How Queens of the Stone Age illustrators are keeping the art of tour posters alive

We speak to the artists behind QOTSA's latest eye-catching gig posters.

We like our music over here at Digital Arts, especially when great sound and great visuals go hand in hand. Queens of the Stone are a band who always guarantee this magic combination, like when Boneface did their album art for Like Clockwork and last year's Best Art Vinyl nominee Villains. It's no surprise then that the band's current and massive Villains world tour has thrown up some great poster work from a wide range of talented artists.

Uk-based Matthew Taylor is one of these talents, who made this cracking, cybernetic-cowboy piece for the group's Brisbane show this year.

"I was commissioned by the promoter who was handling a series of posters for all the dates on their Australian tour," Matt tells us. "Queens of the Stone age are one of a number of current touring bands who really go for it with their posters, and have a whole range of different artists designing artwork for each show - the likes of Ken Taylor, Drew Millward and Richey Beckett have worked on some of their recent prints.

"This was the first time i’ve worked with them - and actually only my fourth gig poster ever - but I hope they’ll come back and ask me to do some more."

When asked about what influenced the piece, Matt admits it was as simple as listening to the music - and giving a tip of the hat to a certain HBO show.

"Honestly, i just listened to their most recent album and this was what came to mind. I submitted a couple of sketches of a figure on a motorbike, but after batting it back and forth it just felt a little stale.

"I felt like the piece should have some movement and someone riding on something to give it that momentum and so the robot cowboy came to pass. The only brief I had was that if i could link it to the title of the album and tour, then that would be good. It also happened that I was watching season two of Westworld while I was working on this project so I don’t think I can deny that was a factor too..."

Colorado artist Mike Fudge was also influenced by a mixture of music and the visual for his poster below, as made for the band's January show in California.

"The artwork was influenced by both their sound and some of my own sources of inspiration. I imagined the characters in the poster as animated and alive in a sort of psychedelic music video setting.

"One thing I love about QOTSA," Mike continues, "is that they've kept alive the tradition of making gig posters specifically created for each show like many of the older bands that influenced me to start making poster art."

Illustrators looking to get into gig poster work may be wondering how much intellectual copyright you can keep when working with massive bands like QOTSA; the good news is, quite a lot.

"As part of the deal I get a number of copies to sell after the show," Matt reveals. "I think that’s fairly common to receive prints as part of your payment - if the band and artwork are popular then it means you can make a decent amount from selling them which can offset a slightly lower artwork fee."

"They allowed me a certain amount of prints to be sold on my own," Mike concurs. "There was also a variant foil color print that I was able to make for the fans. Of course there are still some basic rules to follow like not reproducing the image or prints beyond the specified quantities we talked about in the beginning of the project."

Check out Mike's store to get your own hands on his work. Matt's poster should be on sale sometime in September.

Read next: Interview - Queens of the Stone Age's Like Clockwork cover artist Boneface

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