Friday, October 23, 2009

Jay Ryan has a new book out. Go buy it.

Once upon a time Chicago had a vibrant music scene. From about 1995 to 2000 there were amazing small clubs scattered around the north and northwest sides. Places like Lounge Ax and The Fireside once played host to the best indie/punk/DIY acts. There were three ways to hear about a good show, word of mouth, The Reader music section, or posters. The posters were usually handmade and hung-up in the window at one of the independent record shops like Reckless Records. The best of these poster makers was Jay Ryan.

Ryan’s work had a way of stopping you on the street. While most posters were Xerox copies that looked like ransom notes, Ryan’s were big, bright and usually had a squirrel or bear riding a bike or building a house. The posters were silkscreened by hand in limited runs of a few hundred each. Sometimes at a show, there at the back, you’d see Ryan selling a leftover from a run for $10 or $20. That’s where I started my almost 20 years of collecting.

Ryan does more than rock show posters. He’s done record and book covers, been part of installations, and has two books out. The latest book came out this week, “animals and objects in and out of water.” If you buy the book from Ryan through his website you’ll get a signed copy with a special four-color screenprinted sleeve. For those new to his work, this is a great place to start. I’m sure, like me, once you start collecting, you won’t be able to stop.

animals and objects in and out of water

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