Currently on a winding tour of the nation’s universities, Died Young, Stayed Pretty is a doc about the faceless artists and personalities responsible for the modern day rock poster and maintaining its relevance as a populist artform. The trailer below ebbs in and around a central theme of the film: this is a subculture that seemingly had very little organization, correspondence, and insider-identity before the web came along. After that, these artists, dare we say normal people, fled to one another and soon began experimenting with bold sexual acts and illegal substances attributed to many of their subjects. Actually, no. It appears they just met inside workshops and at picnic tables to debate the ubiquity of octopi and the color pink in their oft-hipsterized medium. For some reason, the shoegazer-styled trailer makes lowkey human discussion enticing…
The doc is the first for Iranian/Canadian director, Eileen Yaghoobian. In an interesting if obvious tie-in, she had several of the artists featured in the film create DIY posters for it. One of the valid points of the doc is how few of these artists are known, even to music and concert enthusiasts, and we cannot claim to be anywhere near schooled on the subject. A few of the names we do recognize as represented in the film are: Chicago’s Andrew Bird, Tyler Stout (his work at Mondo Tees paints the dreams of our most loyal readers by now), and Tanxxx. It would have been helpful if the trailer inserted the names over subjects as they spoke, allowing curious viewers to search GigPosters afterward. A few reviews thus far have favorably compared the doc to Helevetica; no question this is another niche culture that warrants a doc or more.
From the official plot sypnosis: [These artists have] created their own visual language for describing the spotty underbelly of western civilization and they’re not shy about throwing it in the face of polite society. Along the way, they manage to create posters that are strikingly obscene, unflinchingly blasphemous and often quite beautiful. Yaghoobian shows these artists for what they are: the vivisectionists of America’s morbidly obese consumer culture. More info. H/T: @Abeille15
Feel free to list your favorite poster artists in the comments. Off hand, I dig the work of Arik Roper (not featured in the doc).