Died Young, Stayed Pretty

A film by Eileen Yaghoobian

“Died Young, Stayed Pretty considers a subculture acutely aware of its own obsolescence: artists committed to the design, hand printing and stapled-to-a-telephone-pole distribution of rock posters. They are resigned to their marginalization in a culture where the cutting edge of marketing-and music-has mostly gone digital.” —The New York Times

Director Eileen Yaghoobian in person with special guests Mark Greenberg (of The Coctails), poster artist Mat Daly, Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi (Sonnenzimmer), Keith Herzik, Steve Walters (Screwball press), and poster collector Ron Vinion.

Died Young, Stayed Pretty is a candid look at the underground poster culture in North America. This unique documentary examines the creative spirit that drives these indie graphic artists. They pick through the dregs of America’s schizophrenic culture and piece them back together. What you end up with is a caricature of the black and bloated heart that pulses greed through the US economy. The artists push further into the pulp to grab the attention of passersby, plastering art that’s both vulgar and intensely visceral onto the gnarled surfaces of the urban landscape. The film gives us intimate look at some of the giants of this modern subculture. Outside of their own circle, they’re virtually unknown. But within their ranks they make up an army of bareknuckle brawlers, publicly arguing the aesthetic merits of octopus imagery and hairy 70s porn stars. They’ve created their own visual language for describing the spotty underbelly of western civilization and they’re not shy about throwing it in the face of polite society. Along the way, they manage to create posters that are strikingly obscene, unflinchingly blasphemous and often quite beautiful. Yaghoobian shows these artists for what they are: the vivisectionists of America’s morbidly obese consumer culture.


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