Paint for life
Show posters by Jeremy Bruneel are more than ads, they’re brand-new, meticulously created paintings.
“My world is a little bit different than the rest of the poster world,” says Canadian artist Jeremy Bruneel.
Bruneel’s hand-painted posters for local shows in London, Ontario—including at go-to indie venue Call The Office and past Side Door gigs by John K. Samson and Eric Bachmann—are richly detailed and vibrantly coloured, incorporating faces and animals, instruments and natural elements. (See larger galleries of his work here and here.)
He could use readily available digital illustration tools, but “I don’t wanna work in two or four colours, I wanna paint,” he says. “My posters are all hand-painted and the final product is a printed poster, and that just happens to be printed.”
Bruneel, who’s been an artist since high school, spent years based in Vancouver, working as an editorial illustrator for newspapers and magazines like The Globe and Mail, Reader’s Digest, and Rolling Stone. That work started tapering off about 10 years ago—“as magazines started to lower their budgets”—and when he moved to London he connected to the music community and started painting album covers and posters.
“I stayed doing physical painting and I guess that’s why I’m still busy,” says Bruneel, who notes that the bulk of his living comes from portrait commissions of pets and people. “There’s a lot of illustrators that paint, for sure, but maybe the appeal is similar to why vinyl is still popular: If you’re gonna seek out something vintage or authentic, there’s a small amount of people that will seek out physical artwork.”
Each painting takes 40 hours. “It’s a crazy amount of time put into it, it’s probably not a smart idea,” says Bruneel. “But it has afforded me a career post-editorial illustration.” Occasionally, if rushed, he’ll use digital fonts, but usually the only time a computer is involved in his process is in the creation of a digital file, which he also makes himself. “It’s hard to trust a third party to scan your artwork and make sure the colours are right.”
Some bands or promoters will buy the original painting from Bruneel. The artists in particular are often shocked by its existence, he says, laughing. “They’re like 'WHAT?! ‘I would never hang a picture of myself up, but I’ll give it to my mom for sure.’ It’s always a weird funny crapshoot. It’s almost a secret process.”
Written by Tara Thorne
Tara Thorne is a writer, editor, and pop culture critic in Halifax.