Thanks to the information superhighway and a little site that used to exist called Gigposters.com, I was able to rapidly connect with many like-minded individuals in the rock-poster artist community. I’m not exactly sure when it happened but at some point, we collectively decided to start inviting other artists to throw their style into our Squad19 art-blender process of making posters.
One of the first people we pulled into the mix was Matt Mastrud, a.k.a. Punchgut. I met Matt in person only once at our very first group gallery show in 2004 in which Matt was also an exhibitor although at the time, Gigposters.com was where we all lived online so we communicated almost daily as you would nowdays on Facebook (I can’t do Facebook) so I kind of already “knew” him. At the show I remember looking at his work and thinking, “this guy has some deep seeded mental issues, I like it!” but the fact is that he’s pretty chill, a straight shooter who can pull a catfish out of the water with his bare hands and has a crazy, psychedelic illustration style that I was immediately drawn to. I ended up doing a number of posters with Matt over a span of time as he’s always been open and comfortable with the blind hand-off style in which Squad19 operated.
I honestly don’t remember how I even scored this gig, there were so many happening at that time but I somehow latched onto Ween’s August 1, 2006 show at the State Theatre in Minneapolis and immediately thought of Matt as a contributor. I wouldn’t say I was a HUGE fan of Ween but I do really like them. Their Pure Guava and Chocolate and Cheese albums were in heavy rotation in my house for a while as I connected with their strangeness and I continued to dip into their body of work here and there as they progressed. I was pretty excited to get to do a poster for such an influential band.
From what I recall Matt sent me a few rough sketches of ideas and I was digging the anatomical drawing concept the most so he just ran with that. I added the lettering in the arm, added the background texture and printed the edition. The hand-drawn type treatment was met with mixed reactions by peers as some didn’t like that you have to really search for the band name. This was another bone of contention within the poster community.
There would be many rounds in this bout within the poster scene as quite a few artists had styles that were regularly illegible but as for Squad19 we only did that sort of thing if it seemed appropriate for the band. In this case, it did and this wasn’t even the hardest to read that ever came out of our studio. My standard response would be to point to the many barely legible psychedelic posters of the 1960s with my middle finger.
If you have to work that hard to read the poster are you advertising the band or yourself? It’s just artistic masturbation at that point.
Because getting paid up front for posters was a rarity back then, participating artists knew the drill and were good with getting a stack of the edition in exchange for their participation so in this case, the edition was 150 signed and numbered prints. The band got their stack and Matt and I split the rest and I don’t recall how many we each landed with. I think I have maybe one or two left (I keep finding them slipped in among other posters) but other than that they’re all long gone. Try eBay if you must have one. The Chocolate and Cheese album has been reissued on cocoa and cheddar colored vinyl if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s delicious.
Thanks for reading!