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The Art of Rock 'n' Roll - Tara McPherson
Frankie Magazine
Published on 10/01/2009

Cool little interview in this super cool Australian magazine. Read the transcript below!




The Art of Rock 'n' Roll - Tara McPherson
Frankie Magazine
Issue 31 Sept/Oct 2009

Which came first for you: music or art?
I guess they evolved at the same time. I started going to art school at 14 and I started playing bass at 15. But while I was in college, playing took the back burner as I was really focused on painting and drawing and didn't have the time to play music. But right after I graduated I started a band again and have been in them ever since.

How did you start off doing gig posters?
Since I was the artist in the band and had extra time on my hands because I was still looking for freelance jobs, the band was like: "You do them!"  So I started with simple Xerox fliers, but then thought: "Hey, I have all this time and knowledge, so why not make them in colour and have fun with it?" It just grew from there.

Do you choose the bands? Do they choose you?
Its a combo of both. In the beginning I was doing them for specific companies, so I'd pick an upcoming show I wanted to do a poster for, the promotions person would contact the band and get approval for me, then I'd make the poster. Now I've met a lot of people in the music industry so I just ask my friends in bands if they want a poster for a show, or I get contacted by tour managers that are setting up poster series, or by certain promoters.

Does their music inspire your work at all - certain lyrics or emotions?
Yes, always. I usually have to be listening to the band I'm making the poster for while I'm sketching my ideas. It just helps really immerse my thoughts into the feeling and vibe of the music. 

What do you love most about working on posters?
The freedom I get to just create anything I want. I have discovered a lot of my characters through poster making, and I can do more whimsical and funny things, where I might not do the same thing in my gallery work.

How easily does the 'business' side of your profession come to you?
For me it's really easy, but it's something so many artists don't consider. It's such a huge part about it all. Yes, you are a creative individual, but it's still a business and needs the proper attention in that regard. I managed a Japanese anime store for three years before college, where I bought and wholesaled toys, art books, video games and DVDs to stores all over the world. I learned so much about merchandising, wholesaling and running a business there.

Any idea how many bedrooms and band rooms your work is hanging in?
Wow, not really. But hey, let's do the math...  I've done at least 100 posters and art prints, with lets say an average edition amount of 200, so thats like 20,000 prints out in the world! Pretty cool!

Aside from band posters, tell us about your other work.
I'm really so happy with how my gallery career is going. It's my dream. I want to get old and grey while painting the world away. I'm doing solo shows now with the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in NYC, and this past year I have also had exhibitions in Sao Paulo, Rome, Barcelona, and Los Angeles. My next solo show is in October 2010 in NYC, so I'm just going to spend all of next year painting for it.  I'm very excited.

What advice would you give people wanting to follow in your footsteps?
I think the magic potion is 1/3 raw talent, 1/3 hard work, and 1/3 luck.