The interesting thing about Matt Pfahlert's work is that, from one poster to another it is not that easy to guess it's the same guy who did both. I mean by that that Matt can use a wide range of style depending on what he wants to show and express, and the result is, everytime, great ! Take time to read his answers before visiting his just released brand new website.
We're either letting iTunes DJ keep it interesting or Spotify. Sample bands: Clem Snide, Morphine, Russian Circles, Explosions in the Sky, Budos Band, Split Enz, Modest Mouse, Beastie Boys, Devo, The Black Keys, Wilco...lots of off the wall bands as well.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I'm Matt Pfahlert, born in California, from Toledo Ohio, lived in Florida (Safety Harbor near Tampa) then North Carolina since '92. I run Pfahlert Creative Labs (The Silent P) which means I work late on things like logo identity or band posters...and taking the trash out.
When did you start drawing?
Pretty dang early, probably as soon as I could hold a pencil.
Just art classes in general from an early age (thanks mom &dad!). And yes, sketching all the time on school folders and any flat surface! Sketching is huge in development of your style.
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
I started my own freelance design business back in 2003, and somehow still have it going in this lovely economy.
Not too many magazines, would love to get into more editorial work though.
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
The usual suspects: Milton Glaser, David Carson, Stefan Sagmeister, I love Japanese graphic design too. My dad as well, when he worked as a graphic designer and illustrator, I remember as a kid being completely transfixed watching him work. In the poster scene there are some really amazing artists out there, but the shop that got me really interested in the poster scene was Aesthetic Apparatus.
What are the principal steps in your work ?
Concept comes first usually. If the concept is no good, the computer isn't going to make it any better...it'll just allow you to make it crappy faster. So from concept, then to tighter pencil sketches, once approved then inking, then scanning into the Mac and using programs to help finalize the art for color separations, etc.
Completely depends on the project at hand. As often as I can, I do try to do things by hand (typography, etc.) but there are deadlines or just limitations sometimes where the computer makes it possible to do image research, manipulate items that you could never do by hand.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
That's kind of a hard one to answer. Because of deadlines we've produced some with insane deadlines, but typically it's a process that may take a week or two (if the manger of the band is organized!) Plus sometimes you just happen to hit upon the perfect idea, other times it's a struggle.
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 ?
Pretty sure that painting would not be framed. Paint by numbers MAY just work though!
Wilco is a big client. Phish, The Decemberists, The Black Keys, Modest Mouse, Stand and several others.
For which band would you love to work?
Would love to snag one for David Byrne, longtime fan of his. Tragically Hip too.
Do you choose the artists yourself?
I've been fortunate that several have seen my work and have contacted me, but if I love a band I would definitely reach out to them either directly or through management.
You feature in the new gigposters 2 book, how did you find yourself involved in it ?
Clay Hayes (the man behind Gigposters.com) contacted me for Vol 2, super excited and thrilled to have been asked!
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
Well the poster scene seems to be a big scene these days, it's fun to be a small part of it and just try to add good work to the conversation and keep it interesting. It's cool to see artists in the South getting well deserved exposure like: Justin Helton (Status Serigraph), Us &Them studio, The Half &Half, Zach Hobbs and several others.
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?
The website has a PRESS section with links to other shows, etc. I have a solo show coming up this friday (Nov 4th) in Raleigh at Amplified Art Gallery, very excited about that.
The best praise you received lately?
We recently did a poster for Wilco (St. Louis) that sold out in 48 hrs as well as selling out at the show itself...was amazing, we got a lot of positive emails etc, was nice.
What can we wish you for the future?
To be able to keep creating fun and interesting projects so my wife and Black Lab can eat!
Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!