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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 makeyourownjeans.com. I gave them my measurements, and two weeks later I had a pink suit at my front door.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.