The top 10 concert poster artists in Toronto
The top concert poster artists in Toronto flex their considerable muscle and leave a lasting impression. In the days when everyone can do everything, the only limit is your imagination, and DIY band posters have their charm - but for a band or promoter searching for a visual representation of sound and mood and artwork that's striking and memorable, it's best to leave the heavy lifting to the professionals.
Here are my picks for the top concert poster artists in Toronto.
There are few poster designers in Toronto, let alone the world, quite like Miles Tsang. One look at his Youtube videos will demonstrate the prowess that attracted the likes of The Black Keys, Queens of The Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails, and Mastadon. You'd think that the intricate details in his designs would be impossible to print; as luck would have it, he's also a skilled screen printer.
Michael Deforge has come along way from designing posters simply as "a way to get in to shows I didn't have cash for." His surreal depictions have graced posters for Speedy Ortiz, Hooded Fang, Soupcans, and Teenager. Currently a designer on the forever trippy Adventure Time, Deforge originally drew inspiration from Montreal's concert poster innovators, Seripop.
As a musician, Alex Mackenzie creates arresting compositions that challenge listeners to see a deeper truth. The same can be said for her artwork for bands like Doldrums, and her own project Petra Glynt. Beauty is in the details, and there's a lot to soak in. Mackenzie says she sees poster conceptually as "part of a much larger project, the event itself."
It's hard to have a conversation about poster design without Doublenaut. Brothers Matt and Andrew McCracken began designing posters for hardcore shows in 2003. Since then they've worked with a wide variety of artists (The National, City and Colour) who love their simple and eye-catching designs. Fresh from designing Metz's spring tour poster, the duo admit that poster merch isn't what it once was, having reached high saturation a few years ago.
Dickens grew up with punk, and says that it still informs her everyday life. Though not the collage type of artist long since associated with the scene, she draws on the energy of music culture. She lists Seripop as a major influence, referencing their aggressive creations in her own "contemporary psychedelic designs" for clients like Long Winter and Feast In The East.
Michalak became a designer out of necessity: as a budding promoter, he didn't have money to pay an artist. He describes his style as "junky and a bit naïve." With a carefree, unschooled attitude, he exudes the kind of imagination that isn't shackled by rules, and that fits perfectly with the shows Burn Down The Capital promotes.
With Chow's art one is never sure whether sigh lovingly or run in fear. He manipulates ordinary images with such finesse that the dark underbelly they're fighting to suppress is revealed against their will. His diverse clientele has included Telephone Explosion, Black Lungs, and Diemonds, plus clothing companies Lifetime Collective and Fenchurch. He's also been featured in International magazine Lodown.
Mirsky has spent most of his time creating and publishing comics, and it's reflected in his posters. Not overly "cartoonish," he explores the diversity of the medium: Mirsky's most recent work for the band Garbageface pays homage to Maurice Sendak's classic Where The Wild Things Are with its wartime-era shading, while work with Alvvays and Crystal Stilts mirrors retro Mad Magazine.
Freelance illustrator Daley began pursuing poster design in 2002. Working with clients like the Polaris Music Prize, Devo, and Dillinger Escape Plan, his well-honed skills are on display in his vector-based designs. Clean lines are dissected with gritty textures adding an organic feel to images that might otherwise be considered minimalist.
There is a lot to take in when viewing a Manale poster. As a comic artist he not only brings his illustrative skill to his designs but also a comic book narrative. Many of his designs for the likes of Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees take a multi panel approach, making posters seem that much more collectible. Well at least for this comic book nerd.
Who did we miss? Leave your favourite Toronto concert poster designers in the comments.
Lead image: Doublenaut
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