I like a man who can stick two fingers up to the InDesign grid and whip up a photo of the Pope in sunglasses faster than you can say “spliff.” Jaime Zuverza is that man, and in between playing bass guitar for Bill Callahan, he spends his time creating some of the best posters I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. Drawing inspiration from the gross, the rebellious, the toothy and the gnarled, his no-holes-barred approach to making posters is so up my street it’s basically my house. Jaime very kindly agreed to answer some questions about his work. Onwards! Let him inspire the shit out you…
Your posters have essence of old punk zines in them, is there a certain bygone era or genre that inspires you?
Yeah there’s alot of bygone eras that inspire me, but mainly those that have a humorous perspective on death like the surrealist movement, and these things from the late 70’s and 80’s: Terry Gilliam, Jim Henson, skateboard art, Garbage Pail Kids… Lately I have been inspired by the strange things the body and mind create. I think those things must be welcomed in a friendly manner. The body produces blood, tears, boogers, vomit, caca, gas, wax, urine, spit, odours, etc. The mind produces dreams, hallucinations, delusions, paranoid associations, psychic vibes, phobias, visions. All of these things are usually kept hidden but they play a big part in people’s daily lives. I like to make work that combines these things with a good time and a willing participant. All of the characters in my posters are happy to be there even when they’re the victim of a terrific act of violence. A good live show should produce a certain kind of hedonistic optimism in a person and I seek to portray that.
How much does the sound of the music you’re making a poster for effect the final design?
The sound of the band usually doesn’t affect the design. I think the show-goers catch my drift.
In your opinion, what’s the key to a well designed poster?
1. Hidden butt cheeks.
2. A fly surfing a turd while it spirals down on a toilet flush wave.
3. Dumbo farting on Elvis’s decapitated head (on which a game of Tic Tac Toe has been played) as it goes over the edge of Niagara Falls.
What kind of music are you into?
As I’ve gotten older I’ve found that the sounds and moods that I’m into can be found in most genres. But there’s a certain kind of musicianship from the 70’s that really appeals to me.
Do you go to a lot of gigs?
Alot of my friends play in bands and I play in a couple of bands too. I probably see one show a week unless I’m on tour, then I see a show every night for weeks.
You said you played in Bill Callahan’s band, how do you juggle your time to make room for both passions?
I only make money from music and design so its heaven on earth for me. Clocking in every day at the office is difficult. I did that for 10 years as a graphic designer for a tech company. Sometimes my posters feels like a reaction against that world. My posters promote other artists which makes me feel good. I don’t want to work for Coca Cola or Geico or Urban Outfitters and it would make me happy if there were less billboards and commercials. The internet is a much better place with adblocker, if you don’t have it you should get it! Touring other countries is great mainly because I can’t understand any of the advertisements. In the future there will be smart glasses that will recognize logos and block them out of our vision or replace them with pictures of kitty cats. I can’t wait for that day.
How did it feel to design Bill Callahan’s book jacket? Was there a different mental process to designing, say, a record sleeve or poster?
Well making a poster is generally a more enjoyable endeavour than making a record sleeve. Mainly because no one else but me is involved in the process and the ephemerality of the poster allows me to design with a carefree spirit. I hardly ever have a preconceived idea before I start a poster. They are mostly products of chance and experimentation. It was fun making the cover for Letters to Emma Bowlcut though. Bill presented a handful of surreal ideas from the book that seemed right up my alley. We went back and forth until da word became incarnate.
Is there a certain artist or band you’d like to create artwork for?
My friends and you.