The Byrd Show — 40 Years of Art & Design

On June 9, 2011, in Events, by Dire Wolf

The Byrd Show: 40 Years of Art & Design

The Byrd Show: 40 Years of Art & Design

June 11 — July 22, 2011

The Brand Library Art Gal­leries is proud to present The Byrd Show: 40 Years of Art & Design, the first West Coast ret­ro­spec­tive of renowned artist and graphic designer David Edward Byrd’s career.

The Rolling Stones. The Grate­ful Dead. Jimi Hen­drix. Jef­fer­son Air­plane. Stephen Sond­heim. Stephen Schwartz. Alan Menken, Andrew Lloyd Web­ber. These are just a selec­tion of the rock ‘n roll and musi­cal the­ater greats that David Byrd has worked with over the years. With a career span­ning more than four decades, David’s work is firmly entrenched as part of our visual cul­ture. Who does not rec­og­nize the famous “Fol­lies” poster (the orig­i­nal is owned by The Smith­son­ian), or the Jimi Hen­drix Expe­ri­ence poster, ranked by Bill­board as the 8th best rock con­cert poster of all time!

David is a mas­ter of tech­nique and employs many media to cre­ate his eclec­tic work, includ­ing water­color, pen­cil and col­ored pen­cil, acrylics, ink, trans­par­ent dyes, graphite, chalk, air­brush and col­lage. Though he makes use of dig­i­tal tools, hap­pily replac­ing tedious processes like Letrafilm color trans­fer, he always starts his work by hand. Detailed, lush, and expres­sive, his out­put includes posters, book, mag­a­zine and album cov­ers— he received a Grammy Award for album design along with sev­eral other promi­nent illus­tra­tors for The Who’s rock opera Tommy.

The Brand Library is thrilled to be host­ing this momen­tous exhi­bi­tion of more than sev­enty works; as David him­self says “at the leg­endary Brand Library Art Gal­leries, I will be cel­e­brat­ing not only my first ret­ro­spec­tive exhi­bi­tion in Los Ange­les but also my 70th year on Planet Earth and my 50th year as an artist. I feel very blessed to be able to share my long jour­ney as an artist with you all.”

A poster designed by David for the exhi­bi­tion will also be pro­duced and avail­able to the pub­lic. For more about the artist David Edward Byrd visit his web­site.

Open­ing Reception

Sat­ur­day, June 11, 6–9 pm



“Byrd Songs”. Musi­cal direc­tion by Daniel Fal­tus. Sat­ur­day, July 16, 7 pm. Lead­ing Los Ange­les vocal­ists cel­e­brate musi­cal the­ater mas­ter­pieces by way of the Byrd posters.


The Byrd Show A visual talk by artist David Byrd with anec­do­tal com­men­taries on his work. Sat­ur­day, June 25, 3 pm.

Bom­bast & Bal­ly­hoo: The Power of the Poster, 1800–1950
A visual talk by artist David Byrd on the his­tory of the poster. Sat­ur­day, July 9, 3 pm.



David Edward Byrd earned a BFA in paint­ing and design and an MFA in paint­ing and print­mak­ing from the Carnegie Insti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy in Pitts­burgh (now Carnegie-Mellon Uni­ver­sity). Post-graduation, David co-founded with Peter Nevard (another Carnegie grad­u­ate) the multi-media artists col­lec­tive Fan­tasy Unlim­ited on a 110 acre farm in New York. David’s career as an illus­tra­tor took off in 1967 when he began work­ing for Bill Gra­ham, the rock ‘n roll impre­sario and con­cert pro­moter. Busy design­ing posters for the Fill­more East, David began cre­at­ing for shows both on and off Broad­way. In 1971 David’s first exhi­bi­tion at the Tri­ton Gallery for Inter­na­tional The­atre Posters was a huge suc­cess. From 1971 to 1979 David taught illus­tra­tion, life draw­ing, and air­brush tech­nique at Pratt Insti­tute and The School of Visual Arts in New York.

David may be one of the few peo­ple who can say that the band Van Halen changed their life; in 1981 he moved to Los Ange­les to cre­ate the book and ancil­lary graph­ics for their Fair Warn­ing Tour, thus launch­ing his West Coast career. In 1984 David became the art direc­tor of The Advo­cate, a peri­od­i­cal devoted to gay and les­bian issues. In three years he trans­formed it from a tabloid news­pa­per to the stan­dard glossy mag­a­zine for­mat that we know today. Two of David’s more notable free­lance projects dur­ing these years include fif­teen book cov­ers for Dorothy Say­ers’ Lord Peter Wim­sey mys­ter­ies for Hearst Pub­li­ca­tions and all the design and draw­ings for The New York Times Man­hat­tan Col­or­ing Book with text by Pulitzer-Prize win­ning archi­tec­tural critic Paul Gold­berger. David’s con­cept for the mys­tery nov­els was to cre­ate genre set piece paint­ings that clev­erly include clues to the plot, all with the appro­pri­ate Edwar­dian veneer. These paint­ings are remark­able for their beauty, atten­tion to detail and accu­rate depic­tion of Edwar­dian interiors.

In 1991 David was hired as Senior Illus­tra­tor at Warner Bros. Stu­dio newly formed Con­sumer Prod­ucts divi­sion. In this role he lead a large depart­ment of artists who cre­ated illus­tra­tions, back­grounds and style guides for all the Looney Tunes & Hanna-Barbera char­ac­ters, as well as posters and style guides for Warner Bros. fea­ture films. David says that “being [at Warner Bros.] was the most intense art expe­ri­ence I ever had: for 11 years it seemed that I never stopped draw­ing and paint­ing except to eat and sleep.” His last three years at Warner Bros. he spent work­ing on the Harry Pot­ter style guides, for which he did hun­dreds of draw­ings of every­thing from Diagon Alley to the Hip­pogriff. Since leav­ing Warner Bros. in 2002, David has con­tin­ued to free­lance and enjoys life in Los Ange­les and his per­sonal and pro­fes­sional part­ner­ship with artist Jolino Beserra.


Brand Library Art Gal­leries
1601 West Moun­tain Street
Glen­dale, Cal­i­for­nia 91201–1200

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