When you're gazing at a poster slapped on the outside of a club, it's the colors, streaks, patterns and utterly absurd imagery that usually grab your attention. Stunning graphics complement the music of local favorites and touring icons alike, luring fans into some of the best live music shows in North Texas. The bands' musical expression is both seen and heard, and it’s all thanks to the artists who design some of the most stunning, eye-grabbing gig posters plastered all over town. Here is a list of the top concert poster artists based in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Brad Albright, a Dallas-based illustrator, artist and designer, has been creating art in the Dallas area for well over a decade. He specializes in “old-school” 3-D designs and has made art for groups such as He Is Legend, Guided By Voices, The Black Moriah and These Old Men They Play Records. In addition to concert posters and album covers, Albright has designed for Marc Maron, a comedian and host of the podcast WTF. He illustrated his first official gig poster for the Dallas-born rock group Sealion in 2011, and he designed the cover for the band’s 2013 album Kenneth. Although he has moved all around the U.S., Albright says he considers Dallas home, and it's where he does projects under his website, Albright Illustration. Albright is always creating something new, and his art stems from admiration for the drawing process and his love for music.
Some kids are content with hearing the loud sound a band blasts from a booming stage. Matt Cliff, however, wanted to find a way to be part of the action. At 15, Cliff drew up his first music designs for Denton’s polka-rock band Brave Combo. Afterward, as the artist’s confidence began to soar, he began creating posters and gig merchandise for a slew of rock bands, including Spoon, Tame Impala, The 13th Floor Elevators, Ronnie Spector, The Black Angels, Tripping Daisy and The Polyphonic Spree. Originally from Benbrook, Texas, Cliff has taken his art and poured it all over Dallas-Fort Worth in the form of posters, album covers, T-shirts and concert merch.
The saying “takes one to know one” is all too fitting for Nick Quintero. A musician and former emcee, Quintero started drawing concert posters for hip-hop artists in the early 2000s. Raised in Dallas, Quintero began designing during his music career, when he began creating art for fellow musicians such as New York-based rapper Headkrack and Jacksonville, Florida’s alternative hip-hop artist Astronautalis. He has since worked with some of the biggest names in American hip-hop, including Atmosphere and The Roots. Quintero is a self-taught artist and has pulled off huge projects like designing gig posters for The Roots' Picnic, an annual music festival in Philadelphia. He says his only real struggle is turning off his creativity, a problem most of the artists on this list have.
Jonathon Kimbrell grew up in Abilene, Texas, but he has done big things for the Dallas music scene. After graduating from McMurry University in 2004 with a degree in fine arts, Kimbrell moved to Dallas and began working as an artist. As a lover of all things art and music related, he started combining the two and soon began making gig posters. In 2009, Kimbrell started designing for a few of his friends’ bands, but his first big commission came when he designed a last-minute tour poster for Dallas’ The Old 97’s. After he hand-printed around 300 posters, the band immediately fell in love with his creativity and turned to him for more designs. Since then, Kimbrell has designed for several well-known bands and musicians, including Alice Cooper, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, The Polyphonic Spree and the late Ray Manzarek, best known as the keyboardist for The Doors. He has also created a couple of eye-popping 3-D billboards for Good Records.
When he is not whipping out jams for his homegrown garage-rock band Loafers, Taylor Smith is plastering his creativity in the form of print design all over Deep Ellum. Inspired by Brian Schroeder, better known as Pushead, a logo designer best known for his works with Metallica, Smith began flexing his own drawing muscles and has designed for music groups based all over the country. Thee Oh Sees, Parquet Courts, Natural Child, Jacuzzi Boys, Audacity and The Coathangers are all on his resume. Smith graduated from Baylor University with a degree in graphic design and has been designing concert posters for almost five years. He is currently creating art for his record label, Barf Wave Records, and along with recording music, he plans to continue designing posters for other artists.
There is no doubt Chris Lewellyn, graphic designer and owner of Lewellyn’s Print Shop, is a heavyweight contender on this list. For more than 20 years, Lewellyn has created unique designs for dozens of bands. An “army brat” born in Belgium, Lewellyn eventually arrived in North Texas, and Dallas has been his home base for 25 years. He has designed concert posters and merchandise for acts such as Reverend Horton Heat and Butthole Surfers. He has also worked with many local musicians, creating tons of designs from his shop in Deep Ellum. Lewellyn usually delves deep into creativity and has tried making some outrageous pieces over the years. Once, country singer Hank Williams III, or Hank3, asked him to make a print using cow blood for ink.
Inspired by comic books and movie posters, Clay Stinnett has highlighted the passion of many local bands through his artwork. Stinnett regularly does designs for Parade of Flesh, a Dallas-based booking agency, and he has taken on projects for well-known acts like Fort Worth rock band the Toadies. At 19, Stinnett began his artistic career drawing thousands of illustrations a week as a caricature artist. “One of the most influential experiences, jobs I had was when I was 19, I worked at Six Flags Over Texas doing caricatures for two years,” Stinnett says. “That definitely, definitely kind of sealed the deal on my technique.” Stinnett is a Fort Worth native and has showcased some of his work at Texas Theatre and the Dolly Python.
Some artists have a flair that remains a bit mysterious, wallowing in the music scene’s underbelly. Larry Carey’s work can be seen in Dallas-Fort Worth’s musical underground. A vigilante for all those committed to the DIY ethos, he has worked with some of Dallas’ most high-energy bands hidden from the mainstream. “I’m always for that sort of underground, noisy kind of aspect of what’s going on, and it’s fun for me to be involved,” Carey says. He first started doing professional work for psychedelic-metal band Hawk Vs Dove, and he has crafted many projects for Vice Palace, a Dallas-based cassette label. Carey is originally from New Jersey, and his poster art began in the early ’80s, when he first started making designs for his band Glass Onion. He moved to the Dallas area as a teenager and graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. Since his arrival, Carey has worked with bands both weird and wild, and has stroked his magic for local musicians across town.
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Ryan Sprague’s work has caught the eye of music legends. Sprague’s poster art career is sparkled with designs for some of pop culture’s largest icons, including Michael Jackson, Madonna, David Bowie, Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones. Although he was born in Sacramento, California, Sprague was raised in Dallas-Fort Worth. He grew up playing music with his brother Calvin, and when the two of them needed art to match their sound, Sprague began to experiment with designs on his computer. Soon after, he and Calvin began taking design classes while they were both still attending Flower Mound High School. After finishing school and doing freelance graphic design in Dallas, Sprague’s artistic vision quickly snowballed until he was creating posters for some of the greats. The artist is finishing up a project for Ben Folds' upcoming Paper Airplane Request Tour, and he plans to kickstart a new merchandise company to sell unique T-shirt and poster prints.
Hunter Moehring is well known to the residents of Deep Ellum. He's the lead singer for one of Dallas’ wildest rock bands, Sealion, and he designs gig posters and other merch. Moehring is influenced by his father, a Seattle-based poster artist from the late '60s and early '70s, and has been designing professionally for almost five years. When he is not screaming into a mic onstage, he spends a good amount of his time cooking up art for bands such as Crystal Stilts, L7, Chastity Belt, and Shannon and the Clams, not to mention his designs for countless local acts.
Pussyhouse Propaganda (Ray Liberio and Calvin Abujeco)
Pussyhouse Propaganda, the Fort Worth-based art and design duo of Ray Liberio and Calvin Abujeco, makes the list as a deserving pair. Although most of their art is cultivated for local musicians, Pussyhouse Propaganda has created many masterpiece designs for an array of recording artists, including Valiant Thor, Brant Bjork, The Dwarves, Dead Meadow, Swamp Dogg, Nebula and Ben Harper. The pair's poster art began when Liberio’s band the Me-Thinks needed concert fliers for its shows, and soon after, the two of them established Pussyhouse Propaganda in 1999. Since then, they have been rockin’ concert poster designs and have created album covers for groups such as stoner-rock band Vorvon. Fort Worth Weekly recognized Pussyhouse Propaganda as the best graphic designers in 2008 and 2009.