With apologies to the New Riders of the Purple Sage, every year along about this time it all goes flat, which is to say that every summer for the past dozen or so, a non-profit group called The Rock Poster Society (TRPS) has hosted Rock Art By the Bay, an exhibition of graphic art, illustrations, and collages by some of the most acclaimed rock-poster artists on the West Coast. Frequently held at Fort Mason, the show allows the general public to meet these artists and buy limited edition, signed rock posters from them directly. Or you can just look; either way, getting in the door is free.
This year, TRPS has teamed up with another non-profit, the American Poster Institute (API) of Austin, Texas, to present Flatstock 25 -- By the Bay. Held on Saturday, July 10, 2010, from 10am to 6pm at the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, the show is certain to be the rock poster event of the summer.
Since the first Flatstock in San Francisco in 2002, the changing exhibition has been produced 24 times in Austin (it's become a fixture at South By Southwest), Chicago, Seattle (ditto at Bumbershoot), and Hamburg. This silver anniversary show is API's first trip back to the Bay Area where it all began.
Among the artists who will be exhibiting in San Francisco are Flatstock co-founders Geoff Peveto and Frank Kozik, who has made a name for himself in recent years designing collectible toys for Kidrobot (his Dunnies are usually the ones wearing a scowl and puffing a cigarette).
Many of the Flatstock artists participating in the show are sure to design special posters just for the event. One who already has is New York City's David Welker, a visual storyteller whose credits include a lushly surreal album cover for Phish. His obsessively detailed, black-and-white poster for this show features a hairy, bird-like creature screen printing a poster -- screen printing is the medium of choice for many poster artists.
Representing the West Coast and TRPS is Carolyn Ferris, whose loose, psychedelic, red-and-purple mermaids floating amid flowers and leaves could not be more different from Welker's singular illustration. Also on hand will be Mark Spusta, who was selected to create a poster for TRPS in 2008, and Gary Houston of Voodoo Catbox, whose 2009 TRPS poster freely riffed on one of the most famous images in rock, Rick Griffin's flying eyeball, which was inspired by Von Dutch and used by Griffin in 1968 to advertise a Jimi Hendrix concert at the Fillmore and Winterland.
Also on hand for Flatstock 25 - By the Bay will be Bay Area favorites Chuck Sperry, Chris Shaw, Christopher Peterson, Stanley Mouse, David Singer, Lee Conklin, and Randy Tuten, as well as Southern California masters Scrojo and John Van Hamersveld.
Flatstock 25 -- By the Bay is July 10, 2010 at the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. For more information visit trps.org.