Gary Houston of Voodoo Catbox has been doing great rock posters for many years now. The first two rock posters I ever bought were from Voodoo Catbox: a diamond-shaped Foo Fighters than you can see on my wall when you come visit, and a Bad Religion poster made to look like an E.C. Comics cover. Gary designed the TRPS poster that you may have seen in our sidebar for the last couple of weeks, and I caught up with him this week for an email interview.
Spinning Platters: What was the first work of art you did for money?
Gary Houston: Whoa- you can do art and get paid?
I guess the first posters were done back in high school. I worked for a promoter in Wichita, KS. I did posters for local shows, mostly English stuff that the promoter liked- Savoy Brown, Atomic Rooster, Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac, back when they were a blues band with peter green and Danny Kerwin- good stuff!
I can’t tell you how many Uriah Heep Shows I worked after the 1st or 2nd song because they sucked so bad.
SP: What are your favorite places to visit when you’re on the road selling posters?
GH: I like doing Austin, Bumbershoot in Seattle. I have done all of the Flatstocks except Chicago. I just returned from The Netherlands and Germany- that was a lot of fun. I do some local stuff in Portland. The Blues Festival, Jason Brown’s Goodfoot Show is amazing too.
SP: Who are some other artists you’d like everyone to know about?
GH: I’m a big fan of Mig Kokinda. He’s out of Austin and does stencil and rattle can posters. Ron and Chuck of The Firehouse always amaze and Brad Klausen in Seattle, Lars Krause and Douze kicks major ass. I’m a big fan of John Howard, the list could go on for a long time. There is so much talent out there. Stanley Mouse, David Singer, Scott McDougall…
SP: When you make a rock poster, how does the artist’s music affect your art?
GH: I think your heart has to be in it. I like doing posters for bands I like. I don’t think of posterwork as a paycheck, although it can be nice. I do stuff for folks that are more Americana or roots and that’s the kind of music that I gravitate to.
SP: What are your favorite guilty pleasures (in art or music)?
GH: I don’t know if I have any guilty pleasures. I like having fun doing most stuff, I guess I’m kind of a simpleton or savant playing in a poster sandbox. Yeah, its hard work , and there are days when I want to get in the car and just drive away, but I’d always come back.
SP: Listening to any music these days that you’d like to recommend?
GH: I listen to a lot of bootleg stuff. Live shows- I’m really fond of the last Portland Knitters show. Richmond Fontaine’s new one is great and I just picked up the latest Pearl Jam, Hendrix, Coltraine, Muddy Watters, Flamin Groovies, Slow Death is one of my favorites.
I like Gospel and Dub Reggae and pretty much anything twang.
SP: What are a couple of things you’d like us to put on your Wikipedia page?
GH: As For Wikipedia- not really except I work hard and hopefully churn out some things folks like. I don’t pay too much attention to some of that stuff.
SP: Who were/are some of the artists that inspire you?
GH: Griffin, Hans Holbein, Monet, Albrecht Dürer, Mouse, Kelley, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauchenburg- the list could go on.
SP: What do you do to keep from repeating yourself?
GH: Huh? I try to work in a variety of approaches, pen and ink, hand cut film, scratch board. I like doing Native Northwest Coast stuff. I also like taking different stuff and throwing it together.
SP: What are your favorite posters from your own portfolio?
GH: I’m fond of the Gary Louris/ Mark Olsen Poster. Also Calexico, The WBF Rooster, WBF Year of the Blues, Los Lobos #4, Phil Lesh NYE 2000/01, and Social Distortion #2.
Enjoy this gallery of some of Gary’s favorites of his own, plus a few of my favorites of his: