Anyone into gigs and clubs knows the appeal of the flyer. As a teenager I collected them religiously; I still have a whole box of them mixed in with old photographs in the loft. As well as providing a visual clue to the feel of a night, after the event they become mementos, keepsakes of good times. Recognising this dual artistic and emotional importance, London promoters This Is Music are holding an exhibition of flyer art later this month. Tiger Reid explains that the idea came about when “after [putting on] 50 shows in London, I really wanted some screenprints of my favourite shows for myself. After speaking to James Hoare (Your Twenties & Veronica Falls) about the screen print t-shirts he did for Male Bonding, I was convinced it wouldn’t be too much work to put together an exhibition. I also love that we are having it in a nail salon run by the queens of DIY WAH fanzine too.” Having got esteemed designer Jayne Helliwell on board to art direct the exhibition, WALLFLY was born.
Bringing together promoters and artists like UPSET THE RHYTHM’s Chris Tipton, DURRR’s Gina Baber, NO PAIN IN POP’s Tobias Warwich Jones and THIS IS MUSIC’s Stephen Cheetham, the exhibition will showcase a selection of independent nights who “are established in London for doing their thing and bother to spend the time to have great flyers” says Reid. The result is a collection of striking, intriguing, witty and just plain beautiful examples of flyer art that Helliwell believes “contexualises the talent and respect that certain designers and illustrators have for their culture and the people they are surrounded by.”
It chimes deliciously with the times: a revived DIY culture of people putting on nights for friends, doing one another favours and pitching in to create something special and unique, not for financial gain but for the fun of it. “I’m not sure if it’s a DIY movement or recession but everybody is doing stuff with no money off their own back and that inspires me,” says Reid. Helliwell adds: “We are all doing this work because we can’t see ourselves doing anything else, even if we lose money or get burnt trying.”
It’s also a chance to buck the digital trend and cherish a more hands-on, personal approach. “Everybody wants things so fast nowadays and it becoming our downfall,” says Helliwell. “Screen printing, even with its beauty and tradition, now rarely gets used when it should do. The materials are still affordable and readily available, just step away from your MacBook for while.”
Entry is free and limited edition screen prints by James Hoare will be available to buy.