I recently finished up a linocut poster for the Phish Riviera Maya shows in Mexico coming up this weekend. I had been on the fence whether or not I wanted to do something for this show, since I normally just do illustrated setlists for the shows. But the idea came organically, and with a 2 week Christmas break, I really had no reason not to. I have done lucha libre inspired artwork in the past, and wanted to avoid the Mayan/Aztec based theme, so this seemed very fitting.
Inspired by vintage lucha libre screenprinted posters, I knew this was be challenge to accomplish. My “studio” consists of whatever space I have in my apartment, which doesn’t allow enough space for screenprinting. The next logical option would be to recreate a poster via block print (linocut). Although I’m familiar with linocuts, I’ve never done one this size, which usually work best when using a press. Although they were hand pulled, I actually used a baren, which helped create a more consistent black.
My first couple pulls were actually 2 color blends, which was utilized by many lucha libre posters, but I wasn’t overall impressed with it. I made a small edition of these, and may play around with it more in the future.
I finally decided on a tri color background, which I saw on a few lucha posters, but are mainly with old concert posters. Without the ability to screenprint, I had to find a way to mimic that look. I did a few with a watercolor background, but it was a bit to light for me. acrylic took a lot of time, and gouache seemed like a likely winner, but then I remembered I have a ton of cans of spraypaint, and was able to get the color blending I wanted.
The linocuts are available in my shop right now, limited to an edition of 30. I have quite a few variations available, and will make them for sale shortly.