TRPS Artist Relief Trust posters at HSAC

On display September 14 through October 29

Since 2008, The Rock Poster Society (TRPS) has published limited-edition screen prints to raise money for its Artist Relief Trust (ART), which supports rock-poster artists who are having a tough time financially due to medical emergencies and other unforeseen circumstances. With the annual TRPS Festival of Rock Posters returning to the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park on October 21, 2023, we at the Haight Street Art Center thought it would be timely to show a selection of ART screen prints from 2008 through 2022.

The first ART poster was initiated by artist Dave Hunter, who passed away in 2017. Hunter, a friend of fellow artist Alton Kelley, decided to design and print a poster to help Kelley’s family, which had been struggling with the rock-poster icon’s health issues prior to his own passing on June 1, 2008. To honor his friend, who loved motorcycles, Hunter chose a stock image of a 2007 Harley-Davidson Twin Cam 96 engine, crowned by Kelley’s name in Rick Griffin-style lettering.

That same year, 2008, Emek drew his famous surfing skeleton for the first officially commissioned ART poster. Emek’s ART print quickly became one of the most popular and collected images for both the artist and TRPS. In the years since, artists Gary Houston, Chuck Sperry, John Seabury, Marq Spusta, Matt Leunig, Chris Shaw, Alexandra Fischer, Stanley Mouse, A.J. Masthay, and Brad Klausen have designed ART posters for TRPS. This year, Dave Kloc, who is part of the “Keepin’ it Surreal” exhibition at HSAC—September 28 to October 29—joins that illustrious list.

From September 14 through October 29, the Haight Street Art Center will have ART posters by Dave Hunter, Emek, Gary Houston, and Stanley Mouse on display. Also on view will be Luke Martin’s ART poster from 2022. While most artists who design ART posters for TRPS create a variant or two, Martin and his printer, Broken Press of Seattle, went kind of crazy, producing three colorways of five colors each on paper, as well as seven foils—one in gold and six in silver—whose shimmering stock was donated to TRPS by John Tillinghast of Exceptional Papers. This is the first time all 10 of Martin’s 2022 ART posters, plus the original drawing on clayboard, have been exhibited together.