First off I want to thank everyone for checking out the first Drymount! post last week and for all the support. Justin and I both thought this column would be a good fit on Live Music Blog and I’m glad you folks seem to agree. I did see a very important question continue to pop up in the comments — “Where can I find more?”
I’ll do my best to answer that most basic question with a rather long winded answer.
The first place I would tell anyone looking for gig posters to go is the namesake website, Gigposters.com. Run by Canadian Clay Hayes, Gigposters.com is a huge database of 83,170 posters (and counting). The database can be searched by band, artist, venue, and city, and it is probably the best place to find out if a poster was made for that show you went to last month. For example, a quick search for posters in Buffalo will bring up a ton of great Hero Design Studio prints, but also 25 pages worth of posters for concerts in Buffalo.
Despite that vast resource, Gigposters.com is perhaps more valuable for its very active forum and the tons of valuable information in it. For the dedicated searcher you can learn everything from how to set up your own screen printing studio to the best way to get your own poster gigs. You’ll also learn more than you ever wanted to know about bacon, get your fill of lolcats and quickly find out what Frank Kozik thinks about Hillary Rodham Clinton. Basically, the Gigposters.com forum is a bit of a minefield, full of great info from the artists themselves and twice as many snarky comments (those can be fun too).
If Gigposters.com is the place for artists, Expresso Beans is the collector’s home base. It features an amazing database of not only posters, but also art prints, paintings, vinyl toys and many other collectible items. The EB database can be searched by artist, band, year (which can be helpful for older posters) and keyword. EB allows you, as a collector, to keep track of your poster collection, set up trades, see when prints you want become available, and track current market values (the actually validity of those values are debated daily, but they can still be helpful).
Same as Gigposters, EB also has a very active message board. Instead of artists, the EB forums are mostly frequented by collectors and wholesalers, and can also be a place filled with good discussion about art and info on when new posters will be available. There are a lot of long time collectors on there with lots of helpful information for storing and framing your art. Of course, like most active message boards, you need to wade through a lot of junk to get to the good stuff. Threads are often riddled with complaints, arguments, hype, disses and just plain nonsense, but I’ll take the bad with the good. I’ve been introduced a many, many great artists through EB.
So now you’ve finally tracked down the poster for that Okkervil River concert you saw in Toronto back in September, but how do you buy it? If it is a recent print, your best bet is probably contacting the artists directly. Most posters on Gigposters have an artist’s website or email address included; drop them a line or surf their site to see what is available. This is usually going to be your cheapest way to buy the poster, plus all the money goes directly to the person who created it. You could also try out the band’s website. A number of bands like Wilco, the Decemberists and many others will have posters available after the shows.
If you can’t track the poster down through the artist or the band, fear not, there are many other places to look. Expresso Beans keeps track of who wants to trade what poster, and you can set up notifications when posters you want are now available for trade. EB Members are sometimes looking to trade for other prints, sometimes only looking for cash, but it is an excellent place to check. You can also look to retailer websites. There are tons of web stores selling old and new prints. A good list of them can be found at Expresso Beans, and I can recommend a few:
Finally, if you can’t track down your poster through any of those means, there is always “The ‘Bay.” At an given time there are tons and tons of posters on eBay, and a quick search will give you pages of great posters (and lots of crap too). As with many auctions, prices tend to inflate on eBay, but there are always some deals you can find. Expresso Beans is also handy with eBay, most auctions are tracked and you can quickly thumb through pages of available posters.
So there you have it — my short guide to finding and buying the posters of your dreams, or perhaps just the ones commemorating the concerts you went to. If you have any suggestions for other resources out there, help the newbies out and post them in the comments. There’s a lot of fantastic art out there so good luck and happy hunting.
This is the second Drymount! column from Sam Verrill and there’s plenty more to come from his department…look for his own set of Archives in the near future.