David Welker's Black Keys Poster Pays Homage to Roseland Ballroom
David Welker paid homage to the soon-to-be-shuttered Roseland Ballroom with his poster for Friday night's Black Keys concert. "I wanted to portray Roseland as a mid-twentieth-century landmark," said the artist. "I placed the two band members on the left atop my depiction of Roseland and its unassuming entrance, and above it is a cathedral, which represents all of the music, the rock and roll, that's come out of there."
He described the style as "Deco-Surrealism or Retro-Futurism," adding, "In a way, the piece depicts my childhood vision of New York City; I grew up in Westchester and driving into Manhattan as a kid, it appeared before me like a cast-iron Emerald City." He's also been captivated by the city's infrastructure and industrial-age expansion, which coincided with Roseland's heyday. "I was influenced by the old Max Fleischer 'Popeye' cartoons – those scenes of city life are fascinating Depression era creations that I'm obsessed with visually … maybe this poster shows the future and they've built up New York City with dams and aqueducts to keep out the hurricanes and rising tides."
The poster's first layer is a pewter metallic with a cold, silver gray, and the next layer is the same silvery tone as the paper but acts as a highlight. The line art is a grayed-down black with a touch of blue mixed in. "It's an effective use of three colors because they overlap, creating a fourth color, and I trapped the paper's color, so it makes for a fifth tonality," Welker explained. "It feels very New York, sort of York Peppermint Pattie, wintry – the vibe of this January is gray, but optimistic. I wanted that to come across."