Aaron Cometbus is well-known for his writing and his bands, but his distinctive Xerox-style artwork hasn’t gotten it deserves. His first official art show happened at 1-2-3-4-Go Records in Oakland through the end of February. The show displayed his flyers art, record art and personal archives. It also showcased among others a barely-seen innovation of flyer for a club’s last show, with photos of and word-bubble quotes from regulars about its importance.
The message behind his artwork is more than manipulations and intricate patterning. It’s the right of flyering as a freedom of speech for the underprivileged.
His working methods have always been fascinating. He used Kodak IM-40 for halftones and reversals; no one could ever achieve the same effect on the same machine. Some tricks are hinted at this show by revealing different stages of work.
Unlike a conventional art show, nearly all of the pieces are photocopies and none are for sale. Xeroxing or silk-screening became an integral part in his creative process. Without that final step, to him the work feels incomplete which is why copies are showcased rather than the original cut and paste.