Chuck Sperry is certainly a favorite of mine when it comes to modern poster artists. His work is astoundingly beautiful, incredibly recognizable, and of course, collectible. Sperry has been creating gig art since the 1980s and has become one of the most popular poster artists of the modern era. He is regularly cited as a favorite among collectors other than myself as well.
Chuck Sperry’s Career
Just like most modern poster artist, Chuck Sperry got his start creating punk flyers. His career began in Columbia, Missouri, and he moved to San Francisco in 1989. Five years later, he was commissioned to create a poster for a Bill Graham Presents show at the Fillmore Auditorium. That same year, Sperry started Psychic Sparkplug, a rock poster printing company. Fellow artists Ron Donovan and Orion Landau joined him in this venture. This team became the first to use metallic inks in their posters. In 1995, legendary psychedelic poster artist Gary Grimshaw commissioned Psychic Sparkplug to print one of his posters for a poster exhibition, which he then invited them to attend.
In 1997, Psychic Sparkplug disbanded. Sperry and Donovan formed a new printing company called Firehouse Kustom Rockart, which designed and printed posters until 2012. They created hundreds of posters for some of the most popular artists of all time. Each poster was limited edition and is a collector’s item by today’s standards. In 2012, the partnership between Sperry and Donovan ended. Sperry renamed Firehouse Hangar 18 and relocated the company to Oakland. Here he usually creates fine art for museums all over the world. However, he still regularly creates amazing posters.
Collecting Chuck Sperry Posters
Chuck Sperry’s artwork is very recognizable. One of the things that makes it identifiable is his frequent use of muses from Greek Mythology, something he has been doing since around 2010. He also regularly makes use of metallic gold and silver ink. Flowers also regularly appear on Sperry’s posters. Each of his posters is printed in a limited quantity, making them quite valuable. These beautiful posters are perfect to have hanging in your home.
Today, Sperry’s prints sell for anywhere from a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars at auction. They are regularly listed on eBay and make appearances in auctions from various poster sources, such as Psychedelic Art Exchange. Sperry creates a large amount of artwork for jam bands but has designed posters for a wide variety of musical acts. These include the likes of Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, and Widespread Panic to name a few. These posters are valuable now, and will only increase in value in the near future. I highly recommend getting your hands on some of his art and adding it to your collection ASAP!