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How did the poster medium begin and how? When Xenu, ruler of the galactic confederacy first brought humans to this earth he also brought with him something called “posters” along with “beer” and “the beach towel.” These basic elements were used as recruitment tools to convince humans to stay and populate the earth. And they’ve been here ever since. Just ask Beck.
What qualities do you value in your work, what do you strive to create – in terms of rock posters / In terms of art prints? I don’t know. It’s pretty selfish. The posters we create are mostly clientless (no other input except each other and the music) and are more times than not for bands we like so to put it simply, we just make something we like, that we think the band would like, and other fans of the band would like. So many cyclical arguments have been fueled by people debating what a poster is supposed to be. Art? Design? I think people are scared to admit that posters are really just whatever you think is cool and communicates effectively (you can define “effective” yourself.) The art prints are just like the posters except we don’t have to make them to promote our own ideas instead of somebody else’s.
Explain the role of music in your work. Is it a market or a creative catalyst? From our experience there’s little money anywhere in the music industry for a designer. Most any designer would cream his or her jeans to do more music design so labels/bands/promoters rarely have to pay anyone much to do work for them. Which is what spawns the process of selling posters for yourself, it’s one of the few ways that we can make some money in the industry. That being said, we do have some larger clients, the band Cake for example, that have been return clients that we’ve worked with for years and have built a strong business relationship with. And yes, we like music. We listen to it a lot. We’re listening to music RIGHT NOW!
How important is typography to you all and what is your level of interest in this subject matter? We both love typography and do consider it very “important to us” but our relationship with it is more emotional than academic. Some people serious about typography would think that you need to have some fucking studied background on the history of every typeface before you use but neither of us really care. We tend toward “classic” mid-century typefaces mostly because that’s what inspires us. The formatting, the style, the shapes. We like to experiment within those bounds but neither of us cares about a lengthy dissection on the history of “News Gothic Extra Condensed.”
Tell us about your worst job ever. Any horrible job that we could think of is going to sound like we’re whiny little crybabies because in essence they would come down to “they watered down our vision!” or “they didn’t understand our creative process” or “we went through SOOOooo many revisions!” while out there in the rest of the world there are designers right now that are dealing with clients that may be verbally abusive ego-maniacal CEOs with no respect or desire to understand graphic design or are losing all confidence in their own personal identity because they’ve found themselves in a scenario of having to compromise their morals in order to make ends meet. We’ve had those projects before at previous jobs, and we’ve seen and heard about similar jobs at other studios. I like to believe that because we’re picky on jobs we choose and can choose to deny work since we’re such a small studio we have saved ourselves from some of these legendary gut-wrenching soul-sucking jobs. Or maybe we’ve just gotten lucky so far….
Appropriation, how do you feel about it? “To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.” – Milton Glaser
There are a lot more of your art prints as of late, Is there an intentional push in this area? What are your long term goals? Little at Aesthetic Apparatus is planned or intentional and we generally don’t have long term goals. But, for example, the DOOMDRIPS series we’ve been doing has been well received and it’s fun to do so the decision to make more is an easy one. Also knowing that often times people will buy posters simply for the design — not caring about the band — is another thing that pushes us to do art prints.
Do you have ideas or ambitions to create work beyond the realm of posters? We’re not sure if by “beyond posters” you mean other graphic design or by “beyond posters” you mean starting a recording studio or something but…we’ve always done design work beyond the realm of posters. Logos, packaging…you know, the things design studios are supposed to do. Our poster work is a great way to promote ourselves as designers (when people see a well designed poster it’s easy for them to see how that same design sense can be applied to a variety of projects) and it’s possible that posters may, in the future, someday be a great way to promote ourselves otherwise. Who knows.
Define Scream Printing for our readers. It’s been long understood that there is a direct correlation between the chemical reactions in water and the human voice. We use this research to further our goals of studying the water-based inks we print our posters with and creating the best poster we can. Through trial and error we’ve discovered that the human scream creates a wavelength that strengthens the bond of the cells in the pigment to the water in the ink. The ink will thusly lay flatter on the page, the paper will warp less and the ink will be generally more manageable. We’ve also discovered that whenever Danzig’s “Mother” is played the ink reacts in the opposite manner. A whispering voice also emanates from the ink that seems to say “Zule.
Have you ever shopped for a reptile? Reptile? No. Reading glasses FOR a reptile? Yes.
What are you most scared of? Floating wolverines, magic carpets, urine festivals and taco harnesses.
Do you collect anything? Dust! And china dolls.
About Aesthetic Apparatus
Often considered Minneapolis’ best totally unknown design super team, Aesthetic Apparatus was founded around 1999 in Madison, Wisconsin by Dan Ibarra and Michael Byzewski as a fun side project from their ‘real’ jobs. Over the years their limited edition, screen printed concert posters have secretly snuck into the hearts and minds of a small, rather silent group of socially awkward music and design nerds. Now, Aesthetic Apparatus is a full time, full-fledged, insanely unstoppable, and occasionally award winning design mega-studio. They will break your heart and drink your blood.