Somewhere between 2001 and the summer of 2003 Joe Morris, one of the founding members of Squad19 had kicked the door down at First Avenue and secured us a position as one of their go-to sources for promo flyers and posters for the venue. For a while, we were only able to produce black and white xerox flyers and on occasion, we would print full-color posters at a local print shop that produced better quality than what we would get at Kinkos. While this was happening the original core trio of myself, David Witt and Nate Nolting were building a makeshift screen printing facility in my South Minneapolis basement and teaching ourselves how to screenprint. After much trial and error on collaborative art prints, many of which were trash for one reason or another having to do with our novice abilities and home-made mechanisms, we finally found ourselves ready to make our very first screen printed rock poster for First Avenue.
It would be for the Black Eyed Peas show in the First Avenue Mainroom July 20th of 2003. We were all very excited about the fact that we could print a poster however, I can’t speak for the other two guys but I had no clue who Black Eyed Peas were. A google search revealed that they were an alternative hip-hop group out of Los Angeles and the album they were touring in support of was titled Elephunk, their first album featuring Fergie. OK so, an elephant. Maybe a novice approach to fall back on but I think we were more concerned with creating an image that we could print successfully and since there was an elephant on their album cover the risk of it not fitting the vibe of their tour was low.
I think for that first poster we all just kind of stood around the computer, brainstormed and designed on the fly until we were all happy with what we had come up with. What we hadn’t considered was the registration of the two colors and the design required some very tight registration in order to not look sloppy. We had painted ourselves into a corner that was a pain in the ass to get out of. I remember us struggling with that and being extremely frustrated with the printing process as the screens were burned proper, the ink coverage was smooth and lovely but registration was a bitch. We ended up getting a small edition of 25 posters, two colors, 12.5×19 inches of which half went to the venue along with some of the acceptable fuck-ups signed as “promo”.
When we uploaded the poster to the now defunct gigposters.com it was met with great feedback and people were pretty impressed with how tight our registration was given it was our first attempt at printing an official gigposter. Since we had done such a small run and the venue and band got half of them the poster sold out almost immediately. I may have an AP and/or the #19 from the edition in my archive but other than that they’re gone. A recent Google search produced one available at the D.King Gallery for $200 if you’re really into them. To this day I’m still not very familiar with their music. I just remember seeing them perform at the Super Bowl one year and feeling kind of “meh” about it. I’m never sure if I’m hearing Fergie solo or Black Eyed Peas if I hear them on the radio or in a store or something.