[Art] Show Preview: Jason Potter’s EMPTY CITY

[show_avatar email=jess@iwenttoashow.com align=left avatar_size=62] This Friday, artist, designer, and print maker Jason Potter will show a selection of his work from 7-10p at 10denza in the CWE. Pal of Potter’s DJ Ryan Snowden will be along for the ride, providing musical accompaniment, and Bruiser Queen (of which Potter is one-half) will perform.

Jason Potter and Morgan Nusbaum of Bruiser Queen. Photo by Kimberly Enloe.

If you’re interested in shows happening around town, then you’ve seen Jason’s show posters, and they most likely caused you to pause, turn, and do a double take. The artist and musician answered a few of my questions about inspiration, influence, and how to thrive in an “empty city”.

When did you start producing show posters? How have you seen your business expand over the past year or so?

I’ve been designing posters/flyers/handbills for shows since I played in my first band in 1995, but it wasn’t until 2006 or so that I finally got a grasp on the technical ability to produce screen printed posters. Things were slow at first, but lucky for me the climate in St. Louis has really turned toward an appreciation of hand-printed pieces. In many ways this preference over slick digital printouts parallels the preference of vinyl records over the mp3, and with supportive venues like the Firebird, it’s really granted me an exciting and productive couple of years.

Poster by Jason Potter.

Do you stick to St. Louis shows and/or a certain type of music when creating posters?

Not at all! I love designing and printing posters for all types of shows that happen all over the country. Creatively, the range is invigorating and has really served as a conduit to meeting people, musicians, and their fans that I would never have had the privilege of interacting with otherwise.

Your style is very distinct, especially when it exists in a show poster sea of naturescapes and bears riding bicycles. What’s the inspiration for your style of design, and how do adapt it to particular bands/concerts?

Thanks, I’d like to think so. It’s not that I set out to be different really, but I just can’t comprehend how so many other creative people end up making so many pieces that look the same. Music is so fantastic in the way that it sparks our imagination, and I believe it has to stir people in different ways. So most times I’ll start out by gathering some of the band’s music and researching some of their album covers or band photos to get an idea of where they’re coming from visually. From there, the collaboration begins – sometimes direct, sometimes indirect – and I get lost in my library of source images until something locks in that I’m not only pleased with, but I think the band and their fans will enjoy. That’s not to say I don’t tend toward the odd, the underground, the playful, the humorous aspects of art – I guess that’s the heart of my aesthetic.

Poster by Jason Potter.

Explain the origin of the term Empty City.

Empty City is a concept I’ve personally been connected to for some time now. St. Louis is such a big city, with quite a large population, but much of it sits empty. Not only literally in terms of brick buildings, but in terms of participation in the arts. It’s much better than it was even a few years ago, but much of that population is so focused on career, family, and sports. So Empty City isn’t a comment on the negative aspects of that, rather the positive. The infrastructure is there – if you have an idea, go for it! There’s no one there to stop you. Go see your favorite band and stand right in front. It doesn’t matter if you’re the only one there – and some times you will be. Don’t be afraid to start something. Start a radio show, a blog, or pick up a squeegee and print a poster. If your heart is in it, you’ll find your audience and St. Louis will be a better place for it.

More info about Jason and the chance to buy his awesome stuff are right here.

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