In the 10 years that he’s been making concert posters, Justin Helton has circled all around the legacy of the Grateful Dead, with posters for Phil Lesh and Dead and Co., the new all-star tribute featuring Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann—not to mention work for the band’s spiritual heirs like Phish, moe., and String Cheese Incident.
So it’s fitting that Helton, a former designer for AC Entertainment and head of Status Serigraph on West Jackson Avenue, has been named the 2016 artist in residence for Dave’s Picks, a series of official live recordings from the Dead’s archives. That means he’ll design the cover artwork for all four Dave’s Picks releases scheduled for this year.
“My number one criteria is to make something that I not only think is worthy of the Dead and their legacy but something that I am proud of as well,” Helton says in an online interview at dead.net. “Since each release is based around a different show, the time, place and venue of each show go into consideration. Being able to create something that hopefully feels like a fun representation of that night is what I go for while trying to make the art feel like something that fits well within the Dead’s visual history.”
Dave’s Picks, named after Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux, have been issued since 2012. The recordings are available as CD sets from the band’s website. The first release of 2016, featuring a July 1974 set from Fresno, Calif., will be available on Feb. 1.
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