Denver is full of excellent artists and designers, whose images successfully articulate the mood of a show before anyone hears the music. Here are thirteen of the best, from the most commercially successful artists to those starting out, from those who have worked for major music festivals to those who focus on the underground. Most of them are easy to contact if you would like to work with them -- you'll find email addresses or web sites below.
Arianne Garcia Facebook: www.facebook.com/catsuitpress
Arianne Garcia's work has most recently cropped up for shows at 7th Circle Music Collective. Her distinctive and spare black ink images on white paper are often light dig at social expectations in the long tradition of punk rock iconoclasm. That she has developed a typographic style for her flyers sets her far apart from someone just throwing some information on to an appropriate image.
Alex Fiedler Tumblr: dorkbraindork.tumblr.com/
For the last couple of years, you may have seen Alex Fiedler's work gracing flyers for shows that don't even include his own band, Chase Ambler. Still, there is a pattern: Most of his work is for all-ages shows. There is a superficial resemblance in his work to a mixture of Edward Gorey and Raymond Pettibon, because the images are so striking. But Fiedler cites Julia Gfrörer, Anders Nilsen and his artist grandfather Jim Fiedler as stylistic influences. As with everyone else on this list, Fiedler also employs a typographical scheme in his flyer designs that highlights the information clearly even when informed by an irreverent sense of humor.
Sarah Century Tumblr: theemzsaracentury.tumblr.com/ Email: Sssaracentury@gmail.com Not as active in recent months, Century has designed flyers for every show she booked or in which she has been a performer. Also an accomplished cartoonist, Century honed her flyer conceptualization and design with an aesthetic informed in part by super hero comics of the '80s and 9'0s as well as alternative comics from the same era, especially the Hernandez Brothers of Love & Rockets fame. Even for the smallest of shows, Century uses imagery that make you want to know what kind of bands were playing.
Since he started putting on shows at Glob, John Golter has been working on his artwork and design to the point that it's distinctive and striking enough to receive mention on the national website gigposters.com. Golter started to hit his stride 2012. Influenced by the national industry of poster-making in Poland, Golter has a keen eye for placement of information and typographic design to suit the style of the image. He has successfully meshed a rich, surreal aesthetic with a practical and clean sensibility in overall design -- a very effective and eye-catching combination.
Scott McCormick Website: www.mccormickphotos.net/
More well known for his album designs than for his posters, McCormick's brings a depth of detail when creating and manipulating images. Rather than illustrating images or even truly employing a collage technique, McCormick crafts photorealistic images that suggests a visual dream state. Where his drawing skills come into play is in the typography, which he designs to sit perfectly within the main image.
Mat Brinkman Examples of his work: www.pictureboxinc.com/artists-authors/mat-brinkman Brinkman's work could be seen in the Providence, Rhode Island underground scene when he was part of the group of people that lived and played at legendary DIY Venue Fort Thunder. Brinkman relocated to Denver in recent years, and his unforgettable artwork could be seen for flyers, album art and t-shirts in the local DIY scene, especially in noise and extreme music circles. Most visibly, Brinkman's breathtakingly detailed images have graced the flyers for Denver Noise Fest and its t-shirts. Stylistically, it is reminiscent of something English grindcore bands might have come up with if they were more into death metal. But Brinkman's art has been influential in its own right, all but establishing a template for noise artists and other purveyors of thrillingly forbidding music to visually represent their sonic experiments.
Katrin Davis Website: katrindavis.com
What Mat Brinkman has been to Denver Noise Fest, Katrin Davis has been to the Titwrench festival. Her collage style pieces have a simplicity of design that masks her masterful blending of post-modernism, pop art and surrealism. Still, the crucial information is contained in a highly readable format. That Davis consistently provides a provocative and evocative image that highlights the information rather than distracting from the purpose of the flyer is a fine example of good practice in flyer design.
Michael David King Website: velveteenrobot.com
A prolific graphic designer, King's work has become part of the visual landscape of the Denver music scene and beyond. His posters and flyers are the sorts of things people buy to put in a frame and hang on their wall as a reminder of a great show. His images are often colorfully layered and informed by innovative design and creative concepts that instantly draw you in. And King's typographical work perfectly suits the vibe of the show.
Joe Triscari / Moonlight Speed Website: moonlightspeed.tumblr.com Joe Triscari's work under the design moniker of Moonlight Speed has also become recognizable in Denver and beyond. Triscari designs far more than show flyers/posters, taking some inspiration from the animated work of Hayao Miyazaki and Native American mythology. He creates a fantastical imaginative palette that has been tapped for local and national acts as well as the UMS. His ability to organize the image so that both the illustration and the typography emphasize each other makes his posters especially effective.
Noah Winningham Website: www.killbotdesign.com/
An incredibly versatile talent, Noah Winningham's work is most often seen gracing the poster design and other imagery for Soda Jerk. His posters look like they were designed partly for a movie and partly for a show. The sheer range of themes and symbolic imagery integrated into each flyer, along with strong messaging integrated into the design to give clear essential details, makes Winningham's work impressive.
John Vogl Website: thebungaloo.com
John Vogl's concepts may not always be as elaborate as some of the other artists on this list, but his typographical design is second to none. His designs suggest movement where movement would make sense and serenity and peace where that makes sense, often both within a single poster. Influenced in his early years by cartoonists Bill Watterson and Gary Larson, he learned a good bit about design from mentors such as Jay Ryan, Aesthetic Apparatus an Delicious Design League. Vogl's work has been commissioned by musicians, labels and venues from well outside the Mile High City. There isn't a Vogl poster that isn't incredibly visually engaging in its perfect balance of artwork and message.
Ethan McCarthy Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ethan McCarthy is best known for his work as a musician in extreme-metal bands like Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire, Keep and Primitive Man. He's also had experience running the DIY venues Kingdom of Doom, Blast-O-Mat and Aqualung's Community Music Space. A disarmingly gregarious and compassionate person, in seeming contrast to his bleak, aggressive and sometimes forbidding music, McCarthy has been a truly positive force in the local music scene. Recently he's gained notice for his visual art, as well. The dark, detailed and imaginative fliers he's made for various shows immediately pull you in and make you curious as to what event could warrant such powerful imagery.
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If you'd like to contact me, Tom Murphy, on Twitter, my handle is @simianthinker.