The Heads of State (Jason Kernevich/Dusty Summers) (US)

The Heads of State (Jason Kernevich/Dusty Summers) (US)

Remember those travel posters of the beginning of previous century ? Pure arts, often by unknown artists but graphicaly perfects. The Head of State Studio is giving a new life to that kind of art. But if they are on the blog today, it's, of course, because, with the same talent they use for travel posters, they are also making fantastic gigposters. But it would have been a shame not to mention their other works !

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

Lately we've been listening to new stuff like Youth Lagoon, James Blake, and WU LYF, as well as old favorites like Can, The Band, and Gene Clark.

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

We are both from the Philadelphia area. We started our little design studio about 8 or 9 years ago and we primarily work under the traditional print design umbrella, creating posters, logos, book covers, and illustrations for a variety of clients.

When did you start drawing?

We both started drawing/scribbling at a young age. Probably around 5 or 6.

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

Super heroes and comics in our schoolbooks paved the way to MAD Magazine and CRACKED, which eventually led us to drawing band logos, making punk flyers, and designing album covers.

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

We both run the studio full-time.

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?

We work with a variety of magazines and publications. Our work can be seen in the New York Times from time to time.

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

We love all kinds of artists and designers. Classic stuff like David Klein and Erik Nitsche, as well as more contemporary designers like Art Chantry and Jeff Kleinsmith. We also love a lot og book jacket designers like John Gall and Peter Mendulsund.

What are the principal steps in your work ?

We begin by sketching and by collecting reference material. Once we find the idea we like, we work to render it in the computer but with hopes of preserving a more hand-made look.

Do you do everything by hand or on computer?

It's mix. But everything ends up in the computer.

How long does it take you to do a poster?

It really varies. Some can take 2 or 3 hours. Others can drag on.

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 ?

While we do have a style, for us the ideas come first. Our style is just our preferred way with which to communicate our ideas. If we came up with a great solution that involved horses running out of the water at sunset, we'd figure out a way to do it.

For which band have you already worked for?

Wilco, R.E.M., The National, and the Decemberists.

For which band would you love to work?

We'd love to work with Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, or Willie Nelson.

Do you choose the artists yourself?

No, we are artists for hire.

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?

The most difficult part is coming up with something new and fresh. We've done a lot of posters for bands and it can get tedious. We really enjoy doing posters for our cultural clients such as arts organizations and theatre groups.

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

We were lucky to be included in the poster craze that was popular and relevant in the first half of the decade. There were so many great poster artists that emerged from that time. Artists like Little Friends of Printmaking, Seripop, and Burlesque of North America represent the more eclectic side of the genre, while studios like ourselves, Aesthetic Apparatus, the Patent Pending, and Methane Studios speak more towards traditional graphic design sensibilities.

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?

On our website

The best praise you received lately?

The American graphic designer Michael Bierut recently bought a poster from us and sent a nice note telling us how much he liked the idea behind it. We're big fans. That was a nice day to be a graphic designer.

What can we wish you for the future?

We have many things we're working on. New client work, new products, and a new website.

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