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An auburn-haired songstress holds a fawn.  Shocking magenta hair falls to the shoulders of a blue nude strapped with artillery.  A 1950s-model cop car rests peacefully at the bottom of the sea, washed in blues and purples revealing a silent white angel.  Each outstanding print on display represents a prominent rock band.  Each was created by Chuck Sperry.

In early 2011, Chuck Sperry, San Francisco artist and co-owner of Firehouse Kustom Rockart Company, made an unprecedented donation to the Library’s Art, Music and Recreation Department of over one-hundred limited edition, hand-printed rock art posters.  Officially entitled, The Chuck Sperry Archive, this collection comprehensively documents the Goldenvoice Music Series (at the Regency and Warfield Theaters) from 2008 to present, as well as selected Firehouse productivity related to the cultural-life of San Francisco.

This collection is exciting in both use of color and variety of content. Each silkscreen print is comprised of up to sixteen colors, applied as individual layers. The pieces reference styles ranging from Japanese nishiki-e, Austrian Expressionism, 1960s psychedelia, to the provocative punk poster tradition of Sperry’s youth.  Musicians such as Neko Case, Danzig, Bad Religion, Nick Cave, Soundgarden and The Black Keys are represented, as are a talented group of Bay Area graphic artists (Ron Donovan, Alex Fischer, Gregg Gordon, Dave Hunter, Alan Hynes, Scott Johnson, Dennis Loren, Chris Shaw, Frank Zio, and Zoltron) who contributed to the Firehouse Goldenvoice Poster series under the art direction of Chuck Sperry.

High Volume will be on display on the Fourth Floor from Oct. 7th, 2011 – January 6th, 2012.  An opening reception will be held in the Latino/Hispanic Room on Thursday, Oct. 20th beginning at 6 p.m.

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There’s another chance to see American Artifact here in San Francisco, tonight, Wednesday, October 28 at 7 pm.

I’ll be participating in a Q&A after the show. Hope to see you there!

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SAN FRANCISCO DOC FEST, CA:


Wednesday, October 28 (7pm)

Roxie Cinema

3117 16th St.

San Francisco, CA 94103

tickets: $11

The screening 10/28 (7pm). Film screening / Q&A with special guests Chuck Sperry and Ron Donovan from Firehouse, Dennis Loren, Winston Smith, Chris Shaw, Paul Imagine, and more.

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It’s been a hectic, hard-working year establishing the Firehouse-Goldenvoice Poster Series, art directing and printing all these great posters, with my friend and partner Ron Donovan. Yes, it has been a year, and we are nearing poster number 70.

If you do the math that’s more than one poster a week. Add that to the other posters we produce (read Eric Clapton and Van Morrison to name but two) while at work on the Firehouse-Goldenvoice Series, it’s been a busy year!

Little did we know what a cool year we would have at the Firehouse in 2009. When Chris Shaw introduced us to his landlord Victor Hanson – who was daring enough to rent to us – Chris set us up and we got the new Firehouse studio. We began to call it Hangar 18, the secret military installation in Dayton, Ohio (my hometown) where alien technology is reverse engineered.

After our awesome trip to the United Kingdom in 2008 – organized by the genius of Marc Malakie, founder of Station 4 Gallery, his impeccable site for art prints produced by the Firehouse crew – including the great Emory Douglas – we set to work on the idea of this Series.

The Firehouse-Goldenvoice Series has also brought out the best in Firehouse; the best in me as well, my artwork, and I hope, brought many new faces here to check out my new designs.

The Firehouse-Goldenvoice Series has also brought out the best in all of the fine poster artists who have been invited to take this crazy ride with me and Ron Don. Thanks to everyone included in the series thus far:

Chuck Sperry – Ron Donovan – Malleus (IT) – Dave HunterAlexandra FischerChris ShawDennis LorenMartin Bedford (UK) – Aaron Farmer – Reuben RudeGregg GordonJeff RossJohn HowardAlan HynesFrank ZioZoltronMike KingScott Johnson

Thanks to David Lefkowitz of Goldenvoice Presents for inviting Firehouse Kustom Rockart Company to produce this poster series, and for having the vision to know it was the right thing at the right time.

We have been fortunate to show this series in quite a few exhibits in the last year including:

TRPS Festival of Posters – San Francisco 2008

Art of Musical Maintanance – Portland 2008

Lucky 13 – Alameda 2008

Varnish Fine Art – San Francisco 2009

Ogilvy West – San Francisco 2009

TRPS Rock Art By The Bay – San Francisco 2009

The Best of The East Bay – Oakland Museum 2009

Lucky 13 – Alameda 2009

Rock Art Revulsion – Sacramento 2009

And soon TRPS Festival of Posters – San Francisco 2009

There have been quite a few Poster of the Week awards on Expressobeans – that makes me proud – thanks for everyones’ support! There have been many emergency runs to the paper and ink suppliers, thanks to George Gamboa (KAW!) and Stephen Abramson.

Thanks to the Firehouse buddy-studio Political Gridlock run by Jon-Paul Bail has been a constant source of creativity, ideas (and emergency ink!) at the Firehouse – without JP no cool graffiti, no political compass and no fun!

And many kind thanks to Lulu Ehrhard, one of the very best printers in the Bay Area.

What would a workday at Firehouse be like without a visit from JC Hall of Ideal Posters with his daughter Anjelica along for the ride, who has supported us through many years and made “Bowlio” an international silkscreen superstar; Or without a neighborly visit from Flipper Ted (the band not a poster dealer). And thanks to Chela from PsPrint for the offsets and friendly break from work.

Many thanks and a great big shout out to Nick Cernak who created Firehouse Kustom Rockart Company’s first fully functional website, Hangar 18, and gave me the foundation and design for this site you are reading right here.

Sometimes the Firehouse seems like a cast of characters from a movie – thanks to Merle Becker for committing some of this to film in her brilliant documentary, “American Artifact: The Rise of American Rock Poster Art,” which came out last year while all this was going down.

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On this occasion, Firehouse-Goldenvoice’s first anniversary, I thought it would be cool to revisit my Mogwai poster, and move it here to my new site – begin to move all the posters I’ve done for the Series here – little by little.

Also supplies are getting mighty low on most of my Firehouse-Goldenvoice Series posters from the last year and thought it best to move them here while I still have some to show.

Here’s some posters included in my updated posts:

- English Beat

- Phoenix

- Neko Case

- Mogwai

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This photo sums it up nicely: “Wiley, the kid on the poster; Zoltron, the man behind the kid on the poster; Sperry, the man behind the man behind the kid on the poster.”

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Printed Zoltron’s Psychedelic Furs / Happy Mondays poster on Wednesday. What a blast!

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Zoltron went off on the typography. He told me it took a few days just to place all the characters, highlights and blends on the fonts.

This thing is a symphony of yellow, really an eye grabber.

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We had really the best day of printing, and had a lot of cool visitors. George Gamboa, Dave Hunter and Dennis Loren made the scene – here’s the TMZ photo of the crew – George is behind the camera. Oh, yeah, while printing the doorbell rang and a mysterious crate from Italy arrived – the Malleus art got locked into the vault.

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Well, the funny part is we got finished at 8:30 pm Wednesday – so Zoltron and George dropped me off at my crib – and I started working on Phoenix. That drawing session went on to dawn. Caught about an hour of fitful sleep (too much coffee), woke up at 7:00 am and put the poster together for films. The whole idea just kind of dropped whole-piece out of the brain and onto the paper, definitely energized by the fun day before. Mr. Z picked me up at about 10:30 and off to get films on the way to the studio. I’m telling myself, things just happen in the way they should.

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Number 62 in the Firehouse Goldenvoice poster series is designed by Zoltron for The Psychedelic Furs and Happy Mondays concert with special guests Amusement Parks on Fire on September 17, 2009 at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, CA. This silkscreen gig poster measures 20″ x 27″ comes signed and numbered by the artist from an edition of 200. Love my way? There is a special red and white colorway, with an edition of 10. Both for sale now at Zoltron.com

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