Potatohead People Japan Tour

28 February ● 3 mins read ● 5 images

This was a really fun project from last summer. A label that I've worked with before reached out to originally have me help them sort some contacts for tour dates and it snowballed into me organizing a 3-city tour in Tokyo, Shizuoka & Osaka, doing the poster design, as well as hand-stamped 7" record labels.

The poster design was based off this matchbox that I had saved since I first arrived in Japan. It had been sitting in a drawer for several years, and I never did anything with it, but felt like some bit of ephemera that was meant to be kept. The pattern on the two-tone box made it this amazing little matchbox, and while drafting Showa-inspired design ideas for the poster, I remembered it. I knew that I wanted to try riso printing for the final physical poster so I sketched the original concept out with only two colors. Instead of simply using the kanji that were on the actual object, I drew katakana that says 'Potatohead People' on the face of the matchbox (actually, it's backwards on this final due to second guessing myself on vertical orientation type, so it reads 'People Potatohead'...we live and we learn) and 'Bastard Jazz' on the side (the label name).

In researching Showa era designs, I noticed lots of spray gradients, or gradients that looked as such due to their printing or photo process. I incorporated some of this by making a bunch of different texture experiments with spray paint and paper outside of my apartment. I only ended up using a limited amount of what I created, but sometimes you've got to get out the options first before paring things down.

After I had laid everything out and set the type in Photoshop, I had to research riso printing processes and found this manual to be really helpful: https://issuu.com/lieselloplop/docs/riso_guide_partisan_2018

I separated my two colors and made grey scale versions of them to be used at the riso printing shop: http://ira.tokyo/riso/ . The owner of the shop was really helpful, and very laidback (they have a great DIY / punk kinda vibe in there). Due to lack of time, he printed my first run based on my requests. For the second run, he showed me how to work the machine and just let me do my thing for the time I had reserved. The whole process is super quick, and great for achieving a unique print quality at an affordable price.

All in all, the label, artist and I were really happy with the finished product. I even made some prints reversing the colors, in addition to some versions of just the matchbox (sans text) to use as wall decoration for the Tokyo event.

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About Chad

Chad Fischer

I'm an illustrator in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo-based illustrator with a unique blend of styles who specializes in hand-drawn work and hand type.

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