F2 Designs, as defined on their site is graphic design oriented. What is Graphic design ? "The term “graphic” applies to anything that can be seen with the human eye. At f2, we design anything and everything. From billboards to grocery bags. You name it we can do it. Don’t believe it? Try us. We love what we do, the weird thing is, we love what you do too." as explained on the website. For his posters, Dirk Fowler seems to do it the same way. Very esthetic and graphically perfect, no doubt that Dirk loves what he does !
Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?
At this very moment, Simon and Garfunkel, but also today the new Ryan Adams record and Jawbreaker.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I was raised by my grandparents in a very small farming community in the Texas Panhandle. I currently live in Lubbock, Texas where I teach at the University, make posters and hang out with my wife and three kids, two dogs, a cat, a fish and a guinea pig. I’m more of a zoo keeper really.
When did you start drawing?
As soon as I could. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t draw. At age 8, I submitted a drawing to Jack and Jill magazine which got published. It’s all been downhill from there.
I never limited myself to only the margins of the schoolbooks.
I didn’t have any formal art training until college. When I finally did, I was lucky enough to study with some very talented and inspiring artists.
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
I’m an Associate Professor of graphic design at Texas Tech University which pays most of my bills. I’d like to think I could make posters full time, but I have three kids to support and I really enjoy teaching.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
I’ve done a fair amount of magazine illustration. I had a monthly column I illustrated for Texas Monthly magazine for a year, but at the moment, nothing regularly.
It’s probably easier to list who/what I’m NOT influenced by. I’m a huge fan of mid century modern design... Alvin Lustig, Lester Beall, Ladislav Sutnar, etc. The first concert poster artists I was interested in were Art Chantry and Jeff Kleinsmith. My teacher from college, Bob Caruthers and people he introduced me to, like Milton Glaser and Arnold Varga have had a great impact on my life. I have a close friendship with Jason Munn, and I’d like to think we have both become better designers/poster artists because of it.
What are the principal steps in your work ?
I spend quite some time staring into space, listening to music, looking at Facebook and generally anything to avoid the problem at hand. Eventually, I will start doodling in my sketchbook and sketch until I develop a couple of ideas that I can refine on the computer. I letterpress print all my own work, so the next step is usually cutting the printing plates by hand and setting type in wood or metal before pulling the prints by hand.
Uh oh, I think I answered this already. I need my hands and a computer.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
There is no set amount of time. It really depends on how much time I have. I’ve done them in hours and I’ve taken months.
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 ?
I didn’t plan on developing a style, it just sort of happened. Luckily, my style is the reason most clients would hire me. I actually think I COULD paint the horse and sunset, whether I WOULD is a different story.
Fortunately, too many to list. Wilco, Spoon, New York Dolls, No Doubt, to name a few recognizable ones.
For which band would you love to work?
Most of the bands I would love to work for are dead. It would be cool to do something for Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen. Oh, and Dolly Parton!
Do you choose the artists yourself?
Most of the time they contact me.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
It is definitely developing the concept or idea.
I’m not sure it is a scene in the typical sense of the word, but I suppose I am. I think the artists who post on Gigposters.com and participate at Flatstock events have made a significant impact on current graphic design and illustration.
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?
My website is http://www.f2-design.com/ and of course you can find me on http://www.gigposters.com./
The best praise you received lately?
I think it was a comment Casey Burns (a fellow poster artist whose work I greatly admire) made about one of my posters on gigposters.com. “I swear Dirk sees the world in silhouette and giggles all the time about things the rest of us can't see.”
Wish me good health and that my one year old daughter continues to improve her sleeping habits so that I can get my work done.
Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!