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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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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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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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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

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

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