CULTURE no image

Published on September 9th, 2011 | by Jill Sanford

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A Must See: Parkland is Burning!!!!!

“A good poster attacks you, a bad poster loves you and there are ‘art-for-art’s-sake’ posters that love themselves” (German graphic designer Uwe Loesch.) Tacoma local Art Chantry’s graphic design is definitely aggressive, confrontational, and hostile. In other words, it’s good.

“A good poster attacks you, a bad poster loves you and there are ‘art-for-art’s-sake’ posters that love themselves” (German graphic designer Uwe Loesch.) Tacoma local Art Chantry’s graphic design is definitely aggressive, confrontational, and hostile. In other words, it’s good.

Poster designed by Art Chantry & Lance Kagey

Known as the Pacific Northwest’s “grunge guru,” Chantry is famous nationwide for the posters and album covers he created for bands such as Nirvana, the Sonics, Gang of Others, Hole, and more. He was instrumental in developing a certain aesthetic of the late 1980s. As Fulcrum Gallery director Oliver Doriss puts it, “Art Chantry’s influence is pervasive throughout the Northwest and beyond. He helped define a look and style that has become so universally adopted by today’s graphic designers and the DIY crowd that it’s hard to imagine a time before it existed.”

On September 15th, Fulcrum Gallery is opening its doors and presenting Chantry to Tacoma with an up-close-and-personal exhibit that promises to a memorable opportunity to experience these aggressive designs. As Fulcrum’s website disclaims, this show is “not for the faint of heart, sensitive of temperament or easily offended,” although be sure to note that “coloring books will be provided for the children.” It is, however, for the lover of good graphic design. In Doriss’s own words, “this show should be of great interest to anyone who has designed a poster, printed a flier, loves graphics, fonts, typography, design, communication, advertising and subculture.”

After exhibiting his art work at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Modern Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Louvre, this Parkland native’s work will finally be on display in his own neighborhood. Additionally, Fulcrum will display some of Chantry’s “Mechanicals,” original pieces of artwork used and created for an offset printer, which is rarely used today.

Offset printing involves the transfer of ink from a plate to a separate rubber “blanket” before the image is finally transferred to paper or another system of support. Chantry’s dislike of the digital processes used in contemporary graphic design is well-known, and it is his hands-on process that is partly responsible for his unique style. He uses bold graphics and recognizable imagery to imbue his work with humor and to convey his unavoidable knack for confronting his audience.

As stated on the website Seattle Threads: “His [Chantry’s] work alternates between the surgically precise and the roughly thrown-together. Among his sources are ’60s psychedelic posters, wholesome ’50s advertising (including pages from tool catalogs and grocery store circulars) and Monty Python’s gloss on Edwardian illustration—usually presented with a sense of clashing social values. These are underscored by techniques like torn-edge collage, taped images, messy script, punch-printed lettering, startling juxtapositions and endless variations on the possibilities of photographic graininess achieved by repeated photocopying.”

It is Chantry’s particular style and background that led to this show at the Fulcrum. There is a mutual respect between Chantry and Doriss, who explains how he was introduced to the artist through a mutual friend, Lance Kagey of Beautiful Angle. “After a six month courtship of mistaken locations, ill-recorded times, and botched planning, Art and I finally met. We hit it off quite well and share a similar ideology in regards to culture, society, and creativity.”

Hear first-hand from Chantry about this specific ideology, his process, and more at the Fulcrum Gallery Artist Talk on Thursday, October 20th at 6pm. For more information on the Gallery hours and location, visit the website.

As Doriss states, “Art Chantry is a designer. He was a pivotal character in the music scene, creating and defining the look and feel of Seattle’s Grunge years.” He is also, as the exhibit is subtitled, a Native Son of Parkland, and this collection of poster art is aimed not at the masses, but at the community from where he came.

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One Response to A Must See: Parkland is Burning!!!!!

  1. Pingback: Art Chantry Tool Poster – eWallpapers

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