GRIZZLY BEAR & THE END OF 2017
Happy New Year and an even happier end to 2017 to you! Thanks in advance for paying attention to what is about to become my online diary, don't worry though it will be full of art and design and loaded with sketches and inside looks at process and thought. Although there were plenty of terrible things and happenings in the world in 2017, for me it began as shitty as it could've but progressed to be a really big year for The Graphite Club.
We finally picked up and left the very place that both myself and TGC were born, the incredible Milwaukee, WI. Our destination was the promising land that is just west of the midwest, Denver, CO. The move was made for a barrel full of reasons, with this unit of measurement alluding to one of them. I will refrain from boring you with any of that and instead, move on to the real stuff. It begins with my first gig posters in the new city and testing the new print shop setup in an entirely different climate. The great Grizzly Bear hired me for a pair of posters to celebrate back to back shows at one of Denver’s favorite venues, The Ogden Theatre. I was quite excited to get this project, as Grizzly Bear is on that list of bands I keep on repeat while drawing and working through long nights. It’s always a fun challenge to create work for a band I truly admire, and on top of that, this would be the very first diptych poster set I've created for a band.
To oversimplify the process and thoughts behind these two prints, they ended up being a huge culmination of things beginning with the move to the high desert. The move itself lead to a sort of welcomed loneliness that leaving home for the first time came with, an emotion that Grizzly Bear’s Painted Ruins really seemed to evoke. This combined with the proximity to endless nature helped give way to a path I always love exploring, that of a single figure intimately portrayed in a moment in nature with no sure story or understanding as to why. Initial sketches came for the first image directly from a tree I had already spent days gazing at from my new morning coffee spot. Then, quickly landed a very ominous and relaxed figure curled into the blank winter branches. Following these sketches was the puzzle of figuring out how the second image would relate without being a simple mirrored version of the girl in the tree. The mountains and rocks seemed a fitting answer but took much exploration before I came up with allowing the structure to be a sort of inverse of the tree, landing snow to mimmic the shape that is the tree in poster one.
This was a seemingly endless mental battle as the set became an exploration in the actual printing process at this point, perfect for piling onto the stresses of a virgin print shop, right? Finally, theres the glowing light and broken shape up top, this was all about the energy of the band's music and their very unique and ambiguous sound.
So, as has become great habit, I gripped my pencil and hatched until the blister on my finger reformed, drawing for the first time, at the full scale of 18 by 24 inches. Then, of course a redrawing of the Day 1 illustration because of stubborn tendencies I may or may not have when working with no-one around to convince me otherwise. The “ghost leaves” pattern outside of the tree was a play on how winter hadn’t really arrived yet as we approached December here with 70 degree days, something very new for a Wisconsin native to witness. The leaves themselves were also a solution at balancing the large amount of meticulously hatched space in the rocks of the Day 2 poster.
I will avoid boring you with more long sentences about printing in the new, half built print shop, but instead leave a photo of the shack in the midst of it's transformation. ->
I do hope you feel like this was worth your time in making it this deep into the post and so in order to do so, I will be sending off a few of these prints for free. All you have to do is "Join The Club" at the very bottom of this post, this will get you on my email list to keep ya' informed on print releases before anyone else knows about them. I will then randomly select a handful of winners and ship off some prints! Unfortunately, this is the only way to acquire these for the time being (don't ask).
Final Prints -
Each 4- Screens Printed on 100lb French Paper, 18 x 24 inches
As always, thanks for caring about this smoldering passion that drives this club of 2!
-A guy with a pencil and his super loyal pup