Culture & Arts

Mike Joyce's Posters: Where Punk Meets Swiss Design


Mike Joyce is a graphic designer based in New York, and he's been creating an incredible poster series for nerds who enjoy the convergence of punk music and Swiss modernism. I'm going out on a limb here and guessing this includes some of you, dear readers. I asked Mike to answer some questions via e-mail, so check out his responses below, and keep scrolling for a slideshow of the posters.

HuffPost Arts: How did you get started with this project and will it ever end?

Mike Joyce: I grew up listening to punk rock and hardcore in the mid to late 80's and went to a lot of those shows -- mostly at old VFW halls and in the back of seedy bars. All of those shows were promoted by these raw anti-art flyers that I was really inspired by. I even designed some myself when my friends opened up for Bad Religion (I know, sounds all too pathetic in a High Fidelity kind of way). And then, in the early 90's, I studied graphic design under the great Swiss modernist Fred Troller (Fred hated hardcore flyers by the way). So I've always been inspired by those two contrasting art forms. And while both punk and Swiss modernism share the same stripped down and minimal approach, their content and message were mostly polar opposites. I did a few designs just as a fun exercise for myself and six months and a carpal tunnel diagnose later, here I am at 220 posters. And no, this project will never end. I see no possible way of ever growing tired of this or becoming too busy for this, or running out of geometric shapes to put on 45-degree angles.

HuffPost Arts: Do you ever get confused for Mike Joyce, the Smiths' drummer? Have you ever taken advantage of this fact?

Mike Joyce: I really hope that one day I can meet Mike Joyce (the Smith's drummer) and thank him for getting me in with all the Goth girls in high school. It was like an instant-cred I.D. I could pull out at any time. Plus, how can you not love a guy who sued Morrissey for a million bucks -- and won?!

HuffPost Arts: You include really disparate bands in this poster series: Suicidal Tendencies, The Gun Club, and The Bouncing Souls, to name a few. Are all of these bands under the "punk" umbrella or are you fudging a bit? Do you ever receive hate mail from die-hard punks about such weighty issues?

Mike Joyce: Good call, but you're forgetting Weezer and, gulp, No Doubt! I get to bend the rules with the "indie rock" clause I put in there. And I think it's fun to see that bands like the Goo Goo Dolls started out as a messy, thrash-punk band opening up for the Dead Milkmen. But yeah, I've definitely received my fair share of hate mail already. Punks and fans of the music are VERY protective of it -- and I think that's cool to a point. There was a time (pre-internet and pre-Nirvana) when underground music was just that, and you felt like you were in a special club for discovering it. On the other hand, it's pretty ironic how conservative a small sector of that scene can be sometimes. I pay way more attention to all the positivity Swissted has generated and it makes it a lot easier to ignore the haters when you get nice emails from Jawbreaker, Bad Religion, Sub-Pop, Amphetamine Reptile, Angry Samoans, Epitaph, Kill Rock Stars and so on. More cred for ya. (Ed note: Cred to be used on Goth girls, perhaps?)

HuffPost Arts: Do you collect concert posters? If so, what is one of your favorite posters and why?

Mike Joyce: It's funny, I actually collect vintage graphic design posters. I have original posters from Armin Hofmann, Josef Muller-Brockmann, Emil Ruder, Lester Beall, Paul Rand, and others. Not only do I love the minimalist design but they are massive in scale which makes their impact on a wall that much greater. Most of the punk and hardcore posters and flyers were just black and white, photocopied pages. And although I love and am inspired by these little works of art, I don't know if I want to hang a wrinkled, letter-size image of Ronald Reagan dressed as a circus monkey [on my wall]. Wait, that actually sounds pretty awesome.

HuffPost Arts: Will a part of you always be seventeen and angry at the world? (Alternate question: how did you first get involved with punk music and what was its effect on you?)

Mike Joyce: I like the first question better. Yes, there will always be my angry 17-year-old self burning in my soul. Who wants to lose that? It's like when I put the Replacements' "Tim" on, it's still the most perfect and beautiful album ever made -- not even up for debate. And that's because I discovered them/it when I was like 15 and bored out of my skull in Upstate New York. That kind of inspiration stays with you forever.

So what do you think of the slideshow below, readers -- genius or sacrilege? Let us know in the comments section.

Husker Du

Punk Posters

Before You Go

Popular in the Community