Bottom of the Poles: Gig Posters and Other Works was exhibited at Definitely Superior Art Gallery in Thunder Bay, Ontario. This exhibition featured 8 original ink/watercolor illustrations and 12 digital gig poster reproductions, and shared a gallery with a parallel gig poster/fine art exhibition by fellow Montreal artist Tyler Rauman. Below are a sample of some of the illustrations featured in the show. To see samples of Waito’s poster work, click here.
Bottom of the Poles: Gig Posters and Other Works Adam Waito is a Montreal-based illustrator and musician who has toured internationally with several of Canada’s important emerging bands. In the past several years his playful and pop culturally savvy gig poster art has become a ubiquitous addition to the visual landscape of urban Montreal, winking colourfully from the bottoms of the city’s electrical poles. Employing bold lines and bare-bones text, Waito’s high-impact concert posters are designed to grab and communicate to the pedestrian, and are typically produced rather quickly. Though Waito’s functional approach to individual posters doesn’t appear concerned with a grandiose mission to elevate the ethereal, disposable concert poster into the realm of art proper, when it is seen as a body of work, his art succeeds at just that. Waito’s immense and ever-growing accumulation of poster artwork reveals a deeply personal world of idiosyncratic cultural affinities, running in-gags, recurring characters, and an ongoing exploration and celebration of artifice, memory, and ugliness—a psychedelic and comedic narrative unfolding itself quite literally in the streets. Conjuring 80s and 90s pop cultural artifacts and forcing them to bend to his whims, Waito’s work represents a celebration of mass culture interpenetrating with personal narratives, recalling the fun and grotesqueness of direct-to-VHS horror movies, cartoons, skateboard art and other popular visual forms that coloured his youth. The result is a rich and compelling collection that is often nostalgic, and always exuberant, witty, and contemporary. Waito was born in Manitouwadge, raised in Thunder Bay, and relocated to Montreal in 2003.
For all their simplicity they are rich works, stronger in impact than the average political cartoon and resembling traditional woodcuts that have an association with dignity that is a bit jarring for the bizarre subject matter. – Duncan Weller, The Chronicle Journal