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David Singer

Born:
Quakertown, Pennsylvania 1941

Biography

David Singer grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch country, where he was exposed to antiques and folk art. Another influence on his work, perhaps related to the hex signs of folk art, was his childhood interest in geometric forms. Although Singer had little formal art training, his polished presentation and prodigious output made him one of the most respected poster artists emerging in the late 1960s in San Francisco.

Not initially interested in making posters, Singer assembled a portfolio of collages that he envisioned as "greeting cards or something." His work was rejected by most of the publishers in San Francisco before gaining immediate acceptance from Bill Graham, a dance-concert promoter for the Fillmore Auditorium. During the Fillmore era, from 1969 to 1971, Singer created more posters for Graham than any other artist did, notably the double-size final poster evoking the Fillmore experience. Even after the Fillmore closed in 1971, Singer continued to create posters commemorating special events sponsored by Graham. To a great extent, Singer was a transitional rock-poster artist; his works possessed a refinement, even a polish that would dominate the 1970s rock world. During that decade he produced significant posters for the Rolling Stones, the Who, and Santana.

Singer's posters are notable for his use of collage, incorporating thousands of images clipped from magazines spanning several decades. He developed a format that included a stunning variety of lettering styles, applying them in close relation to the theme or subject of a poster.

Therese Thau Heyman Posters American Style (New York and Washington, D.C.: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., in association with the National Museum of American Art, 1998)