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Pro-Boners

If you weren’t smart enough to swipe the J Penry posters from barroom walls when you saw them, you now have a chance to repent for your lack of foresight.
BH
Κείμενο BEVERLY HAMES
15.6.12

Even if you don’t know his name, if you’ve lived in Brooklyn for more than a few hours you probably have seen J Penry’s art. From pet portraits to concert flyers, his art adorns everything from t-shirts to albums to a few bodies in the form of tattoos. If you weren’t smart enough to swipe his posters from barroom walls when you saw them, now you have a chance to score some classic Penry images and repent for your lack of foresight.

This Saturday Secret Project Robot is hosting an exhibit of 24” x 36” posters culled from commissioned works Penry created over the past 11 years. Each of the 15 images will be available for purchase in the form of prints limited to 25 each. And because Penry knows how the throw a good party, the opening is gonna be a ripper. Featuring DJs Justine D and LCD Sound System’s Max Wowch and Nancy Wang. Plus Brooklyn’s most charming hardcore band, Violent Bullshit, will perform.

We caught up with him and got the lowdown on the show.

VICE: What was the first concert poster/flyer you ever drew?
J Penry: I'm pretty sure it was for a Devendra Banhart performance in Williamsburg. It was at the Charleston when the old captain with the flashlight ran it. I think I got kicked out for not having a beer in my hand.

Your drawings reference a lot of iconic images. What are some of your favorite rock and roll images/artists?
"Steal your Face" by the Dead and "Slip it In" by Black Flag. I like Neil Young’s handwriting a lot too.

Any dream bands you'd like to work with?
Sparks. I'd also like for OFF! to fire Raymond Pettibon and I'll just copy him for a discounted rate.

The show is called "Pro-Boner." Are most of posters in it ones you did for your pals for free?
Some of them, I used to just draw the images and just trust that I'd be paid eventually, no contracts or anything. This show is really about just putting all this work in one place and making it affordable if people wanna own it. It's all limited editions that I'm printing just this one time, then I'm putting all this stuff to bed.

Are you given any directive from the bands or do you pretty much get free reign?
Well it’s usually up to me. Some bands have very specific ideas that they want to see happen. All the Vietnam images were directly from Josh Grubb's brain to my paper. Usually I just flourish a little on their original idea and we meet in the middle. It's always very collaborative.

There are probably too many for a comprehensive list but can you give a sort of "greatest hits" of the bands you've worked with?
The Rapture, The Fiery Furnaces, Love as Laughter, Grizzly Bear, Vietnam, Blood on the Wall, Pyschic Ills, The Boggs, Violent Bullshit, Bubbles, TK Webb, Orchid, Panthers, etc.

You also do a lot of promoting. Give us the lowdown on your Summer Thunder series at Union Pool. It's in its third year, right?
Yes indeed, basically the management, Ryan Sawyer, and myself put together a schedule of free, outdoor Saturday afternoon shows at Union Pool in Williamsburg. Last weekend, Kyp Malone, Thurston Moore, and Eric Copeland played. On June 23rd we have Turing Machine, Midnight Magic, and Violent Bullshit. It runs every other Saturday all summer long.

Pro-Boner opens June 16th and runs through July 4 at Secret Project Robot
389 Melrose, Brooklyn
Opening Reception June 16 from 7-10 pm
Featuring DJs Justine D, Max Wowch, and Nancy Wang plus a performance by Violent Bullshit