January 3, 2003
by Armin Vit
Speak Up: A few printing methods
are experiencing a revival of sorts. Letterpress and Screen Printing being two
of the most popular choices among designers these days. What is it about these
methods that not only attracts you but makes it so appealing to both clients
and designers alike?
Aesthetic Apparatus: The reason
that it's grown in popularity is probably the same reason that we started doing
it ourselves. We wanted to get away from the computer for at least a couple
hours and make something with our bare hands that was more tactile than working
at a computer can provide. The computer is a great tool but it's also a lot
of fun to go out, get dirty and sweaty and have an object to show for it that
you can feel and hold in your hands.
We print all the posters ourselves... that definitely adds another aspect to us as designers that we can put this extra bit of ourselves in each poster. By extra bit of ourselves I mean we spit in the ink.
SU: You guys obviously love
what you do; we can all see it in your work. Is there a time when you say please,
not another band poster? Do you feel like you are carving a niche that
one day will make it very difficult to get out of, when you wish to pursue other
interests in the Design field or any other field?
AA: We've already carved one.
We get e-mails all the time from people that would like a poster done and want
to know if we know how to do "any other kind of design." We've put
up a design portfolio section on our site now, which should help a lot, but
when the poster work is 99% of the total work, it's going to be a person's first
introduction to us. It will always be a challenge to let people know that we
do a whole lot more than just posters.
Hey everybody! We do a whole lot more than just posters!
The Meat Puppets poster
(red ski mask). Seemingly your most popular one, the one that put you on the
map with the rest of the world. At least me (Im being brutally honest
here) had never heard about Aesthetic Apparatus until I saw that poster in every
design annual for the past year or two. How do you feel about that poster in
particular? Do you feel it has been overexposed or that people expect to see
something of that nature when they hire you?
AA: Wow, we're on the map? That's
pretty cool. As far as the Meat Puppets poster goes it's definitely one of our
favorites. Overexposed? Never! I don't think we've felt any negative repercussions
of that poster appearing in several magazines.
Hey everybody! We do a whole lot more than just posters!
SU: Art Chantry. Ames Brothers.
Patent Pending. A certain style is common to all. What separates you from these
groups of designers?
AA: One big separation might
be the fact that we print all the posters ourselves. That doesn't make them
better or worse posters, but it definitely adds another aspect to us as designers
that we can put this extra bit of ourselves in each poster. By extra bit of
ourselves I mean we spit in the ink.
How much concept is behind
the posters you design? Some, like Volante
or Lydia Lunch
seem to have more meaning. Other posters, and I say this with no disrespect,
seem to be things that just "look cool silk-screened" like Noah
Jons Deer poster
or Femi Kutis tiger
understand your target audience is quite different from those targeted by Annual
Report companies, but do you ever feel like you are just making things look
AA: Concept is kind of a weighted
word, especially when it comes to designing rock posters. Every poster we do
has some kind of idea behind it. Whether it's inspired from the name or a song
lyric or just how the band makes us feel. We do put a lot of thought into the
imagery and the feel of posters and for us making a poster that at least conveys
a sense of the band or what they're about is really important. As far as the
Noahjohn or Femi Kuti poster are concerned; the Noahjohn album "Water Hymns"
(which we also designed) has a photo of a deer inside the CD package that the
illustration is from. It's just an image that we thought would be appropriate
to use in the poster also. The Femi Kuti poster is inspired from a quote about
Femi and his relation to his father Fela Kuti. Something like the son
of a tiger is always a tiger. That's probably not a direct quote.
So the tiger was an important image to represent what Femi was about and the
color scheme is set in the colors of the Nigerian flag.
We're probably more like the bastard children of both [art and design.] We can't be considered artists because we're doing this all for commercial profit and we're not just designers because we also have a craft.
SU: There is obviously a sense
of uniqueness to your work. The limited hand printed runs add to the appeal
towards your company. So being completely honest, do you consider yourselves
artists or designers?
AA: We both enjoy fine art and
try to think about ways to have some of our work cross over into that world
but neither of us really associate directly with the fine art community and
to tell you the truth it seems like the fine art community doesn't really like
to associate itself with the design community. We have gotten some opportunity
to do some gallery shows but it has at times been difficult to explain to some
people why we think they should give us a show. We're probably more like the
bastard children of both. We can't be considered artists because we're doing
this all for commercial profit and we're not just designers because we also
have a craft.
SU: Thanks guys.
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