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The Artists of Flatstock: Rob Jones

The Artists of Flatstock: Rob Jones (photo)

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Eight years ago Rob Jones first went out on a limb and sent some unsolicited posters he made for The White Stripes to a venue they were playing in France. The band’s manager called Jones to chew him out for using band’s name on a print without express permission to do so. And then he told Jones the band wanted to use the rogue poster for the rest of their American tour dates.

Since then, Jones has churned out some of the most imaginative screenprinted posters ever to be slapped to a venue wall, many of them cleverly positioned within the confines of the Stripes’ peppermint candy color palate. And just this year, Jones became the first member of tight-knit poster art community to take home a Grammy for his work on the White Stripes’ “Under Great White Northern Lights” box set. He accepted his award in a custom-made pink leather suit. Let’s see Joan Rivers tackle that one.

Read on for more from Jones (who also designed the tote bags distributed for the SXSW Film Festival this year) on where his inspiration comes from, why you should pre-draft a speech for the Grammys, and what the maker of collectible artifacts collects himself.

How did you get started making posters?
I had a friend in a band called the Pink Swords. They were an awesome punk band. Usually my friends were in bands that were terrible. Arty bands that would play, like, children’s songs or telephone messages with their girlfriends breaking up with them in the background. But these guys were awesome. I saw them over 50 times. It was the first time I got to make posters for a band I really liked, and they played out a lot – like twice a week. I did that for like a year and a half before people started knocking my door asking me, “Can you make posters for us?”

How would you describe your poster-making aesthetic back then?
Most of my posters are awful, phallic-ridden nightmares.

Your prints, especially your White Stripes series’ have become very collectible items. What kind of things does a maker of collectibles collect?
I have a horrible completist nature. There’s this awesome movie – it’s the number one thing I collect – it’s called “Cruising,” starring Al Pacino. My favorite things tend to be things that shouldn’t be. Things that are just horrible, bad ideas. You marvel that someone actually thought it was a good idea. I’ve got over a hundred posters for it. I couldn’t collect for my favorite films like “Cool Hand Luke,” or “Seven Samurai,” I’d go bankrupt. But this stuff? I’m the only market.

How did you start working with the White Stripes?
After I sent a poster to them in France, around ’03-’04 I told the band I had other ideas, and I made five posters that were approved, at which point Jack asked me to make a poster for every date that was left on the tour. After those posters were done, they asked me to do the design for “Under Blackpool Lights” They just kept coming back, asking me to do jobs.

Where does your inspiration usually come from?

Mostly from interviews I read about the band. Or like, one day I was talking to Jack and he said he liked Fritz Lang stuff. So I said, great. “Metropolis.” And I started from there.

How did it feel to win a Grammy? (For “Under Great White Northern Lights”)
It was amazing. When I won my head was all guitar strings. Let me tell you, if you’re ever nominated for something, you’re better off planning a speech, planning the smallest of thank yous and jinxing it, than winning and fucking up your acceptance speech than hearing the whole plane ride home, “you forgot to thank me…”

Did your wife help you pick out you famed pink leather acceptance outfit?
No, but she helped with the measurements. I knew I wanted a custom pink leather outfit. I knew you could get it in any color at I gave them my measurements, and two weeks later I had a pink suit at my front door.

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

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Comfy Clothes

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Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

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Colin the Chicken

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Dream Of The ’90s

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A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

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Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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