Split Fountain Type Poster Poems

The deadline for the Regional Design Awards has been extended, but only until April 30. Your judges: Sagi Haviv, Rebeca Méndez, Nancy Skolos, Alexander Isley, Chad Michael, Gail Anderson and Justin Peters. Enter today.


There are a number of artist/designers working with the split fountain-carnival/circus/poster–wood type genre, notably Anthony Burrill. Archives have also been changing hands: MICA has acquired the huge Globe Poster collection; The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Collection is organizing the Enquire Printing archive; and, of course, Hatch Show Print has been a bottomless resource, among others. But at the still operating  Colby Poster Printing shop in downtown Los Angeles, the posters are still rolling off the presses, color is filling up the ink wells and artist Peter Coffin is creating and producing reams of “Imaginary Concert” posters.

At first I thought, not another vintage poster conceit, and then I started reading the acts, producers and venues. Hilarious, poignant, silly. As Coffin writes in the intro to his two volume collection of recent work in the Imaginary Concerts: Volumes One and Two (Anthology Editions): “What if Jimi Hendrix hadn’t died just before he was scheduled to join Miles Davis’ band tour with him in Japan? What if Lawrence Welk hadn’t called the cops to prevent Iggy & The Stooges from performing with GTO and the Cockettes at Hollywood Babylon?”

Coffin does a masterful job of making graphic wit. It is not parody. It is not a simple joke. It is a kind of hipster graphic poetry that is as fun to read as to view. Since 2008 he’s printed with Colby ads for shows that never happened but somewhere in the imagination actually did.


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