I hope you guys are enjoying the interviews this week, I know I am. Today I sat down with an always-impressive designer from San Francisco. Let me introduce you to Mr. Alan Hynes.
Age/Location: 34, San Francisco, California via Dublin, Ireland.
How You Got Into Doing Posters / First Poster / Years Doing Posters: As cliched a start in design as it sounds these days I was influenced by skateboard graphics and record covers, primarily the collage work of Winston Smith and John Yates for Alternative Tentacles. Probably about 1995, back home in Dublin I started doing photocopied flyers for the infamous Bloody Mutants, a much disliked punk band I played guitar in – more necessity than anything else really but they were enjoyable and cheap to make. This flyer was probably the first one as far as creating an ad for a show.
I had been introduced to screenprinting when i was about 15 and made a lot of t-shirts, ruining my mothers bathtub in the process but never applied it to making posters till later when I had moved San Francisco and hooked up with Ron Donovan and the Firehouse. That was about 7 years ago and I’ve been making posters fairly consistently since then
Favorite Poster / Art Print You’ve Done: The poster i like best would probably be Mudhoney New York ’09 – The idea came together fairly easily and I was able to create a collage using pieces of existing imagery which is a process i have a personal interest in. I created the entire poster by hand, cutting all rubylith separations when usually I’d use a computer for some parts of the process. Technically It was a little more complicated than some of my other posters as it uses more colours and various types of ink which enhance the collage feel of the various pieces. I was able to try out some new techniques and learn through the process. I kept the run pretty small so it wasn’t too tedious to print, the band liked it a lot and it sold well. It was a satisfying poster to make and I can still look at it without disliking too much about it.
As far as an art print – it would be the Shane MacGowan portrait because, well its Shane MacGowan. Legend.
Describe Your Creative Process a Bit: Being primarily a Graphic Designer my approach is pretty consistent and I usually let the problem guide the solution. For a concert poster I take into consideration who’s playing, where they’re playing and who needs to know. I’ll look for visual connections hopefully being able to combine them seamlessly to create a cohesive message and one that makes sense in relation to the band. I don’t work in any particular style but will look at a particular bands existing imagery like record covers, t- shirts etc and possibly take a style cue from there, be it as simple as a dominant colour scheme or typeface choice . Working this way leaves me a lot of room for a variety of solutions and doesn’t tie me down to a repetitive visual style, something I feel would be a severe handicap.
All-time Favorite Poster / Art Print that Someone Else Did: I was given one of those standard ‘History of The Poster’ books when i was a teenager and amongst the usual, familiar posters that always seem to be featured was this one for Unicef. It always stood out to me and has definitely been a big influence in terms of defining what I think a poster should be. Obviously there are lots of posters I like and it would be near impossible to pick a favourite but I’ve always liked this one for its clarity and simplicity. Its a powerful poster and says everything it needs to say – nothing more, nothing less.
Music Currently In Rotation: The new Stupids record, Facebreaker, Bob Mould “Life and Times”, Macc Lads, Mercyful Fate, Rose Tattoo, Warren Zevon.
Last Print, Poster, or Toy Bought: This nasty little ice cream cone fella by Ryan Duggan. I look at it when i start to stray too far and forget what a gigposter should actually be.
Art Hanging On Your Walls: We have a good amount of stuff hanging – In the sitting room there’s two Ivan Chermayeff prints, one of my favourite designers and a big inspiration. A couple of Jay Ryan’s, his fantastic Ferris Bueller print and his Bob Mould tour poster. Shane MacGowan by myself lurks above the TV.
I’ve only got a single one hanging in my workspace, usually one of my own and I tend to rotate it a bit. Right now its a poster i did for Witch, mostly because my wife likes it better than the last one i had up.
Eleanor Grosch’s print of a magpie hangs in the hallway, being From Ireland and still a little mired in silly superstition I try to salute him each day before I leave the house. This fruit box lid I salvaged from a recycling truck hangs opposite and offers somewhat more practical advice.
There’s another small Chermayeff in the kitchen featuring a mischievous apple alongside this kitcheny oil painting my wife picked up at an estate sale – the artist is Warren F. Hermann and i know nothing else about him.
My novelty condom collection hangs in the bathroom, a result of too many years hanging around dodgy bars in the city.
Upcoming Stuff: The Jesus Lizard at the Casbah, Dinosaur Jr somewhere in Canada, a long unfinished Phil Lynott Art Print and travel to the third Flatstock Europe in Hamburg Germany.
Words of Wisdom: “Style only disguises the degree to which a problem was not solved, rather than the degree to which it was” – Alan Fletcher
“Paint with the Squeegee” – Ron Donovan