Filmmaker Eileen Yaghoobian spent five years – and her own dime – putting together this documentary that is a snapshot of contemporary rock poster artists who live in rock cities other than L.A. or New York. And much like the artists she chose to feature, the film is a cut-and-paste collage of images, personal stories, theories, history lesson, and, yes, rock n’ roll.
As with any sub-culture of artist-types, there are some fucking weirdos in the movie who yammer on and on seemingly about nothing or about the crazy visions they have in their heads. And then there’s Art Chantry – a tell-it-like-it-is sort of guy – who made a name for himself with the posters, album covers, etc. that he did for Seattle punk bands in the late ’80s/early ’90s. Chantry’s the guy who’s been around the block, who’s seen just about everything there is to see, and who speaks wisely of the different styles, trends, and history within the disjointed world of rock poster artists (though that world is becoming more and more cohesive as the internet is bringing artists together with each other and with fans through sites like Gigposters.com).
Though the subject is explored a bit in Died Young, Stayed Pretty, the one thing I thought deserved more attention was the artists’ emotional bond with the bands that they create posters for. I didn’t get a real good sense if the artists were creating posters for bands they liked and/or that inspired them or if the art came first and then they had to wait to use it until the right band/show/venue came along.
Nevertheless, the story is good, the characters interesting, the interviews revealing, the art (most of it) beautiful.
Eileen Yaghoobian will introduce Died Young, Stayed Pretty at the Wexner Center on Wednesday night at 7pm and then answer questions at the conclusion of the film. Tickets are $5 for Wexner Center members and students, $7 for the general public. Show up early (6pm) to see (and, if so inclined, purchase) art by local rock poster artists Mike Martin, donewaiting illustrator Clinton Reno, and Mike & Drue.