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WallFly Exhibition

This November, the WAH Nail Salon on Kingsland Road will exhibit work by some seriously hot flyer designers

WallFly, an exhibition brought to you by Tiger Reid from This Is Music, will showcase the best of flyer art from London’s finest DIY music promoters. The exhibition will feature works from Stephen Cheetham (This Is Music), Tobias Warwick Jones (No Pain in Pop), Jake McGowan (Feeding Time), Chris Tipton (Upset The Rhythm), Laura Bell (Twee As Fuck), Edward Quarmby (Real Gold), Zac Ella (Sexbeat), Neil Mcfarland (Skill Wizard), Yuri Pattison (Off Modern), Gina Baber (Durrr).

“I’ve always loved artwork for shows and tours, especially from American Posters, and I wanted to get screen prints done for my shows,” says Reid. “ There are so many amazing DIY promoters in London and we all make the effort to have flyers that inevitably get lost in Facebook/blog world. Flyers give our live scene an identity and are often all that is left of a show. The artists that design our flyers are often not given the attention they deserve.”

The rise of 20-something creatives with professional-level design skills has blurred the lines between amateurs and professional freelancers. “This all means we have become more design-savvy,” says Reid. “More and more independent promoters want to have their own strong visual identity, so that it separates them not only from other DIY promoters but from the mainstream and you can’t really get away with cheap-looking artwork anymore.”

Jayne Helliwell, Art Director for WallFly, designed the logo, poster and zines that will be available at the exhibit. She was compelled to get involved with the show because, although she believes there is still a culture that really cherish an editioned or screen-printed poster for a gig, it is getting rarer, but adds that the recession is causing something of a resurgence in DIY culture. “Obviously, when you have no money our consumption-based culture makes life difficult day to day,” says Helliwell. “But these reactions to supposed hardship, although sometimes directionless, nihilistic, are the most real and captivating. Like in the late 1970s. Britain’s estates and inner cities at that time were full of rage. Young people especially were pissed off, but without that where would Factory Records, post-punk or Peter Saville have been?”

Dazed had a word with the illustrators to find out a little more about the brains behind the designs...

Dazed Digital: Are you wary that you are fighting for attention from the gaggles of passer-byers when designing flyers?
Laura Bell: No I don't worry. To be honest, I just like drawing for fun. If we worried too much about packaging to the masses we'd lose our appeal to our loyal customers. I often hear stories of club kids ripping down posters for their bedroom walls – being obsessed with indie-pop in your bedroom (no matter your age) is twee through and through.
Stephen Cheetham: I haven't really thought of that before. When designing the flyers I try and get the image to fit in with the band, and hope that people like it. There's never been a thought that I have to make my flyers more eye-catching than the competition.

DD: What do you think is the first thing people notice about your flyer style?
Jake McGowan: That I love Ray Pettibon? I don't know, the illustrations are pretty surrealist so I guess that might represent the peculiar and interesting music you might expect to find at a Feeding Time night. People tend to recognise my style though, when I've done moonlighting poster artwork for other promoters such as Real Gold it's been mentioned that it looks kind of Feeding Time-like.
Zac Ella: I think the first thing they notice is that they are going to enjoy the show... then "tits". It's a real buzz when I see a poster I did on the wall at a house party or on someone's bedroom wall... my initial reaction is to draw a willy on their other posters.

DD: What would be your dream flyer subject?
Edward Quarmby: I'd like to follow Ken Garland and Richard Hollis's footsteps and design for protest and improvement, for example both of their work the CND in the early 60s.
Yuri Pattison: I think my current flyer design situation is fairly perfect as I like to be involved in more than one aspect of a night. Running the club night alongside the art collective means I have full control over nearly all aspects about the identity of what we do. But hopefully new opportunities in what we do will bring bigger and better things to design for.
Chris Tipton: Woah, that's a tough question as we have an anything goes attitude to flyer subject, I think in terms of format maybe that would be more fun to play with, like printing posters onto clothing, shaving the details of the show into a hairstyle, let's not rule out tattoos!
Gina Baber: It sounds a bit silly but some kind of show in outer space. You never know, it might happen one day. Haha. I love old disco sleeve artwork and I like the idea of making a poster using Space as the main theme..

Wallfly, WAH Nail Salon, Kingsland Road, Thursday Nov 26 – Thursday Dec 10 2009