You’ve probably seen Paul Imagine sitting outside of a coffee shop, mohawked and sketching. And you might have seen an Imagine poster or two—perhaps a corpse with goo dripping out of its face. Imagine’s art has been featured in Art of Modern Rock (a sort of bible for rock-art collectors) and most recently in the documentary American Artifact, which he’ll show clips from at his solo show at Sub-Q Piercing and Tattoos this Second Saturday.
So what are you drawing right now?Oh, I’m trying to come up with something for a D.I. poster. It’s just not working.
What other bands have you done art for?I always do the Melvins when they come through. I did a couple Devo posters. But mostly local bands.
What attracted you to rock art?When I started, I wanted to be in a band, but I have no talent. I can draw, and I was friends with tons of bands and people that played music. So I did fliers and T-shirts and eventually started printing posters. … I used to buy records by the cover back in the ’80s. It’s like, “If this sucks, at least the cover’s rad!”
I was just looking at the Web site for the American Artifact movie and—Did you see all the artists in there?!
Yeah, it’s crazy!It’s like, “What the hell am I doing in there?!” I feel weird fitting in with all these artists that I’ve always loved.
Do you make any money off your art?
Uh, it pays for itself. It’s a horrible, horrible business decision. I was like, “I chose my path and I’m sticking to it!” I get offered, every once in a while, to do bigger posters—but if I don’t want to go to a show then I’m not going to do a poster. Since the Art of Modern Rock came out … everyone is trying to do posters for the big bands that are on the radio, because they sell the poster just by the band name. I’m like, I don’t want to do some of those bands—they’re horrible!
Have computers changed rock art at all?Yeah, even before I started, computers changed it. In the ’80s everything was rad—hand-drawn, cut-and-pasted … In the ’90s, it became fonts of band names and maybe the logo of the club or whatever, and it just got boring.
The book, the movie, the solo show— it must be exciting for you.It is! It’s so weird, because, like I said, I don’t know how I fit in to all this. It’s like, “What am I doing here?” But I far surpassed any fame I expected to have. I’ve left my mark somehow.