Whether you’re new to picking up gig posters, interested in getting more involved, or even if you’ve already amassed an impressive collection, a little expert advice never goes amiss. The great finds and the evasive, long-standing Wantlisted items, the highs and lows of collecting – it’s an experience that’s hard to replicate.
We got some pointers from our resident gig poster collector and connoisseur, yamar3 to guide you on your gig poster collecting journey.
Find styles that resonate with you
Expose yourself to as many posters as you’re able. Find a poster you like and check out other works by the same artist. Look at all the options out there for your favorite bands and find things that appeal to you. Search out new artists. Attend a group show or Flatstock event if you’re able and see lots of artists you’ve never seen or even heard of in some cases. I will always argue that while things may look good on screen, nothing compares to what a print is like in person.
A poster database like Posterogs makes it easy to browse artwork by poster artists that float your boat, check out gig posters for your favorite bands, or even look at local venues for what kind of gigs they’ve hosted over the years. Books on posters, like the Art Of Rock, or are also a great point of entry to learn more about the art, as well as the context around certain scenes.
Get familiar with the terminology
From knowing the difference between an artist edition and AP, screen print and litho, s/#, and more of the lingo will come in handy. Getting to know these terms and definitions will give a better general understanding of different types of posters, and make it easier to interact with other collectors in person and on forums.
Get involved in the community
Volunteering at an event like Flatstock or local poster show is a great way to connect with artists, become more familiar their work, and ingratiate yourself among other collectors. Get involved in Posterogs forums, ask questions on posters. Follow groups on Facebook and subreddits on groups, artists and poster series you’re interested in. You’ll get to see new and classic art peddled around the community, become more familiar with notable people in the poster scene, and pick up the lingo.
Do be wary of buying everything in sight when you’re first starting out. It is very hard to not spend your budget (and then some) very fast. Take your time. Amass your Wantlist and then look it over to decide what to pursue. As with most hobbies, you can easily set a new record high for a poster by buying the first one you see. But you can also find one for a quarter of that price if you’re patient and wait for that lower price to come along (and you’re a bit lucky too).
I am a big fan of posters that can be picked up for $20-30. They may not appreciate in value, but if you like the art, you’ll be happy with them. Of course, you may end up with a 1000+ piece collection before you know it.
How to get that elusive print
Patience. More than anything, being patient will yield the best results to finding exactly what you want and at the best price.
That said, you also have to be an active hunter, especially if it’s something with a limited print run. Keep your own ISO lists up. Ask artists if they have a copy left to part with. Keep a watch on various retailers/gallery sites. Make posts to social media groups. Check eBay. And check it again. And again.
Some items just don’t turn up on the open market all that often – think about variant prints of popular posters by high demand artists like EMEK or Chuck Sperry where runs are generally less than 10 copies. For those you have to either have money ready for when they do show up (and be a bit lucky) or make a big offer to pry one loose.
Keep track of what’s in your collection
Once you have a few gig posters in your collection, it helps to have an overview of what you’ve got and what you need. Like Discogs, you can add posters to your collection on Posterogs so you have an online overview of what you’ve got, see all your pieces in one place, and avoid buying duplicates.