Hi Thomas / Thez / Zellerluoid / Bicycle Press – you’re from Vienna, how come you ended up in Barcelona?
It’s the same old new story! I quit my job and was searching for new destinations. Back then I had no clue of how to screen print or even what screen printing was about. I was doing interviews with my favourite bands)and writing for an online youth magazine – without earning money. And suddenly after a heavy New Year’s celebration in Berlin, I met people who brought me in touch with a guy in Barcelona. I wanted to learn Spanish at this time, so I moved there for three months…..
Nearly a year later I came back to Austria again because I didn’t see any perspective in Spain although I was in love with Barcelona. I searched for temporary jobs and when all went wrong, I found a manual of “How to build your own screen print machine” – that sounded amazing, and my incredible friend Carlos helped me to build this monster out of the wood of his garage, his house and his self-made guitars, and suddenly I had a screen print table, a carousel – but no fucking idea of what to do with it…so I bought books, searched in the internet and started to experiment. Another year later, I already had done some creative stuff, printed some shirts and so on and thought: I really don`t like to stay in Vienna, I miss Barcelona – Fuck it, let’s move to Spain again and build up a studio there……and here I am!!!
Tell us a little bit about how you got involved with Flatstock / the API?
I think it’s a natural process when you dive into the world of making posters. You hear about Flatstock and the only thing that comes to your mind is that one day “I HAVE to be part of it”.
When I recognised that Flatstock is happening in my “hometown” Barcelona, I went there and got in touch with the people. I had one or two posters done only. But the artists over there were all super nice, motivated me to keep on doing stuff and to become a member of Flatstock family. It was Lars from Douze who gave me the possibility to help him at his booth at Primavera Sound 2013. I learned a lot in those 4 days, and worked hard for getting some posters done all over the next year. Finally in 2014 I had my own booth there too……amazing!
You love screen printing right? You have your own studio in Barcelona, tell us about it…
I fucking love it. My studio is part of a bicycle shop. A wild story again, that for me only could have happened in Barcelona. We got a totally fucked up studio and as we had no money, we were working nearly 2 years to get it finished. We recycled everything possible and have had our starting problems. It’s in the sunny neighbourhood of Poble Sec and I really enjoy it there. Years ago the “barrio” was not that interesting but right now its super popular…and we are already there! So if you’re in Barcelona, pass by and check it out!
Do you screen print your own gig posters? What else do you like screen printing?
YES !!! I am drawing and printing all my stuff by myself. I do a lot of shirts too. So I could say I print more on cotton than on paper…
What’s your favourite ever gig poster that you’ve done?
It’s hard to say, because there is so much time and heart in every poster. If I had to choose one, I would go for the poster I did for THE ENTRANCE BAND. It was definitely the hardest to make. Especially the frame for the black ink I had to expose 4 times…….It was a battle against seconds on the light table/exposure unit but I (and my poor friend Ken) had to go through it. That’s what it is about when you build your own “machines”. I thought I can do it better… and it was worth it. It’s nearly sold out, so be quick 😉
What’s your favourite ever gig poster that someone else has done?
Wow, tough question. There are so many great posters that it is really impossible for me to pick out only one of them. I am a big fan of Jay Ryan, and his poster for “TV on the Radio” is really awesome. Also the “Deftones” poster series from Jermain Rogers are great stuff. Kevin Tongs poster for “Mogwai” is a masterpiece and prints from “LANDLAND” are another level of screenprinting for me. But the list is endless.
Have you got any other creative projects outside the world of art?
I love taking pictures with my LOMO LC-A camera. I have thousands of photos that would be really worth to show a bigger public, but it seems that I still need time to figure out this project. It’s my backup! When I am around, I always buy vinyl and also DJ a bit. So, sometimes you can find me behind the decks in a club where I really enjoy playing mostly house music. Search for MISJÖ and I played drums for many years.
If someone is interested in learning how to screen print, how would you advise them to do it?
If you know somebody who already does screen printing – go and spend your nights with them in the studio. If you are without a clue – check out the internet, books, videos, etc…….and don`t have fear of failure. It’s a long way before your screens look like you imagine, but they will for sure!
Do you ever think the gig poster will ever replace the ubiquitous band tee in terms of popularity?
No, this will never happen….and it’s OK! A shirt is a shirt is a shirt….and it has to make history with you, it has to be fucked up over the years. A poster is similar but something above and it’s always good to have a shirt and a poster.
How do all the Flatstock events differ? Where else would you like to see one?
They are different because of the venues. I only know Barcelona and Hamburg in terms of Flatstock and you can not compare it. In Barcelona you are in a festival site outside of town and only people who have a festival ticket will enter, while in Hamburg you are in the middle of Reeperbahn / St. Pauli and everybody can pass by. It’s different. No idea how it is in the U.S.
Would be cool to have one Flatstock happening in the UK or in one of the Scandinavian countries or Japan or Mexico but first I should make it to Austin someday.
Can you please share three bits of advice for any aspiring gig poster artists or artists in general?
– BELIEVE IN YOUR STYLE
– DO IT BECAUSE OF FUN, NOT FOR BECOMING RICH
– GOOD LUCK WHEN CATCHING THE TAXI AFTER FLATSTOCK BARCELONA ON SUNDAY MORNING !!
You can keep up to date with Thomas via his website.