First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012 !!!! You have been more than 46.500 poster lovers to visit the blog last year and I would like to thank you all for the support you showed. As the end of the world is planned for this year according to the internet, I'll try to interview as many artists as possible before it happens. If you are yourself a poster artist, if you know someone you really appreciate and cannot find on teh blog or just to say hello, feel free to drop a line, I will consider any suggestion/request. But for the moment, HAPPY NEW YEAR once again, and enjoy Lance interview !Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?
Right now, I’ve been going back into my hip-hop roots and listening to Wu-Tang Clan a lot. I’m a big fan of what they were initially, a collective of rappers brought together by music, kung fu movies and comic books. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Saul Williams and Justin Townes Earle lately.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I’m Lance Lester; I live in a suburb of Dallas, TX, Richardson. I’m from a tiny little town in Oklahoma called Tishomingo. To pay the bills I’m a web developer. I love building sites and figuring out how to get them styled correctly where it’s a piece of art on your screen. I would do web design too, but, once you have a client who makes several changes to a design you initially love, and is beautiful, it ends up becoming unrelatable and far away from your original vision.
When did you start drawing?
I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid. I would draw on anything I could get my hands on, scrap paper, and shopping bags, whatever. In class I would always draw on the margins of my paper. The older I got, like in middle school; I really became fascinated with graphic logos and would draw them all the time. I use to love the old Nike Force logo and would draw it a lot and the Converse “Energy Wave.” Oh, God I’m dating myself.
I took some art classes in high school. But, it’s not like I went to design school. I’ve just learned by constantly working at it and trying to get better.
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living?
I’m not living from my art yet. I would love to be able to at some point soon.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
That list is pretty long at this point and gets longer every day as I find other artists whose style I love. I dig Jason Munn, Heads of State, Todd Slater, Ames Bros., Brad Klausen, Aesthetic Apparatus and David O’Daniel are some of the artists who I’m always trying to keep up with visually. I love to try and deconstruct their work and see if it’s something I could use in my work down the road.
Todd Slater has been particularly helpful. Although I’ve never met him personally he’s been more than willing to answer any questions I’ve had for him via email and it’s something I really appreciate. Dan from DKNG has also been kind to me.
Typically I look at what the band has done before and see if I can get a feel for their style and take some queues from that. Some of it also involves listening to their music to get a feel for who they are; a lot of ideas come that way to. I don’t really have a set approach to the way I go about it, it can be different every time. But, it’s the best feeling when I get a flash of what I want to do for them and then I can keep building on that flash.
Do you do everything by hand or on computer?
Mostly. What I do by hand is basically sketch it out on paper, whether it’s a Post-It Note or a full size piece of paper. I’ll sketch out the layout so I can at least get an idea of how it will look as far as where elements are placed and how they may look with each other.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
Man, that really depends. I’ve done some where they came together really quickly and I was finished in two hours. Right now I’m working on one and I’m about seven hours into it and I’m still working on it. Sometimes when I think I’m done, I’m so not. I will let it sit for a bit and take a second look and just not like how it’s coming off and I’ll start over with the same design just trying to get it perfect. On the one I’m working on now I’m hoping I can finish it tonight after a few more hours of work.
Thank you, I hope that’s a good thing… I would imagine it is. I usually do what I feel with little input from the artist. I’ve found that if they’ve decided to go with you as a designer they trust you and what you’ll come up with.
For which band have you already worked for?
I’ve worked with Beirut, Eisley, The Weepies, and will be working with Justin Townes Earle for this 2012 tour. A lot of the work I’ve done has either been for the venue or promoter. Hopefully if Old Crow Medicine Show gets back together I’ll be working with them as well. I was scheduled to do work for a couple of their shows this past Fall and they unexpectedly went on hiatus. I love those guys and their music so I hope they everything worked out.
There are two: Pearl Jam and Spoon. Hands down Pearl Jam. Their Ames Bros. designed posters are the reason I initially wanted to do graphic design. They’ve been my favorite band since I was young and continue to be despite their last two albums being not-so-good. But, I digress.
Do you choose the artists yourself?
The only time I’ve been able to do that was when I reached out to them myself. I’m hoping to establish myself a little bit more, keep improving conceptually and artistically and they will come to me.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster?
Just coming up with a concept or idea that I feel will work with a particular band. Sometimes it comes quickly, but when it doesn’t it sucks to beat your head trying to figure something out.
If I am part of the scene, I’m a small part of it. The people who are part of the “scene” are my influences like Todd Slater and Jason Munn. Designers of that ilk are the scene and I think it’s probably a bit harder for a lesser known designer like me to become known. But, it all comes down to quality of work, ya know? If you are putting out a shitty product then it will be harder to elevate your name and visibility. I think it’s also important to keep practicing to get better at your craft and trying to constantly improve.
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 best praise you received lately?
What can we wish you for the future?
That I can continue to get work and raise my stature in the game.
Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website!!