Designer: Justin Walsh
Size: 18x24 inches
Printing Process: Screenprint
Number of Inks: Three
Exploring the pressures that come with being part of a gigposter series last week, I failed to touch on the most intense of all invitations—working on The Melvins tour. The most storied, and wild, of all the gigposter series; it has pushed many a designer to create their finest work, and even more to crumble under the immense scrutiny. When I was asked, I considered it the greatest honor ever bestowed upon me as a poster designer. Then I promptly pee'd my pants thinking about all of the giants I would be putting my work up against.
The Melvins invite wild and dark imagery with their powerful music and iconic status. Anyone would be thrilled to sink their teeth into it, knowing that the sky is the limit as far as what you can put down on the paper. The end result has often been in your face solutions, and some of the most mind-melting typography ever created, perhaps personified by Jeff Kleinsmith's epic penis volcano, one of my favorite posters of all-time. (Likely, my all-time fave involving a penis, but I will have to check ...)
What it rarely evokes is a more eerie and subtle form of anxiety and tension, with an underlying vein of menace. That is why I was so taken with the new work from Justin Walsh that he contributed to the current "Melvins Lite" series. Justin has always been an incredible designer, but his turn toward a heavier photographic influence in his screenprints this past year has taken his work to another level of visual amazement.
He created several prints for this tour, and they are all stone cold killers, but it was the mix of ominous darkened white space, subtle and slightly creepy tightly scrawled typography, and the evocative eye peering from the bottom corner, half-dead and half-panicked, that really drew me in. Then it reveals wonderful textures that exist on multiple levels, and a clever use of three inks to create a depth to a monochromatic image. By the time I get to the woman's mouth seemingly blurred, or is it eradicated, I can't tell if her mouth is open, or even there.
It leaves me speechless.
NOTE: Poster of the Week runs every Wednesday. Check it out each week!