Adam Pobiak (US)

Adam Pobiak (US)

Special delivery process for Adam Pobiak, as he is about to begin an exposition in my own native town: Paris !!! And believe me, it is truly an event as Paris is not that deeply present on the rock poster map. If you add the fact that Adam is one of those americans seriously involved in the european culture (Chuck Sperry is the second one, I'm joking, most american artists are really enthusiatic about the fact that rock posters are growing worldwide) you should undersatnd why I was such in a hurry to welcome him aboard ! Not to say that the picture he sent me was my ultimate motivation to post his interview right now !!!

Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?

At the moment Black Crowes’ “Shake Your Money Maker” is on, generally it’s older, stoner-y classic rock, most of the time that means Black Sabbath.

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

I’m originally from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, but I’ve been in London for about five years now, and in Munich for a year and a half before that. I’ve always tried to do as much as possible really. Most of that falls into creative ventures… but I’ve been a bike messenger, recycling plant worker, student, skateboarder, snowboarder, advertising art director and barista. Ha, I even played ice hockey professionally for a while, and of course I pawn my silly scribblings off on unsuspecting bands every now and again. I’m also not very afraid of the pub.

When did you start drawing?

I didn’t really start drawing until 2008. Before that I messed around with a lot of copy machines and stuff. When computers and Photoshop came around, I got super psyched and toyed with them a lot. But it wasn’t until I started drawing and mixing that with the machine aided bits that my work started to get interesting.

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

I’ve never had a proper art, illustration or design course all. It’s all been trial and error, slowly figuring out what works and what doesn’t. I did take a silkscreen course at Oberlin College in Ohio. That class changed my life. Learning how to print has had a bigger impact on my life than just about anything else, aside from one or two non-art related things.

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

I’ve always lived by my creative wits and design skills, but not really by what I consider my ART. Hopefully, one day. As I mentioned above, I’m currently an art director at a digital advertising agency. I cram my art in when I can.

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?

Every now and again something comes along that I like to get involved with. There are a few bloggers that have been pretty great to me. Actually, I just found out that some work I did a while back ended up in the Communication Arts Design Review Annual, which is great, and quite a surprise as I never submitted anything! Some of my work will be in Gig Posters Volume 2, which comes out in November, and due to my alphabetic superiority, I’ve got the first two pages there. Score!

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

Growing up in Pittsburgh had a big impact. It has a bunch of good art schools and there were a ton of really good bands around when I was there. So there was a constant flow of interesting stuff going on and the city also has a pretty great history. In general, I like faces a lot, animals, I love all the old psychedelic 60s poster art. I’m sure my record collection has influenced my artwork quite a bit, the covers as much as the music… Remember when there used to be record covers? But I imagine the thing that has had the most influence on me, is the silkscreen process itself. John Pearson, who taught me how to print, once said something like: “If it looks like it was mass produced, then why go through all the trouble of printing it by hand?” It took a while, but that finally sank in.

What are the principal steps in your work?

I think about something a lot before I start in with any sketches or anything. But from there, it’s all a bit of a mash up. I’ll make images on my computer, print them out, then draw over top of them, then scan it all back in and start the whole process over again. I typically go through three or four rounds of that before I run out of time and have to print.

How long does it take you to do a poster?

Ha, that varies drastically! A few of my best have been designed in a day. If the juices are flowing, they just do it on their own. But I’ve also spent up to a few weeks on a design (you’d never know by looking at it though). Then, it’s normally at least a day to print everything up.

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?

That’s a fun question, Nobody’s really asked me that before. The great thing about my art is that I get to do what I want, so that stays pretty consistent. Bands will approach me because they’ve seen what I’ve done before and liked it, so I can just carry on. Or I’ll approach bands, which I’m psyched about doing something for, and they tend to be on the same wavelength, so all goes smoothly. I’m certainly capable of doing a wide variety of work but I leave that for my day job. I’ve produced creative and images for things like fashion lables, toothpastes, games consoles, films, Mobile phone providers, insurance agencies, record labels, investment banks, museums, feminine hygiene products, airlines, car companies, universities etc., which all require very different approaches. So my ART is my outlet for the stuff, I enjoy doing personally. Having said that, your oil painting of tidal horses in the setting sun might be a stretch for me. But if you’re super keen on that one, I know some guys that can take care of you, let me know ;)

For which bands have you already worked?

I’ve been pretty lucky in this category. So far I’ve done stuff for: The Black Keys, The Flaming Lips, Motorhead, The Decemberists, Robyn, Kyuss, !!! (chk chk chk), Lily Allen, Mastodon, Sunn 0))), Om, Grails, Temper Trap, Dead Meadow, Bruce Hornsby, Modey Lemon, even Ke$ha and loads more.

For which band would you love to work?


Do you choose the artists yourself?

Usually the bands or their management get in touch and ask me to do something for them. But every once in a while, if I see a show coming into town that really excites me, I’ll fire off a bunch of emails to see if they’d be interested in getting a poster done.

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster?

These days… finding the time.

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

I wouldn’t really consider myself as part of a “graphic” scene but I think everyone doing posters in Europe and the UK are in the same boat. There are a few of those people really working and pushing to generally boost awareness of posters over here. There are others, but as far as the UK goes, Gary McGarvey of Horse & Screenadelica as well as Chris and Alex of WeThreeClub & PosterRoast have been heroes on this front.

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?

Funny that you should ask… I will have my first solo exhibition at Sesame ( - 51, quai de Valmy) in Paris next month. I’m going to be there for the opening party and pop-up shop on Friday, November 4th, and the exhibition will be up until the 8th of January 2012.

Other than that,

I’ve just finished coding my online shop, now I just have to upload the posters, so that should be appearing any day now at

Gig Posters Vol. 2 is coming out in November. I’ve got the first 2 pages!

There are a couple other books in the works, I can’t speak about yet. but those will be great. I’ll keep you posted.

The best praise you received lately?

I think, people asking me to get involved in what they’re doing is the best praise possible. There are A LOT of artists out there, so if someone comes to me, it really means a lot. So, thanks!

What can we wish you for the future?

A beer will do.

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