One of the classic traditions following alongside the annual Dally in the Alley street fair is its poster, as each year a different local artist is commissioned to draw it up. This year’s was created by classic Detroit rock poster and fantasy artist Carl Lundgren. “It’s a great honor,” he says, to be next in line. Other Dally posters have been produced by fellow rock poster enthusiasts Mark Arminski and Gary Grimshaw, local musician/artist Ron Zakrin and famed tattoo artist Mark Heggie.
“I kind of retired when I left high school, and from that point on I just did what I wanted my whole life.” As a commercial artist, Lundgren was able to effectively market himself in the 1960s by producing posters for concert promoters like Russ Gibb. “A lot of the bands weren’t really big name bands then, they were just starting out. And actually they were popular with a kind of youth culture—the hippies.” Some of this cultural history can be revisited by perusing his array of posters from the Grande Ballroom days, where bands like Pink Floyd, The Who and The Grateful Dead came through on their way to the top.
Lundgren spent a number of years living in New York City, California and several places in between, where he was able to explore his love for science fiction by creating book covers and fine fantasy paintings, together with his wife Michele’s profound motivation and assistance. “I couldn’t do anything without her help,” he says. “She’s been my muse forever.” The couple has been together an impressive 43 years.
By early next year, Lundgren will release a 200-page collection of his poster work (his 3rd self-produced book). Later this month he will be conducting a workshop on the art business in the lobby of his home studio.
“The artist’s community is everything. I never found it anywhere else in any place I lived…. We’ve been everywhere and done everything and we love Detroit the best. We came back here, and it’s kinda crazy because everybody thinks this is a hellhole, but if you’re an artist… it’s kinda great.”
Lundgren’s work will be showcased at this year’s Dally in the Alley, Funky Ferndale Art Fair and Detroit FanFare at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn. View the goods at carllundgren.com, and for workshop info contact email@example.com.