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Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, March 12, 2010, Music

Lure of the Swamp: The Screen Printed Rock Posters of Lindsey Kuhn

Swamp, 104 pp., $24.95

Images are the mosaic of our mind's eye. Or in the case of onetime Austin screenprinter, T-shirter, and poster artist Lindsey Kuhn, third eye. Nothing speaks to graphic designers' real world success better than their pieces hanging in actual homes, as has long been the case here in one DIY musical capital of the world. For example, there's Kuhn's round, torpedo-bra Boss Hogg advertisement behind the hallway door leading to my bedroom, a square hole cut in it for the thermostat. Up the passageway on the left there's the green-and-pink Seaweed gal and across from it one of Kuhn's own favorites: six Emo's posters for six shows over a three-week period in Rocktober 1996, all separate vertical images linked in comic-book-panel style. At the office hangs Kuhn's Rosie the Riveter orange crush poster for 7 Year Bitch, Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas announcing No Lie Records' singles release party, and whatever happened to my nitrous-expelling Gas Huffer poster? Beginning with an 11-foot skateboard half-pipe ramp in his swampy backyard of Mississippi as a teen – when he mailed the Big Boys' Tim Kerr a fan care package – Kuhn's zine-inspired, poster-crammed autobiography doubles as a catalog for posters still plastered up all over this town, to which Kuhn moved in 1990 and where he promptly stumbled upon modern indie rock poster godfather Frank Kozik for a "crash course in low art." Meeting Tool in L.A. popped his poster cherry, after which followed found art – Sid Vicious, serial killer Ed Gein – against carnival-colored backgrounds announcing the likes of Jawbreaker, Jawbox, Drive Like Jehu, Unsane, Killdozer, New Bomb Turks, Cows, Supersuckers, even the Austin Music Awards. Kuhn's "Texas Murderers" wood panels in Emo's inform Austin's visual identity every bit as paramount as Daniel Johnston's "Hi, How Are You" mural on the Drag, though note: "I've used 'found' art on some posters because I thought it was cool and went well with the band or show," admits Kuhn in the book-length Q&A with the now Denver dweller. "I've learned enough not [to] do that anymore. I thank and apologize to anyone that I've borrowed art from for a poster. I never thought people cared until I got in trouble for it. ... With the Internet and the seven degrees of separation, you can't get away with anything anymore." Got that kids? Take it as gospel from he of clowns and witches, Japanese monsters and Ultraman. (Book release Tuesday, March 16, Emo's; booksignings at Flatstock, Austin Convention Center, Thursday, March 18 & Friday, March 19.)

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