The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Live Shots

Reviewed by Marc Savlov, March 14, 2003, Music

Flatstock 2

Austin Convention Center, Friday/Saturday

Art is rock, rock is art, and Austin's exploding poster scene is gearing up for the single largest event in the history of their craft: Flatstock 2. Running concurrently with SXSW at the Convention Center, Flatstock is being sponsored in the capital city by local art collective Factor27, whose Geoff Peveto, along with local artists Mark Pedini, Billy Bishop, and Jared Connor lit out for the first Flatstock -- SXSW for poster artists -- in San Francisco last September.

The experience went so well that the local boys decided to bring it all back home. Some 70-plus poster artists from around the country and Canada -- including all of the surviving Armadillo World Headquarters gang -- will display, sell, and even create new works over the course of SXSW, making Austin ground zero for some of the most outrageous, brilliant, jaw-on-the-floor sketchery on the planet.

"We've got twice as many artists as they did at the first Flatstock," enthuses Peveto, who, like every other poster artist in Austin, is spending his days furiously printing broadsheets/handbills/whatever you want to call 'em for the upcoming four-color blitz. "There's everyone from Frank Kozik to the Armadillo's Jim Franklin, Micael Priest, PrintMafia, and Drowning Creek Studio, plus a lot of folks I've never met, but have been talking to on for years."

The anticipation is palpable among the Austin poster community, and with good reason. The event will likely result in recognition for a community of artists that's toiled in relative obscurity since they began. Plus, the sheer number of artists involved is likely to result in rock & roll history being made.

"Just for the fact that all of us have pulled together and built a local community of poster artists that's spread all over the country," says Peveto. "People are organizing receptions for the artists, parties for the artists, everybody in town is putting up art all over the place. It's pretty cool how many people have helped out."

Everybody's ultimate hope, however, is that Flatstock 2 generates righteous opportunities for the artists in attendance. Postering pays well enough that most Austin artists can cover their rent, but with a flotilla of record label suits and hundreds and hundreds of bands in town, the Austin poster scene is hoping to score some serious industry contacts.

"What I'm really hoping everybody gets out of it," nods Peveto, "is just massive exposure to the industry that they work in -- the music and band industry. There's so much talent that's going to show up here, and there's such a wide range of what we all do, that the opportunities will be boundless."

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