I recently received word that my infamous Public Enemy poster, now a decade old, is going to be featured in a French book about poster art. This was the perfect storm as far as posters go for many reasons. Each group had anti-Bush songs on their newly released albums. It was before we went to war, when the economy was tanking, and anti-Bush sentiment was high. Oddly enough, I got this gig after being contacted by a guy in the military via email. Turns out he saw my first silkscreened poster done for DJ Shadow’s Boston show. He was a huge fan and was happy to see that hip hop was being represented in what was to become a vibrant gigposter scene. After chatting about hip hop and his fear of going to war, he gave me the contact of a friend who was promoting an upcoming Public Enemy show and my second gigposter was set in motion. At the time I was very into all three acts on the bill and was eager to do something for the legendary Public Enemy. Growing up and listening to their music shaped the way I looked at race, society, etc. and it really opened my eyes.
Each print was hand silkscreened, stenciled and embellished with a Sharpie, straight up DIY style. The promoter was provided a few copies without the Hitler mustache and markers so kids could tag and customize the posters as they wished in order to exercise their free speech. I could not attend the show because I was at my brother’s wedding as best man the same day as the concert. Fortunately, an ecstatic promoter emailed to tell me what a success the posters were. Specifically mentioning that Lateef from Blackalicious and Evidence from Dilated Peoples were hyped about the prints and wanted a few copies sent to them. Sadly, the owner of the venue wouldn’t allow the posters to be hung because of the political subject matter. This poster will always have a special place in my heart because of the way it came together, how appreciative the groups on the bill were, and that its concept and execution embody what I loved about commercial art. It’s far from the overly illustrated posters done to please other illustrators and collectors that are so common today. This print was done for the right reasons - for a genre of music that, to this day, is largely unrepresented in the world of poster art and executed in true punk flyer style. It remains one of my favorites. It’s an honor to have it in the tome, The Art of Modern Rock, various graphic design publications, and a forthcoming book to published in France.