If you're searching really seriously on the web, you will probably find that a canadian rabbit is a coin that disappeared around 1967. Do I have to tell you that this has probably nothing to do with the kind of animal you can see on the picture on the left. Especially if, after a close look to the picture, you try to look for "canadian drunk rabbit". No, surely there is no place on the web to find anything about this strange animal... except, if you look around gigposters.com or… here ! ;)
"Never" by the Abandoned Pools.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I'm Jeremy Wilson, from Toronto, Canada. I'm a poster artist who makes hand-printed posters for bands, and I ran a co-op screenprinting studio called Popfuel for a few years.
When did you start drawing?
From birth, pretty much. I was always doodling.
I've never had any formal art training, but I've desperately needed it for many years. This is why I'm a designer and not an illustrator!
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
I have a day job, I work for a social media company. Posters have always been a part-time thing. I greatly envy those who can make a living from their artwork, it's not an easy living. I love posters but they don't make very good shelter material and they taste terrible.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
Hardly ever, I primarily do work directly for bands or promoters.
My biggest influence are the commercial artists from the first half of the 20th century, who I also liberally steal from in terms of imagery and style. As a designer, for my own walls I prefer illustrators like Jay Ryan, Guy Burwell or Tara McPherson because they're doing work I could only dream of doing.
What are the principal steps in your work ?
The first step - after being contacted by a band or promoter, of course - is figuring out what restrictions I have to work inside. These are usually things like the number of colours available (usually less than four solid colours per design), any themes, or the "tone" of the work itself as dictated by the band. Many artists have a consistent "look" to their work and are sought out for that, while I generally modify the look to match the band as much as possible.
The next step is the idea. The idea has to fit inside the restrictions, and I prefer to do things that are fun or clever. All my best posters are either funny or clever.
Everything after that is purely mechanical - drawing, designing in illustrator, separations, burning screens, etc.
Some start out on paper, but everything eventually ends up in the computer for final editing, colouring and tweaking. Some never see paper until they're printed. We live in the future.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
A few hours to several days, it's always different. Sometimes the printing takes less time than the design.
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 ?
If I had to make a living doing it, I'd give it the old college try, but I am in the position to tell people "no" and only do things that interest me. My artwork really suffers if I don't give a crap about what I'm doing. I want to give a crap.
For which band have you already worked for?
Death Cab For Cutie, Stars, The Hold Steady, Tegan and Sara - many more, big and small. Mostly for shows in Toronto.
Pearl Jam - not out of any love for the band, but because I would love to sell out of the posters in 32 seconds! Those PJ fans are crazy for posters.
Do you choose the artists yourself?
Not always, I did a lot of work for a local record store - Criminal Records - for shows they had, and it was mostly up-and-coming bands who I knew would never sell a poster, but the store guys were so dedicated to the local music scene it was worth it just because it made them so happy.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
The idea. Always the idea. Once you have that everything else is cake. Or pie. Whichever dessert you prefer.
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
Perhaps as part of the larger re-imergence of screenprinted posters in general, thanks to gigposters.com and the API, who run Flatstock. Without them, small time guys like me wouldn't get anywhere.
My gallery of work is up at popfuel.com/gallery or at gigposters.com. In real life it's in record store windows around Toronto. I don't have a store but if someone is interested in a poster, they can contact me.
The best praise you received lately?
Someone emailed me about my Rilo Kiley poster and said "thank you producing beautiful work and inspiring amateur printers who produce work for friends and get paid in beer" which is pretty spot on. Beer is good, as long as it costs more than a dollar. That last part is very important.
I could really go for a Coke right now.