Matt Barnes (US)

Matt Barnes (US)

As said on their website, "Powerhouse is a multidisciplinary group of artists and designers whose energy and success is rooted in the hands-on process of rock poster design and printing. We started in 2004 as a group of friends making posters for our favorite bands. Fast forward to now, and we are translating that same spirit of collaboration and artistic drive into projects for Fortune 500 companies as well as major music industry clients.". No need to explain more why Matt Barnes is today our guest

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

Currently there is a rotation of podcasts (laserbrain), 90's hip hop (Warren G) and more or less ironic music (White Town). Not to mention the reviewing of new albums of every band band that we do posters for.

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

My name is Matt Barnes, I am the print guy over at Powerhouse Factories. There are currently 6 guys that work as PHF, I however am just focused on the print side. PHF is located in Newport, Kentucky which right outside of Cincinnati.

When did you start drawing?

I can't think of when I wasn't drawing, I constantly have a pen to paper my notes through school growing up are just covered in monsters and laser guns. Even today we had a meeting where I cranked out a handful of post-it note characters.

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

Of course I feel like I progressed even though I couldn't sell back my books at the end of the year. I eventually made it it through college with a BFA in Graphic Design.

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

PHF is my full time job. Through the shop we do design for all sorts of companies as well as doing the gig posters.

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?

Recently PHF was informed that we will be noted in the Print: regional design annual. So we are looking forward to see it when it comes out.

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

It's hard to say PHF's influence since we all have separate styles, but my personal influence comes from 60s &70s sci-fi and exploitation films to ben cooper masks and old matchbooks.

What are the principal steps in your work ?

Every job is different, some posters I know before getting the job I know what to do and others I'll take days listening to records and watching movies to get the concept.

Do you do everything by hand or on computer?

I was taught to design by hand, I learned to make posters with a xerox so to this day I use those techniques back in forth from hand to computer.

How long does it take you to do a poster?

There isn't a good answer for this question. It could take 30 minutes to a couple of weeks.

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 ?

Yeah if a client gave feedback up front I would gladly take it.

For which band have you already worked for?

So many to say but a few: Black Keys, Deathcab for Cutie, Yeasayer, Toro y moi....

For which band would you love to work?

personally: Iron Chic

Do you choose the artists yourself?

Sometimes they come to us and sometimes we ask :)

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?

It's only difficult if you really really like the band.

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

The gigposter scene is forever growing, it seems like every week there is a new little shop printing posters.

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? it's all there dig around.

The best praise you received lately?

We just got done with an Exhibition entitled "layers" at Northern Kentucky University, I was apart of a Q&A, afterwards I was told I did a good job, I guess people like listening to four dudes chat about posters.

What can we wish you for the future?

More posters and more gallery shows.

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