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Commemorative Mookie Blaylock 1990 poster

Commemorative Mookie Blaylock 1990 poster

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Mookie Blaylock 1990 poster

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This newly created commemorative poster of Pearl Jam's very first show ever represents to me, the passage of time, loss, rebirth, and a bit of serendipity.

The date was October 22nd, 1990 and my brother, Blue, and I went with our friend Logan to see a brand new band debuting at the Offramp Cafe in Seattle that evening. The city's music scene was still reeling from the loss of the vocalist of Mother Love Bone, Andrew Wood, earlier in the spring of that year. On the verge of a major label debut with a new album coming out and a tour about to start, he had sadly died of an accidental overdose. The future of the band that shone so brightly locally came to a close before it had even began on the big stage.

Months later we had read that the bassist/ rhythm guitarist duo of Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard from the band and their previous band, Green River, would yet again be debuting their latest musical venture that on that autumn evening and we knew that we had to witness it. They had an odd name, Mookie Blaylock, which was an actual professional basketball player playing for the New York Nets at the time. They changed the name to Pearl Jam a year later to avoid and legal issues. As fans of both previous bands we were excited to check out their latest project and support these guys that had lost their seemingly golden ticket right on the verge of stardom. We didn’t know what to expect much like the other people lined up to see them play. We went with an open mind but had no idea that this very band would not only go on to become one of the biggest bands in the world but have longevity past all of the other bands of the time. Not only are they still relevant today but they still sell out arenas across the globe to this day.

For almost a decade I have been thinking about that first show for many reasons, one of which is my own personal loss of the two people that I saw that show with. Both my brother and Logan have since passed away. I’ve had the idea of creating a commemorative poster for that show since my brothers passing in 2015. I knew it could be special but honestly didn’t know how to approach it. Should I create it in the spirit of that time as an unknown band and just create some wild artwork in the style of my art back then? That seemed too hard to try and put myself back there in that way and attempt to not think about what would become the bands relevance. It would be contrived and not how I actually would have created it back then. Should I use a photo of the band from that era? It seemed like I was overthinking it and it just hadn’t come together but the idea had never left me. It was something I knew that I would create eventually.

Flash forward to getting a call from Trey Busch from Sleight of Hand Winery telling me about the idea of having a showing at his tasting room with a local photographer Karen Mason Blair, who had been part of the local music scene as well back in the day. I loved the idea and I chatted with her. To my amazement, not only was she also at that show back in October of 1990 but she was the only photographer that was there that night and documented it! I was blown away and we immediately talked about doing a collaboration poster of one of her photos and my artwork merged in some way. This is a true collab as I literally drew my version of her photo over the photograph on another layer and used a halftone of her pic as the shadow tones under my line art. I then added old school hand drawn text in the spirit of the Mudhoney album cover of Super Fuzz Big Muff with the letters wrapping around the figures and giving them more motion. I kept the poster very simple with only three colors like it would have been back in the day.

34 years later, Karen and I are both thrilled with how it turned out and we were happy to present it as an exclusive release on May 29th at 'Uncorked & Unplugged' at Sleight of Hand Cellars in Sodo. This was a charity event in support of SMASH (Seattle Musicians Access to Sustainable Healthcare).

For those that weren't able to be in attendance, we held some back for those were hoping to purchase a copy online. We will be making a donation to SMASH as part of this sale. 

Here's the poster details:

Limited Edition: 100 copies

Size: 18" x 24"

Type: 3 Color Screen Print on 100 lb Cougar paper stock

Markings: Signed & Numbered by Justin Hampton and Karen Mason Blair & JH Logo Embossed