Abandoned at birth, Emek has lived a difficult, often tragic life. After being forced to work for years as a child-laborer in a plutonium mine, he won a rare mining scholarship to attend art school. Little did he know, his troubles were only just beginning. In art school, he fell in with a rough and dangerous crowd. Upon graduating most of them pursued lives of crime as freelance graphic artists, and were never heard from again. For Emek, the only hope of escaping the fate that befell his doomed peers -- advertising -- was to become a rock 'n' roll artist.
Emek now lives in many worlds. His art shows it. Born a decade after the '60s, he was nevertheless influenced by '60s culture and counter-culture. Emek was raised in an environment that supported his crazy artistic aspirations as both his parents were artists, too. He grew up listening to their music, their ideals, and their divorce. Yet, he is also a product of his own "Who, Me?" generation.
Emek graduated with a Major in Art, and a Minor in Unemployment. His first poster commission was done immediately after the L.A. riots/uprising of 1992, for a unity rally and concert held on Martin Luther King Day. The poster was a success and from then on, Emek was hooked on the art form.
"I appreciate the flexibility this medium allows me because the bands generally give me total creative freedom (as long as I include the show info). I am allowed to dip into the recesses of my own imagination and see what spills out onto the page. I am my own art director so I can experiment with different concepts and styles to keep things fresh. Today's disposable culture paves the way for tomorrow's collectible nostalgia... I'm just trying to keep it interesting."
In Emek's posters, psychedelic '60s imagery collides with '90s post-industrial iconography. To this collision of the organic vs. the mechanical worlds he adds humor, social commentary and fantasy. Even in the smallest details there are messages. All of Emek's artwork is originally hand-drawn and then hand- silkscreened for each actual concert or event, usually in limited editions of around 300.
You can order one of these before he becomes really famous, or really homeless. So far, his unique visual style has graced music posters on a diverse musical spectrum, from Blues legend B.B. King to the Beastie Boys. He has painted album covers for Neil Young and Pearl Jam as well as for many punk and alternative bands. He was invited to exhibit at the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame "History of Rock Posters" exhibition and has been featured in national and international magazines. As you read this, his work is permanently displayed in Hard Rock Cafes all over.
|Emek's typically detailed artwork for Erykah Badu|
Growing up, my parents were friends with a lot of artists and musicians, so I went to a lot of performances at a young age without thinking it was a big deal. Jackson Browne, Peter Paul and Mary... it was fun to listen to the music and hang out backstage.
The first concert I went to on my own, I snuck out to see The Descendents.
LA has been very good to me, and there is still so much to immerse yourself in there. But once I realized that I could do my art from anywhere with internet and Fedex, especially once we had kids, I wanted to move somewhere with less traffic, less pollution, more greenery, more water, a large backyard, etc. The young energy of Portland, lots of artists and musicians and families, feels very positive. I still visit or do business in LA about 4 times a year or more.