When I started putting together our Figment Concert Poster Contest I went on the web to do some research on who were some of the top new poster designers, and in doing so I stumbled across GigPosters.com.  The site is a virtual treasure trove of concert posters and is great way to bring yourself up-to-speed on designers across the country.

Clay Hayes is the mastermind behind the site, and since 2001 has built it into the world’s largest historical archive of posters with over 100,000 works from more than 1,000 designers.  With the release of his new book “Gig Posters Volume 1:  Rock Show Art of the 21st Century” he’s helping to bring more attention to this deserving group of artists.

Figment News: How did you first get interested in concert posters, and what led you to create GigPosters.com?

Clay Hayes: I used to play in a band, and collected the flyers from our shows. I was a computer programmer, and wanted to create a website, so it naturally came to me to create a site about gig posters.

FN: In this age of digital downloads and disposable culture many may see concert posters as a relic of the past. Why do you think they endure, and are they enjoying a renaissance of sorts?

CH: I think it is always interesting to look back historically and see where a band played, and who they played with. These days, with MP3s etc, posters are a great way to have a piece of art that relates to the bands you like, to hang on your wall.

FN: Are concert posters more than just ads?

CH: They can be more than just ads to those who collect posters, and fans who want memorabilia to hang on their walls.

FN: Many concert poster designers seem to be musicians themselves. Do you think that’s a prerequisite or just a function of them being artistic, creative people?

CH: I think it is just part of being involved in the scene. I’m sure being musicians, like I was, sparked their interest in posters.

FN: So how does the site work? Does it cost the designers to submit and display their work? Can anyone submit their poster designs?

CH: The site is free for everyone. Anyone can submit posters and interact.

(Editor’s Note: Only posters for real gigs can be submitted. Please do not submit any fake band concert posters to GigPosters.com)

FN: I noticed that a lot of designers use your site as their online portfolio. That clearly speaks to your relationship with the designers who use it. Are you friends with a lot of the designers on the site?

CH: I have become friends with many of the designers over the years. 4 times a year, many of us meet in person at the Flatstock poster conventions.

FN: You’ve published a book, “Gig Posters: Rock Show Art of the 21st Century”, that catalogs a number of the designers whose work appears on GigPosters.com. How did you select the designers who are featured in the book?

CH: I narrowed it down to approx 500 of the best designers from the site, then worked with the publisher to find the top 101 that we wanted to showcase in the book.

FN:  Was it hard narrowing down the list of designers to create Volume 1?

CH:  It was very difficult, and tons of amazing poster designers were left out.  Hopefully, I can showcase many more with other volumes of the book.

FN:  Who would you put in your Top 5 designers or is that simply too hard to do?

CH:  I would prefer not to say, as that would just be my personal opinion. Everyone has their own tastes, and discovering favorites is part of the fun of exploring the site, and book.

FN:  I love how you not only provide information about the designers themselves, but also their influences and preferred mediums/methods as well as some background on them. Are you hoping to elevate the design, typography and printing aspects of this art form as well as the profile of the designers themselves?

CH:  I think it just helps people understand where the designers are coming from, and what influences their designs.

FN:  I noticed the book has 101 perforated posters that you can actually take out of the book. Was that a conscious decision to allow people the opportunity to present the art in its original poster form?

CH:   It gives people the opportunity to hang some of the “book versions” of the posters on their wall, and hopefully spark some interest in collecting the real posters.

FN: Where can people pick up Gig Posters Vol. 1?

CH:  http://www.gigposters.com/book

FN: Is Volume 2 already in the works?

CH: Not yet .. but hopefully soon. That is all up to the publisher… and I’m just waiting to find out when it will happen.

Well, all of us at Figment hope it’s soon, because we love Volume 1!  To find out more and stay on top of the newest poster designs, etc. you can follow Clay and GigPosters.com on Twitter and Facebook.

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