I first got into gig posters back in 1996 when Amesbros, a Seattle design company founded by some guys from Montana—including my friend Jeff Ament from Pearl Jam, designed posters for Jeff's band's world tour. This was a couple of years before I started working for Jeff and Pearl Jam, but I was all in as a fan.
Jeff was kind enough to grab me a few of those extremely limited posters and I was lucky to be able to attend a couple of those shows in eastern Europe.
Amesbros Istanbul (1996)
One of my favorite designs was this '96 Turkey poster. I had attended a Zikr in Istanbul the night before the show where we witnessed the whirling dervishes so the imagery of this poster resonated with me.
Over the next few years, I was lucky enough to work with the band and Amesbros and tour merchandisers to help cultivate the gig poster craze with the Pearl Jam's Ten Club fan organization. Amesbros continues to create beautiful, screen-printed posters for Pearl Jam and many other artists around the world. Their bright, bold colors and light-hearted designs make for highly sought-after collectible pieces.
Klausen Seattle Showbox (2004)
Shortly after landing at the Ten Club, we decided an in-house designer was needed. We had received a unique "resumé" in the form of a handmade portfolio from a young art school graduate called Brad Klausen. Brad worked at Ten Club through several album cycles and produced many great merch items, album designs and of course, some tour posters. Brad has a passion for human rights and inequality, and it comes through in many of his designs. Since Brad has moved on, he's designed posters for Queens of the Stone Age, Soundgarden, Phish, Alice in Chains and many, many others. The design Brad did for the band's 2004 show in support of the No Vote Left Behind youth voter initiative is raw and angry—reflecting the mood of many voters who hoped for change in Washington, D.C.
Emek Portland (2013)
One of the fan favorites is designer, illustrator and painter Emek. He is known for working fine art into modern rock posters. His surreal, otherworldly posters are highly anticipated on the Pearl Jam tours. I've always loved this poster of his from Portland, OR, in 2013.
Kozik Calgary (2011)
One of the pioneers of screen-printed posters was Frank Kozik. Frank sadly passed away earlier in 2023, leaving a gaping hole in the poster community. His bold neon inks and trippy manic imagery made his posters unsettling but comforting. Frank got his start making flyers and posters for punk bands in Texas. He went on to be a great screen-printer, record label owner and had much success in the vinyl toy industry. I've always loved this Kozik PJ poster from Calgary in 2011.
Munk One Alpine Valley (2011)
Los Angeles based artist Munk One is a relative newcomer to the Pearl Jam poster world, but it's like he's been there forever. His work has been featured on Pearl Jam tours since 2008 and his lineup features some of the most sought-after posters in the Pearl Jam collector's world. One of my favorite PJ posters was "live painted" by Munk on site to help the band celebrate their 20th anniversary in September, 2011 with a destination weekend at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin.
Munk One/Frank Kozik Amsterdam (2012)
Along with doing "live" paintings, Munk has been a part of some killer collaborations with other poster artists. For my honorable mention poster, I'd like to share this one that he did with the late, great Frank Kozik for Pearl Jam's show in Amsterdam June, 2012.
This year, the Clio Awards added "Gig Posters" in the Clio Music Awards program as a specific option within design due to the importance of this art form to the music community, and to many of us here as fans. To learn more or enter work, click here.