Pierre: Whenever I see your new posters I'm always amazed at the wide variety of styles you use. Does that happen naturally or is it just how it works with you?
Nate:Why thank you! Well, the reason this happens is because I don't really think I am "good enough" to constantly work in one, recognizable style. I try to treat each poster as a new project and let the band and their music kinda lead the way for what the print will look like. By doing this, I am hoping I am making the poster more about the music than my art, which is important to me.So most of the posters you do are for bands you already know and have an idea what their sound is? Or when working for new bands do you listen to their music to find inspiration within it?
You're a regular Dan Rathers! Yes, I try to only do posters for bands I have listened to and enjoy. I feel that if I don't understand what the music is about or don't like that band, I have a hard time getting the juices flowing on a concept or imagery and the poster usually goes nowhere. I try to "keep up on the scene, maaaaan" and I am lucky to have the luxury of working for two great venues that book great acts. Occasionally I get o ffers to do work from bands I have never heard of, but in thos e cases i DEMAND links to the tunes or Cd's to be sent to me.
So demanding! You've also done a few collaborative posters with Micheal Deforge and Zeloot, what was the process like on those?
I love to collaborate! They both went down relatively the same way. Initiate the conversation through an email, and get an idea started. I usually let the person I am working with make the first move. From there we kind of just ping pong images back and forth, adding more and more each time via email. After a few pass backs, both parties are happy and the print was done. Both Michael and Eline were dreamy to work with as I really admire both of their work and it was sooper-fun working on both. Collaborating is always so rewa rding with me, as its always a fresh result and something I could never have done by myself. I work with my girlfriend a lot too, her name is Jen Skelley and she is quited an illustrator. I enjoy collaborating so much, Jon Smith and I have a collaborative poster making team going that we call 1982. We have been quite busy lately and have a bunch of cool stuff dropping really soon.
Woah, that's pretty exciting. There seems to be a lot of design super-groups(BONA, Patent Pending ) making posters these days, I guess its strength in numbers. Is there anyone you really want to collab with in the future?
Hmm, really I am always up for a collab with anyone, but I think Delicious and I could make a pretty cool tag team. Also, collabing with ANY of you wild Canadians would be super great in my book as well. I do love me some Canada.
Have you spent a lot of time up here? Or do you just like the idea of it, haha.
I like the beer, the people and the whole art scene. I feel you maniacs have a really great scene going on and the art is really free and creative.
Well thank you! I get excited when I think of all the people I know who make things up here and then even more excited when I meet new people. There is so much great work being made these days worldwide, Its really hard to keep up. What would be a dream project for you?
I would love to set up some sort of collaborative tee shirt or art print series. It would include me picking a bunch of people I admire and working with all of them making a line of fancy tees or a series of prints.
Oh that would be super cool. It would be neat to see what people would come up with if there was unlimited budgets and people could just go crazy. Like jeans designed by Zeloot.
Do you have any collections? It seems like pretty much every artist/designer collects something.
It is true. I feel that designing does directly relate to collecting things for some reason. I have a lot of concert posters. I started off as just fan of poster art and slowly turned it into (sort of) a career in the past two years. The walls of my apt. are completely covered. I also have a lot of records, but sadly don't make enough time these days to listen to all of them.
What kinds of music do you listen to? Is it pretty in time with the posters you make?
Yes and no. It's a pretty safe bet that I am listening to the bands that I am making posters for at any given time, but I also listen to a lot of garage rock, DJ mixes, older jazz and funk as well. I seem to have a short attention span, which I think is part of the reason why i make so many posters. I am basically unable to do the same thing or listen to the same thing for too long. I think that's another thing I find so enjoyable about making posters, is that they are quick and done in a few days so I can start working on the next one.
For sure, it is a pretty unique area of design. Do you print all of your stuff yourself?
For the most part yes. My friend Journe and I print basically any poster that we can handle ourselves. If someone else is paying for the printing (band or management) sometimes I will HAPPILY send it over to D&L. We use Sherwin Williams house-paint right out of the can, so really the only time we don't print is when I do full color, CMYK prints (which I have been doing a lot of lately, as you will soon see) or if I just have too many posters to print by a certain date. Since Mr. Williams doesn't make C, M, Y paint I leave that to the pros.
Does Journe do any design work himself?
Nope, he has worked as a commercial screen-printer for like 12 years though and made printing my own stuff really easy and trouble free.
Wow, its pretty rad that you have a good friend who knows the ropes. Printing with house-paint seems to be pretty rampant, much to the archival poster aficionados chagrin. I know Seripop uses Pittsburgh Paints for all of their posters and use it to do CMYK process prints, maybe get in touch with them if you're looking for tips. You know, if you even want to get into that.
Whoa, thanks for the tip, I will definitely do that. Its always more cost efficient to print your own, and if I can get my greasy paws on some cheap CMY housepaint it could be TROUBLE!
Here I am divulging trade secrets! Chloe is going to bite me again. Who are your biggest influences and inspirations for doing what you do?
Here goes: I find Zeloot's "modern psychedelic" to be mind blowing, especially being such a huge fan of the early psych stuff. I just love what she is doing. I envy Print Mafia's aesthetic and work ethic a lot. I think Connie and Jim have a great thing going, an awesome look and jaw-dropping production rate. I love Jay Ryan's thick line art, humor and inspiring color palettes, Deforge's amazing illos and Dirk Fowler's super intelligent design solutions. Really I love the whole Gigposter scene as there are just so many folks making inspiring work in such a free forum that you don't see anywhere else in the "design world".
You don't see that kind of creativity in annual reports? You aren't looking hard enough!
El oh Elle. I just mean in every day commercial design. Like, I work part time as a creative director making identity and websites for credit unions... and these posters I make are a savior to me. I get cool freelance gigs, but my favorite work is making posters, as they are as free as can be.
Well I think its pretty awesome that you get the best of both worlds, one to pay the bills and one to keep you happy, haha. Any final words you'd like to share?
Not really, I feel like I said WAY too much already and by this point most of the people reading this will have either fallen asleep on their keyboard or gone outside to play. Thanks again for interviewing me, it was fun and you are top shelf in my book, pal.
Thanks for your time! I'm excited to see the stuff you have in the works!
You can check out more of Nate's stuff by visiting his website.