Rockin’ Documentary

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By: Steven Heller | June 3, 2009

a movie about rook poster

Dateline Italia: While this has nothing to do with Italy, per se, I’m still here–hence the dateline.

Died Young, Stayed Pretty is a documentary about the underground poster culture in North America, from the ’60s psychedelic masters, like Victor Moscoso, to the gig poster crew today. The artists represented in the film “push further into the pulp to grab the attention of passersby, plastering art that’s both vulgar and intensely visceral onto the gnarled surfaces of the urban landscape,” says director Eileen Yaghoobian.

Outside of their own subculture these posterists are virtually unknown. “But within their ranks they make up an army of bare-knuckle brawlers, publicly arguing the aesthetic merits of octopus imagery and hairy ’70s porn stars.” They’ve created their own visual language and have created posters that are “strikingly obscene, unflinchingly blasphemous and often quite beautiful.” Yaghoobian’s film is the first (and maybe the last) of its kind. Check the website for showings in a stratosphere near you. Times for screenings on June 29 and 30 at San Francisco’s Roxie Theater can be found here.

Art Chantry’s poster is above, Keith Herzik is below top, and Ron Liberti is below bottom. Be sure to survey the production stills. And tell me about your favorite poster artist, past or present.