Lindsey Kuhn is a legend in the world of concert posters, and FM 102/1 is lucky enough to have him showing and selling some of his work at FM 102/1 Art Riot — October 25-26 at The Cooperage and Boone & Crockett.
Lindsey started screen-printing t-shirts in 1984 to pay for maintenance of his massive backyard skate ramp. The popularity of his clever and provocative designs propelled him into the first phase of the life of a professional artist. He took time out of his busy schedule to chat about his career and creative process.
Give me a basic understanding of who you are and the type of art you create.
Hi, My name is Lindsey Kuhn and I do all kinds of art but I’m mostly known for my screen printing and rock posters that I’ve made since 1991.
Why/how did you become an artist?
I was always into building and making things when I was growing up. Around 1984 I taught myself how to screen printing t-shirts in my garage. Then sold them to help pay for wood for a skateboard ramp we had in Mississippi. People called it the “SWAMP” ramp and the shirts were swamp shirts. In 1990 I moved to Austin and got a job printing rock posters that’s when I started making my own and understanding the “art” thing. I never thought of myself as an “artist” until other people called me that. I guess since I wasn’t schooled in the arts I just didn’t know what it was.
Who inspired you when you first started? Is there anyone or thing you look to for inspiration today?
My inspiration came from skateboarding, fun, travel & friends, It still does today. I was lucky enough to find things that I loved doing. Worked hard to get good at them, then had the opportunities and drive to turn them into a “career”. I never planned on anything, I like to work and make cool stuff, hopefully, people dig it and want to buy something. I’m not rich or anything but I’ve been able to make a decent living doing what I love with the help of a good circle of friends that like and support what I do so im still doing it. Looking back over the last 30 years I’ve had a ton of people influence me by working with them and turning me on to art, music, styles and attitudes, that I didn’t know about. I think I’ve always searched for new and interesting images and ideas to keep my mind and art changing over the years. It gets boring to do the same thing constantly so I’m always down to try new things.
How did you start creating art for bands?
I did some punk rock flyers and skate ‘zines in the 80’s for different events in Mississippi. In college I started doing band shirts and some photocopy stuff for friends in bands but it wasn’t until I moved to Austin and saw all the photo copied stuff in the streets that I got really into it. Then I met and started printing screen-printed rock posters with Frank Kozik and it took off!
Do you have a favorite piece of yours?
Not necessarily, I like the ones that were challenging or when I try new techniques or styles. I guess the sets of posters that connect to make a big image were always my favorites due to the challenge.
How long does it take you to make one design?
Ha, sometimes an hour, sometimes a week! or two! I guess it depends on the day? and how many others cooks are in the kitchen making changes.
Who are some of your favorite musicians?
Not sure if I have favorites, I like all types of music, It depends what I’m doing as to what I listen to.
How have you developed in your career?
I don’t know. I just try to be open minded and keep working.
What is your most important artist tool?
MY Brain and hands!
Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Music and a squeegee!
What inspires you to make a piece for a specific band?
The band does! I feel a rock poster should always be about the band, not just my own art. I can do that on my own time.
Is it one song, an album, their vibe, do they give you some ideas?
All of the above!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Be Happy for what you have!
What superpower would you have and why?
I would want to fly so I could travel more and cheaper.
Coolest experience you’ve ever had, that your job has allowed you to do?
So many but it’s the traveling I like most! Seeing and experiencing foreign cultures domestic and abroad. I’ve had shows in Switzerland, Germany, France, Japan, Argentina and all over the US. I’ve met & worked with so many awesome people, artists, skaters, bands, over the years that I would have never gotten to hang out with if I didn’t make screen printed art.
Check out his booth at FM 102/1 Art Riot at the end of this month October 25th and 26th. To see more of his work go to https://www.swampco.com.
— Nadia Hazimeh