Mark Arminski (US Version)

Mark Arminski (Version française - en cours...) 

In the 80s, Mark Arminski began working with various printmaking and photo techniques and incorporating those in his work with the human form. By the 1990's he was designing and printing posters for emerging national and local bands and these works were influenced by his love of drawing and painting.
Since then, Mark is consider as one of the most influent new art poster scene godfather...

What are we listening to when we come to visit you?

Right at this moment I have a DIRTY HARRY movie playing as background noise. "The DEAD POOL" starring Clint Eastwood. Usually when working I do listen to music though. Anything from Classic Rock, Doors, Hendrix, etc. Detroit early punk, the Stooges, MC5 to classical, to Tibetan and Gregorian Chants and almost everything in between. It really depends on the mood that I'm in or the mood that I feel I need to be in.

Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?

Mark Arminski, born 1950, survived, absorbed and retained a lot of the cultural revolution of the 1960's.  I was born and still reside in Detroit, MI. I've been making a living through the arts in one form or another for over 35 years. Mostly self-taught, I did attend art school but never finished. My art background is primarily printmaking, intaglio etching and screen printing as well as painting. I spent a few years tattooing and body painting. I guess I've had a pretty checkered art career but that is exactly what's kept it from being boring.

When did you start drawing?

According to my Mom I've drawn since I was a young child. She still has one of my earliest oil paintings hanging in her kitchen which I believe I did when I was still a pre-teen.

Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?

Yes, all the time. I specifically remember that during Science class (which at the time I found to be very boring) I would design my own flyers, influenced by the art of Detroit's Gary Grimshaw, for each upcoming show at the Grande Ballroom, which was host to all the top bands touring through Detroit during the 60's. I wish that I still had those things. I think that I was 16 years old.
I now read a lot about different art techniques and processes... and look at a lot of pictures.

Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?

I still make a living through the arts. Paintings, I do some lecturing and studio tours, a few commercial jobs a year and posters for selective events. I don't produce gig posters at the rate that I once did. There are so many young artists out there that are more than willing and capable of carrying on the "gig poster" torch.

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?

Not really although I was just featured as the centerfold artist for the premiere issue of "JERK of ALL TRADES", a free magazine/fanzine published by friends out of Los Angeles, CA

Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?

I'm sure that you've heard this before from other artists but I feel that I kind of suck up and absorb everything that's going on around me, than I spit it out in the form of art. I have been strongly influenced by the psychedelic poster artists when in comes to design sensibilities and color usage. Grimshaw, Mouse, Moscoso, Griffin. Painting has always been the masters!

What are the principal steps in your work ?

I very rarely plan things out. I usually try to let a piece evolve as I'm doing it, on the board. I find that if I give it too much thought or rework things too much it gets beat up and loses it's freshness. It's only art, it can never be perfect. If I feel that I need to change something I can do it in a future work. I guess, looking at it as a whole, art, like life, should be a constantly evolving work.

Do you do everything by hand or on computer?

When I was doing my peak amount of posters really the only thing that I used a computer for was body copy. 15-20 years ago that was the only way to do it, by hand. I still cut ruby (look it up if you don't know what it is), still draw things with a pen (I might scan it in once it's done) and I still use an X acto blade.

How long does it take you to do a poster?

That's a tough one. I guess that it takes me as long as I have time to do it. Give me a deadline and if it's possible, it will get done. Back at Ghetto Press (early 1990's) there were a few posters in which the art, separations, films and printing, runs of 100 or more (3 or 4 color) was all done in one day. I was younger then. I would usually tell promoters or management that I needed 18 days. How I came up with that number I'm not sure but it seemed to work for everybody at the time.

You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?

Posters I don't mind taking a little "direction" on but when it comes to painting, I'm very selfish. It has to be really interesting for me to want to paint something "specific" like that for someone (or enough money involved that I can't turn it down). So, I guess yes, that would be a problem. I most likely would not do it.

For which band have you already worked for?

Patti Smith has probably been my favorite. She is truly an incredible person and talent and really appreciates those who work with her. Iggy Pop... It's a pretty extensive list. Now I'm doing stuff locally, for friends, The Dirtbombs, Circus Boy, other local bands.

For which band would you love to work?
Do you choose the artists yourself?

No, I would always wait til someone contacted me. It always made it seem more legitimate that way.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?

I never ran into to many difficulties but if I had to pick one it would be over-direction by non-artist, managers or a committee of people who have multiple visions other than yours.

Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?

I think that there is a large gig poster community. Designers, collectors and those just interested in the documentation of the music scene, past and present. I'm not so active anymore but I'd like to think that I made a substantial contribution to that scene.
There are so many who have contributed greatly to the gig poster scene over the last 50 or so years that it would take pages to list them.

A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see
your work , on the web or in real life?

The best praise you received lately?

I guess the fact that I am able to sell paintings after doing gig posters for over 25 years. It's been a wonderful and interesting distraction. I just feel it's time to get back to painting.

What can we wish you for the future?

Health and PEACE

Last question: Do you know anything about french rock posters scene ?

Not much but I am going to look into it now.
Thanks so much.

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