Art Rock: James Rheem Davis

Art Rock is our weekly look at the creation and design of tour posters, merchandise and other music artwork. Because why should your ears have all the fun?

According to his bio, artist James Rheem Davis uses his full name, but is not a serial killer. The San Francisco native is a self-proclaimed “boring individual who enjoys movies, music and especially cookies.” He’s created designs and posters for quite a number of bands, including Tool, The Strokes, Juliette and the Licks, Interpol, Snow Patrol, Incubus, Taking Back Sunday, Deftones and many more. His major influences include Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Frank Kozik, H.R. Giger, Dave Mckean, David Carson, Phil Hale and Kent Williams; as well, he’s inspired by MTV (“when they played videos”), horror flicks, and pop culture – which provides the inspiring twisted beauty displayed in his work. We especially love what he’s done for The Devil Wears Prada poster, pictured above.

LiveBuzz: How did you go about designing the poster for The Devil Wears Prada? Did they ask you to or did you bring it to their attention?

James Rheem Davis: I have been designing gig posters for over 9 years and one of the club’s promoters was also the manager of The Devil Wears Prada as well as other bands. We had worked together before on a lot of posters for the club and he asked me to design one for TDWP.

LB: What was the inspiration behind the artwork? How did you come up with the concept?

JRD: Their album Plagues was a start, but in the end I wanted something dark that was visually appealing. I like to mix color with dark images.

LB: Did you ever get the chance to meet the band?

JRD: I have been very fortunate to meet some of the bands I’ve worked with, but I have never met TDWP.

LB: What other bands have you designed for?

JRD: I have been in the music merchandise business for about 10 years. You can check out my website GIANTSUMO to see a sample of the bands I’ve done posters and merch for.

LB: What’s your design process?

JRD: Get a project, research band, lots of thumbnails and doodles for ideas, create art, stress out, submit art, then wait for revisions or approval, next project.

LB: Who are your influences?

JRD: There are so many, but the main one is Andy Warhol.

LB: Do you work in other art mediums?

JRD: I started off drawing and painting as a youngster. I did a lot of paintings and then discovered the computer program Photoshop. Everything is done with Photoshop.

James currently resides in Phoenix, AZ. He was recently in Carrboro, NC at the Wootini Gallery for the opening night of an art show, “I Remember Halloween,” which will run for two months. He’s also working on some new movie posters for some upcoming shows.

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