For a limited time, some copies of American Artifact are available on DVD. The link went out in their newsletter, so hopefully they are cool with me telling all of you. More sales = good for everyone, right? Anyway, for $25, you get the film on DVD, plus a second disc with extra/deleted scenes. Check below for my review, and purchase at FreakFilms.com.
I was lucky enough to get a preview copy of this film, and I seriously couldn’t be happier with it. It really spans a large period of time in rock poster history. The film starts with some commentary about posters, and why filmmaker Merle Becker set out to document the scene (she was so taken aback by the Art of Modern Rock book that she quit her job to make the film). They briefly visit Hatch Show Print, which has been in existence, amazingly, for over one hundred years.
From there, the film focuses quite a bit on the early San Francisco psychedelic poster scene. “The Big Five” (Rick Griffin, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Wes Wilson, and Victor Moscoso) are the primary subjects of this section. They also talk some about Bill Graham, plus they take a brief visit to Wolfgang’s Vault HQ.
The next few sections focus on Gary Grimshaw’s influence in Detroit, the punk rock era (with lots of commentary about telephone pole posters), and Art Chantry’s dominance in the Seattle grunge scene.
Most of the modern artists start popping up during the profile of Frank Kozik’s art career, which started in Austin. In case you don’t know, pretty much every prominent poster artist working today was somewhat influenced by Kozik’s work. Some of the artists that comment on Frank’s work include Jermaine Rogers, Stainboy, Emek, Justin Hampton, and Tara McPherson. The Frank Kozik discussion eventually leads to Lindsey Kuhn and Coop, both of whom worked right alongside Frank in influencing the modern rock poster.
After that, it’s a whirlwind of profiles that OMG readers will love to see. They talk to Mark Arminski about his early work, they speak with Derek Hess in Cleveland, they visit Diesel Fuel Prints in Portland, they visit the Firehouse, they chronicle Gigposters.com, they visit Flatstock and TRPS, they talk to Jay Ryan and Mat Daly, etc etc.
In conclusion, this is THE best documentary about the history of rock concert posters, and how the scene got to where it is now. It crushes the other poster documentary that recently came out, which I will not name here. Merle Becker completed this film with almost no financial help, and she deserves some serious applause. She has done her part by busting her ass to chronicle the scene we all love, let’s all give back by buying a copy on DVD. Trust me, you will not regret it.