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New Gig Posters Book Pitches Concert Art as Timeless Decorating Tools

Published: Monday, November 7, 2011

Updated: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 15:11

Gig Posters Volume 2

Courtesy Quirk Books

A Hold Steady poster is among the many pieces in the new book.

While most dorm rooms and apartments may come with the requisite bed and desk combination, bare white walls leave many living quarters looking devoid of personality.

Thankfully (like drunk hook ups and the inevitable Bob Marley phase), college students decorating their rooms with band posters will most likely never go out of style.

College kids looking to add a splash of color to their walls on a budget are exactly the audience Clay Hayes has in mind for his latest art book, "Gig Posters Volume 2: Rock Show Art of the 21st Century" (Quirk Books, $40).

"I can't think of a better way to decorate your dorm room," Hayes said.

"Gig Posters Volume 2" is a collection of 700 full-color concert art posters, 101 of which are perforated, 10-by-14-inch, ready-to-hang pieces. Filled with vibrant colors and loud fonts, the artwork provides readers with a varied selection of art styles from some of today's most talented designers, including Nashville's legendary Hatch Shows Print (one of the oldest letterpress print shops in America).

"There's something for everyone," Hayes said.

The start of Hayes' appreciation for concert art can be traced back to over a decade ago in Canada, where he resides. He was part of a band for ten years, during which he toured extensively.

"I collected all the posters of our shows as we toured around," he said. "I called them ‘gig posters.'"

In January 2001, Hayes decided he wanted to share his collection of concert posters, and also see what other people had, so he launched the website

What started up as a simple hobby quickly grew to become the web's largest collection of concert posters.

The site quickly grew to include more than 100,000 works from over 10,000 designers, giving visitors the opportunity to view, purchase and upload their own creations.

"I didn't know what I was getting into when I started this site," he said. "It grew into discovering more and more of what was out there."

Hayes believes the interest in concert art and the popularity of his site are signs of the times. With digital music having taken over, we're living in a "post-album-art era."

"People don't actually have physical music collections with album artwork anymore," he said. "I think gig posters are a great way for people to display an artistic representation of their band on their walls."

"Gig Posters Volume 2" offers collectible artwork promoting shows from popular musical acts, such as Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend and MGMT, as well as lesser-known groups.

The collection is organized by designer, with each page featuring the artists' insight on their methods and inspirations for the works. Hayes says it gives readers a look inside the "mind behind the art," while giving the book a personal touch.

"The artwork is symbolic of the generation," he added. "These posters are nothing like the ones of the ‘60s. It's a sign of what is cool and what is amazing right now."

Hayes is offering free limited-edition art prints to customers who order the book directly from

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