Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chuck Sperry Widespread Panic Atlanta Poster New Years Eve 2013

Details from Chuck Sperry on his beautiful Widespread Panic poster for the Atlanta show on New Years Eve.

Here’s the poster I’ve been hinting about on my website, on Instagram and through Facebook since December 11 (here).

I set aside the entire month to work on my poster for Widespread Panic New Years Eve. Starting in late November, I have been working diligently on my poster design for Widespread Panic’s New Years Eve show. Months ago, Widespread Panic asked for an asian themed poster. I answered that I am very influenced by Japanese art, and that I would love to create a Japanese styled poster for the band.

I own an original Hiroshige, I have it hung right above my drawing board. It is my talisman, a beacon to guide me to work harder, an acme to reach for. I have pored through literally hundreds of Japanese prints over the years, until I have gotten good at distinguishing the different artists, 17th, 18th and 19th Century prints from each other, and in the process learned quite a lot about Japanese prints. One general idea I respond to in the history of Japanese printmaking is: the prints were produced and sold to the broad general public. Editions were very limited, usually 200 prints were produced, the woodcut technique limited edition size; the blocks would become ink-soaked, water-logged and distorted if more than 200 prints were produced. This also matches my belief that my prints should be as limited as possible, popularity of the band or event permitting.

I love the handling of space in the classic Japanese woodcut, the use of tight composition, and the use of pattern to break the space and add interest. One would have, no doubt, noticed this approach in my design and printing by now. I love the dynamism of the line work in Japanese art. Again, my love of this line quality carries through most of my work.

I worked on the sketches and preliminary designs in late Novemeber, started to create all the pattern designs and ink drawings into poster form from Dec 1 through Dec 11. On December 11 I started dropping hints in public, posting a cherry blossom photo on Instagram and posting a cherry blossom video on my website and linking it to Facebook.

I felt it would be a nice surprise, to break from the themes that I have been working on lately. To make this poster a surprise.

My poster is inspired by the 17th Century concept of Ukiyo-e (literally: floating world) “living only for the moment, gazing at the moon, snow, cherry blossoms and autumn leaves, enjoying wine, women and song, and in general, drifting along with the currents of life…” according to the Buddhist priest Asai Ryoi, the famous Japanese author. I portray a geisha playing a shamisen. A visual pun has this traditional musical instrument plugged discreetly into an amplifier hidden behind a screen (the cord runs from the shamisen under the screen and is plugged into the amp). I felt that this affirmation of carpe diem (seizing the moment) would be an appropriate note to strike at New Years, and a good note to ring us into 2014.

Most of this poster was color to color registration, where all six colors meet without being hidden by the black lines. In fact the black line only delineates between differing patterns, but does not hide or mask where the colors meet each other. I aspire to make a pure kind of print, where the technique is shown, and the artifact of printing is apparent, not hidden by black ink placed over where the colors are meeting. It’s an expression in form of clarity.

I created four custom patterns for my poster (see below). Three run as themes throughout the design, and the fourth, the cherry blossom pattern has four sub-patterns that interlock throughout it’s design. One note about the cherry blossom pattern, is that there are about 75 individual cherry blossoms in each repetition (not counting buds), and my custom geometrical patterns behind the blossoms are interlocking, repeating with each reiteration of the blossoms. The cherry blossom pattern was in itself many days of designing.

Widespread Panic, New Years Eve 2013
20 x 35
Edition of 625
6 colors on archival cream paper
Signed and Numbered

Widespread Panic will release this poster at their show in Atlanta on December 31, 2013.

Chuck will make a very limited release of Artist Proofs and variants of this poster on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at a random time on his website.

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