The Current's Rock and Roll Book Club: OMG Posters

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Arctic Monkeys poster, from 'OMG Posters'
Arctic Monkeys poster, from 'OMG Posters' (Tom Whalen)

You know who you are. When you walk into First Avenue, your eyes don't go first to the stage, but to the walls. Then, you make a beeline to the merch table to see what limited-edition posters are on sale. You live in a place with ten-foot ceilings, and you still don't have enough wall space. Your recycling bin is full of cardboard tubes.

You're a poster junkie — like Mitch Putnam, a Minneapolis resident who runs the site OMG Posters. "Collecting posters is largely an evangelical hobby," he writes in the introduction to his new book OMG Posters: A Decade of Rock Art. "You have to explain what makes these pieces of art special and why they are worth collecting before anyone will understand why you are keeping all of this printed paper around."

To be clear, we're not talking about historic posters from the '60s and '70s: these are posters created by graphic artists largely since the founding of OMG Posters in 2007. Since The Current was launched in 2005, the artists whose gigs are advertised in the pages of Putnam's book could be pulled straight from our playlist: Spoon, Tame Impala, Arctic Monkeys, Sharon Van Etten, Jack White.

OMG Posters is sorted by 40 different artists or studios, presenting a total of over 300 posters in a lavish large format (though the book is paperback, helping to keep the price point affordable). The layout is a little confusing in that some posters are presented across the fold from other artists' names, but once you get the hang of it (and learn to read the fine print in the margins), it's pretty clear who made what.

Thumbing through these world-class artists' creative responses to the music of their favorite bands is fascinating. A few of my favorite examples include Dan Grzeca's Sturgill Simpson poster (a forest on a church on a graveyard on a sea turtle with the head of a lion), DKNG Studios' Jack White poster (a tree with a root system in the shape of two lungs), and Tyler Stout's Blade-Runner-inspired poster for EL VY.

It may be hard to resist the temptation to cut the book up and hang the pages on your wall, but fortunately a website is provided for each artist, so you can order your own originals. The artists also weigh in on their influences (ranging from painters to photographers), favorite bands (they run the gamut), and their creative processes. Chicago artists are heavily represented, and Minneapolis's Burlesque of North America are among the featured printmakers.

OMG Posters is a must-have for printmakers, and a great coffee-table book for your favorite hipster — who, let's be honest, might just be you.

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3 Photos

  • Alabama Shakes poster, from 'OMG Posters'
    Alabama Shakes poster, from 'OMG Posters' (Dan Grzeca)
  • Alt-J poster, from
    Alt-J poster, from "OMG Posters" (DKNG Studios)
  • Grateful Dead poster, from 'OMG Posters'
    Grateful Dead poster, from 'OMG Posters' (Richey Beckett)

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