Poster Child


The phrase “overnight sensation” has gone the way of the dinosaur, replaced by “going viral.”

Graphic artist R. Black, who has devoted much of his career to creating gig posters for bands and theater companies,knows something about that. It happened to him last fall when his poster for Occupy Oakland spread through protest communities popping up around the country.

“I went down to Occupy Oakland to check it out,” explains the San Diego native who has lived in Oakland for the last six years, “and I got inspired by what I saw. I came home that night and knocked out the Occupy Oakland poster.”

Soon he was getting requests for artwork from other Occupy movements. His images became so synonymous with the movement at large that he was hired by Harper Collins to provide the cover art for its forthcoming e-book, Occupy Nation.

What’s next for Black? “I really want to do opera posters,” he says. “Opera, ballet and symphony. That’s my next frontier.”

For this artist, “frontier” is more than a metaphor. Shortly after this interview, he’s taking off to explore the Nevada desert for a month-on foot-seeking new experiences to transmute into art.

-Jim Ruland