Luke Drozd, born in Derby and now living in London. As a child, he spent hours in his room listening to records and scribbling away, and then discovered punk and began making music and artwork for his own band. He went on to go and study Fine Art in Leeds which had an “amazing DIY music and art scene”.
Luke and his good friend, Drew Millward, began putting on gigs with some other friends and then started a small record label called Birdwar. They drew the posters for the shows, which led to others asking them if they could design their posters too. 13+ years later, they are still asking and now Luke “accidentally has a career”.
He is best known for making screen-printed posters for a range of band and comedians, but then in his spare time finds himself creating sculptures, writing short fiction, performing as part of Reet Maff’l, and organising exhibitions as part of 38b Projects with his partner. “Anything to block out that nagging feeling that it is all pointless and one day I will be dead”, he laughs.
With that in mind, we ask him what some of his highlights have been over the years. “In terms of my illustration work, designing a series prints and other merch for Adam Buxton has been great. He’s a comedy hero of mine so it’s been a genuine honour,” he reflects.
“Reet Maff’l did a 6-hour long performance last year which was also fun, in a ‘that made me feel weird and I don’t want to ever do it again’ sort of way. Then, finally the fact that the world of gig posters continues to allow me to travel to places around the world to show my work and talk about it to different folk, also remains a constant highlight”.
Like all careers, it doesn’t matter how long you’re in an industry for, challenges will always come and go along the way. “Every new job feels like a challenge to me,” he tells us “I like to try and push myself and find new ways of working that suit each job and this can sometimes feel unnecessarily stressful, but these are things that unlock new creative avenues”. He overcomes challenges by making, “assuming that through the process something will leap out”, and he does this through either drawings, collages, or writing. Allowing himself “the room to make mistakes and to do things unexpected”.
There are moments throughout of lives which leave a significant impact on who we grew up to become or what path we decide to go down. Whether that be a single piece of advice given by a respected friend or a type of ‘penny-drop’ moment, and for Luke, it was the latter. “As a teenager going to punk gigs, the realisation that you could put out your own records, make your own posters and write your own zines blew my mind”, he explains.
“It sounds so obvious but I had no idea that anyone could make a record… that it didn’t take thousands of pounds and a record deal”. This realisation alone changed everything for him, and helped him to grasp the idea that he “didn’t need someone else’s permission to make things”.
This is part of our Gigs & Graphics series which is focusing on artists who are participating in the year’s Gigs & Graphics International Print Exhibition, facilitated by Northern Lights, Sound City and Toucan Tango.
Luke will be amongst the artists participating in the exhibition and you can view his final bespoke print at the Gigs & Graphics Music and Arts Symposium Exhibitions and Marketplace, which you can find out more about here.