Gary Houston is well known as the “Blues Fest” poster artist of Portland and for his illustration company, Voodoo Catbox. Houston’s posters are handmade using traditional methods like scratchboard illustration or hand cut Rubylith, and then hand pulled.
Since 1995, Houston has humbly operated under the moniker of Voodoo Catbox, a well-known entity in the poster industry. But he is most well known as the signature artist for the Portland Blues Festival, which his unique scratch-board style has become the timeless branding of the festival since 2001. Houston calls the work he does as: hands-on, physical, creative and romantic. “It’s leaving a little bit of history,” Houston told Oregon Music News in 2009.
Besides the Waterfront Blue Festival, Houston has done work for: Oregon Music Hall of Fame, Portland Art Museum, Crystal Ballroom (with Northwest acts like Mel Brown, The Decemberists, Robert Cray, The Dandy Warhols, Sallie Ford and Death Cab For Cutie).
“Inspired by the music and musicians themselves as well as Northwest Native American art, Houston’s work often contains a message and humor, but it wouldn’t be rock and roll without eagles and skulls and flaming guitars,” writes Vortex magazine of Houston’s body of work.
Houston has always been a notable artist of his craft, locally and nationally, doing visual works for such national acts as: Willie Nelson, Ben Harper, Moonalice, Steve Martin, Little Feat, Los Lobos, The Grateful Dead, Social Distortion, David Byrne, The Black Crowes, Wilco, and many others.