laura Edmisten-Matranga and Casey Castille), along with the posters of a couple dozen guys, will be on view Saturday, July 20, 2013, at the Mission Masonic Center in San Francisco, when The Rock Poster Society hosts its annual summer exhibition, Rock Art By the Bay. Admission is free.
Sleigh Bells at the Warfield, April 5, 2012, by Alexandra Fischer.
This year's show poster was designed by Alexandra Fischer, who moved to the Bay Area from Germany about 10 years ago and has since created posters for everyone from Jewel and Ani DiFranco to Sleigh Bells and David Byrne. Not known as a shrinking violet, Fischer doesn't worry too much about the dominance of men in her field, but she does wonder if maybe one reason for the disparity is that most of the musicians in bands that commission rock posters are also men. As for the imagery, "Women are more fun to draw," she says. "There are more curves, and you can do more stuff with their hair." Besides, she says, the definition of offensive imagery is really a matter of personal taste. "I'm more offended by a half-naked chick in a Burger King ad than the same thing in a rock poster."
Moonalice at Slim's, April 20, 2013, by Carolyn Ferris.
After working on interactive paintings and book illustrations over the course of six years with Timothy Leary, Carolyn Ferris made her first rock poster for a Prodigy concert at the Warfield in 1997. She became a regular at Rock Poster Society shows a few years after that. Even so, some show attendees still remain confused by her presence behind an artist table. "A couple will be paging through my portfolio, pausing to talk to each other about the elements they see," says Ferris. "Then one of them will say to me, ‘I'd like to buy this one and have the artist sign it. When will he be back?' This happens at every show I do."