Interview: Seripop


by pr!

Lately I’ve been getting into gathering screen printed poster art from concerts and events. While most of my collection tends to stay in the poster container it arrived in, a few grace my wall. Among the Lindsey Kuhn’s and the Shepard Fairey is a single, slightly crinkled Seripop creation that someone gave me. After staring at it for two months, I thought I’d track ‘em down. Chloe Lum decided to talk to me, and if that picture above tells you anything, it’s that her and fellow Seripop’er Yannick Desranleau look way better in those clothes then I ever would. Especially Chloe. She’s hot.

Chloe, I’m not sure how familiar most people are in the poster making process. Can you explain the process of poster creation, from start/scratch to finish?
Poster creation is done mostly by hand with pencil, pen, ink and type specimens… and sometimes photos as well. The two of us just sit around and draw or glue things together and talk a lot, making doodles of our dumb ideas, arguing, passing crap back and forth, drinking lots of juice and throwing the cats off the table a lot. Then we make Xeroxes… once the main art and text is done we scan everything and paste it up in Photoshop, making good use of the layering function to make sure our color layers line up well. Then, we print out each layer separately to make our films… Screens are prepped and we screen-print the posters usually editions of 150-300. We get everything cut by a giant robot and then it’s ready to ship out.

Robots are cool.
Often we have our bandmate Chris Taylor and our printing assistant Matt Moroz come over and draw with us to make things more exciting. Then, if we fell really crazy after sitting at the table drawing for several hours and talking shit, we’ll watch a DVD together. That is the extent of our social life. We rarely leave the house apart from being at the print shop.


What route would you recommend for the fledging artist?
Fledging artists should get a good day job, buy some gear, save up enough cash to live for a few months, quit said job and get to work… and be prepared to work a lot. Hours should be long, production rate should be big. Many people should be talked to and life should be lived as cheaply as possible.

So how many hours do you work?
We generally work 12- 16 hours a day, 7 days a week and we are only barely starting to make money now after doing this full time for two years doing art and trying to make a living off of it leave little to no time for anything else. That includes eating and bathing. I guess the most important thing is drive and ambition, coupled with a really hardline work ethic. Talents comes third and selling yourself fourth. If you are an artist planning to work in the music scene it’s really important that you fucking love it and love the people you do stuff for.

How formidable is the competition? Do you feel like you compete with other artists/companies?
The thing with art is that’s it’s “cool” so a lot of designers… and people who think they are designers… wanna do it. The hours are long, the pay is shit but everyone wants to get in there it seems. Almost anyone can get gigs doing it at a ocallevel if they are into doing stuff for local/regional acts. It’s more when you start doing stuff nationally and internationally that the competition gets really fierce. There are a lot of talented people bidding on jobs and in order to get them you need to have a style people like and can relate to the music, work fast, deliver shit on time, talk to everyone and know everyone, get in good with the bands you do stuff for and constantly be having new stuff to show as well as having a good presence online and at shows. Weirdly enough, there is quite a large scene of poster art dorks out there and most of us know each other from, the bi-yearly gig poster convention flat stock, traveling or whatnot, so, if you are friendly with the other artists doing the same type of stuff as you, for the same type of music there is a mutual baking off. People help each get gigs all the time and collaborate on work. Also many of us set up art shows together.


Have you ever turned someone down for custom work, for any reason?
We turn down custom work daily. More often than not it’s because we just don’t have time or because the client is trying to bargain with us on our fee. We don’t bargain with strangers, ever. Sometimes it’s for shit we just don’t like, so we politely say “no thanks” and pass it on to another artist. We really prefer working with people we know and/or bands, events… things that we like and respect.

Cool. Would you do design for large corperations (Coke, Nike, Microsoft, tobacco/alcohol companies)? Is there a line?
So far we haven’t had any offers from major corps and we aren’t really expecting them. Doing a job like that would make us feel uncomfortable but if the cash is really good it might be awfully hard to say no; i guess we’d look at it case by case. What is the company, what is their history, how much creative control do we have, what fee are they offering, how broke are we, etc. We don’t believe that big companies are inherently evil but many are and many more definitely don’t have the public’s best interest at heart. Right now the only non-music related corporate stuff we are doing is for a vegan show distribution company, which is run out of the guy’s apartment.


Do you get offers for poster idea’s or custom posters to duplicate?
We get asked but we don’t. We only print our own designs… more rewarding and less bullshit involved.

What country do you sell the most posters to?
Most of our posters sell in America. We sell online and in record stores, comic stores and some art galleries. We also occasionally table at fests/showcases or at industry conventions, and on the road selling and showing our prints. We also retail stuff in Singapore of all places.

I heard that you’re in a band and make a zine.
We are both in the noise rock band ‘Aids Wolf’ and involved with various zines, most notably ‘Black Rainbow’

What’s up with your new prime minister? He sounds like a dick.
He’s basically a right wing fucknut who wasn’t elected.


Is there a set price for custom poster creation? What are some of the factors?
Our pricing is complicated. Factors include our personal relationship with the client, the scale of the event or album, the amount of freedom we get to do what we want, how busy we are, how much work is there involved, bla bla bla. We often just make it up.

Anything coming up that we’d see a Seripop signature on?
Um everything? A whole lotta posters and record covers for an Albatross, poster series for Death From Above, covers of a few magazines and a whole lotta “art” stuff we are doing for some gallery shows we have coming up in Chicago, Toronto, Providence and here. Um… lots of magazine illustrations, some randon junk, hip hop record covers, t-shirt line.

Who would win in a fight, Lemmy from Motorhead or God?
Well since God doesn’t exist , Lemmy would just be punching the air. He’d get really dizzy, fall down and pass out; therefore, God would win