Bay Area Poster Artists Show Off Creations

Firehouse Kustom Rockart Company Show at Varnish Gallery in San Francisco

When the Dow Jones Industrial Average has sunk to a new low but rock poster art is selling like hotcakes, there has to be an investment scheme for everyone somewhere. The place to start looking: Varnish Gallery in San Francisco.

Varnish's current showing comes from The Bay Area's Firehouse Kustom Rockart Company which has been in operation since 1997. Firehouse proprietors/artists, Chuck Sperry and Ron Donovan joined forces from a chance meeting on Haight street in 1994, during the resurgence of poster art popularity coming from people like Austin, Texas artist Frank Kozik. Kozik, by the way, made a poster for one of my bands during his salad days.

"You've got about ten seconds to grab someones attention and you can do that with color and a funny image," says Chuck Sperry regarding poster art. "What we've done is take the advertisement off and created fine art."

Sperry says the show takes a few cues from Shepard Fairey and Banksy, two notorious and now successful graffiti artists; "All of that high energy and power on the street in a rock poster - we're trying to bring that into the gallery and knock your eyes out."

"We're all just propaganda artists, you know," concludes Sperry.

Propaganda artists indeed. The show includes pieces that range from hand bill sized works to an 8' by 32' collage that culminates the twelve years of Firehouse poster art, as well as fine art prints on brushed steel. Prices range from 40 to 3000 dollars. The show runs until Friday, February 13th. Varnish Gallery will host a closing party February 13th.

Varnish Gallery: San Francisco at 77 Natoma street between 1st and 2nd St. and Mission and Howard.

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