CHANNEL ISLANDS

Art or trash? Poster archives

In asylum, bands, havienda, jersey, music, pesos, posters on August 13, 2009 at 17:38

Stephan of BBC Jersey Introducing recently asked me for my opinions on flyposting and the mooted possibility of permanent sites in St. Helier for display of material by events promoters.

The issue of what place in the town promotional imagery is allowed isn’t only to do with the illegality of putting posters on private property without property owners’ consent. It is a fact that finance companies are invited to display staggeringly large adverts on the sides of public town buildings, the car park in Sand Street for example. Money doesn’t talk, it screams in six foot high lettering at people scurrying from office to sandwich bar. Is that more or less offensive than an A3 poster on a hoarding or bus shelter?

I hope the proposed poster sites are built and not just debated briefly then forgotten, and they’d better be large. If they are situated wisely they could become a focal point for the island’s music scene and a kind of improvised, constantly shifting exhibit. Various poster designers and promoters could use them to engage in a friendly, competitive battle in which visual impact and originality of style will be devices of success.

I am intrigued by opportunities to introduce political, social and poetic significations into the daily lives of town denizens. In my view, a good poster is one that doesn’t just tell you who, when, where, and how much, but also creates a frisson, or disturbance, in contrast to normative social activities. By doing this, ideas of what in culture ought, and ought not, to occur, can be challenged and explored.

Here are a few of my gig posters from the period 2001-’02. They were made with help from friends more skilled in image manipulation than I was at that time. A couple of them contain sexual images. Interestingly, the From Two Cities poster featuring stick figures engaging in an ambiguous act that might be fellatio was one that parish authorities complained about to the club’s manager while the poster for the Dubliminal show, which is much more explicit, was not remarked upon.

from-two-cities-may-31-2002

face-off-march-31-2002

face-off-december-19-2001

dogliminal-august-10-2001

bubblebrain-may-30-2001

dubliminal-march-9-2001

Six years later, with a surer grasp of digital image editing, I made the posters for the short run of Havienda events. Here’s a few I consider to be the best of that bunch.

  1. Sweet posters! Man there’s so many nights I should have gone to but for some reason didn’t. I am a stupidhead!

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