Interview with Perry Shall Artist and Collector

Perry Shall does so many different things in connection with his love for rock and roll, it's difficult to put a label on just what it is he does. But whatever he does, he does it with a sense of humor and a rock and roll attitude. He has his own rock band (and plays in others), designs rock apparel, collects rock t-shirts, and is a serious collector of music memorabilia. Let's just say he's an artist and leave it at that.

His artwork includes his own illustrations and paintings, collages, and videos. This is just the short list. He has done design work for Against Me, Pitty Sex, Diarrhea Planet, Modern Baseball, Wavves, and Best Coast.

He has a particular passion for rock t-shirts, which is how he came to our attention at Rocker Tee-Shirts. He is one of the edgiest and most interesting band and concert t-shirt collectors we've come across. We recently interviewed him via email to find out what he's been up to lately:

Rocker Tee-Shirts: When did you begin collecting rock and roll memorabilia?

Perry Shall: When I was about 12-years-old, I discovered a trash bag in our attic that was filled with my dad's old t-shirts from when he was younger. I was immediately hooked and started going to thrift stores with him right away and have been hooked ever since.

Rocker Tee-Shirts: Do you consider yourself primarily a collector or an artist?

Perry Shall: Well, because I do art as a hobby AND a career, I will always consider myself an artist, even though I never felt that comfortable calling myself one. I've been collecting for a long time but it's not something I think about too much. It just happens really. I also find it all to be very connected, too. It's more of something I just do and love doing.

Rocker Tee-Shirts: What role does music play in your personal life? Professional life?

Perry Shall: Well, I play music and have been since I was a kid, I listen to music while I make my art, and pretty much any chance I can. I think it also goes hand in hand with creating. My life is very much about creating art, music, and collecting. They very much define who I am.

Rocker Tee-Shirts: How does your enthusiasm for rock and roll influence your art and your passion for collecting?

Perry Shall: It's just another thing I am passionate about. Rock and Roll and the culture are very much what fuels my art. I think it seems pretty obvious when you look at most of what I do.

Rocker Tee-Shirts: Can you tell us how you began working with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys?

Perry Shall: As far as The Black Keys go, I don't really have anything to say that Dan hasn't said in interviews and what not. He's just taking some time to work on solo material as far as I know. He's done it in the past and is doing it again. I have nothing to do with the Black Keys themselves or have anything I could say about what they do. Read interviews with Dan or watch videos for his comments on that subject. For now, I'll keep working on design stuff for Easy Eye Sound ( Rolling Stone Magazine) and all the other jobs I do constantly.

Rocker Tee-Shirts: What are the best ways to get your work before the public?

Perry Shall: You really just have to put yourself out there, network, and meet people. Introduce yourself to other artists that you like, go to art openings and things like that, and just be in the places you want to show your work at and talk to strangers. I don't really know the proper response because I don't think I do things the proper way, so I can only say what I've done and how it helped me. Not sure if it'll help others though.

Rocker Tee-Shirts: How did you become involved in providing art for album covers? Do you see yourself doing more of this in the coming years?

Perry Shall: Mostly just networking. Playing shows with bands, getting asked to do their artwork, they tell their friends, or other people see it and contact me. It's all about putting yourself out there without being too pushy. It takes a lot of work to get people to give a shit. If you believe in yourself and keep working hard and practicing, it should eventually pay off in some way. Most of all, you have to love doing it. I will most certainly be doing it for the rest of my life I'm sure. There's no reason for that to change. I started working with Dan years ago while working with JEFF The Brotherhood. They're good friends of mine and I used to tour with them and do all their art. Dan produced an album for them and then started having me do some little things for him like the logo to his studio, a guitar strap, etc. Eventually, he called me up to work on the Bombino record he produced and we realized we worked really well together. He took some time to do his band The Arcs and probably some Black Keys stuff, then contacted me to work on the new label and releases for it.

Rocker Tee-Shirts: When did you begin to think you could make a living from what you were drawn to?

Perry Shall: Probably a few years ago, when I had to stop working part-time for a friend because I was too busy with small jobs that took up all my time. It just made me work harder to turn those smaller jobs into bigger ones.

Rocker Tee-Shirts: What do you consider as your best work so far?

Perry Shall: I couldn't really say. As an artist, you'd hope that whatever the next thing you do will be your best work.

Rocker Tee-Shirts: Who do you consider the major influence on your work?

Perry Shall: My favorite artists throughout my life have always been people like R. Crumb, Gary Panter, Warhol, Ed Roth, and probably all the other most obvious answers to this question for someone who makes art like mine. I'm always looking for new influences though. My surroundings are my biggest influences really. When I'm in a thrift store, or flea market, or record stores, or places like that, I'm constantly looking at colors, illustrations, images, and all that for ideas too. That helps.

Rocker Tee-Shirts: What are your plans for the next ten years?

Perry Shall: I try not to think that far ahead besides hopefully doing what I'm doing now but like, making a little more money from it and for bigger artists perhaps.

Rocker Tee-Shirts: Is collecting going to remain something you'll continue to focus on?

Perry Shall: Yeah, like I said it's not really a conscious thing. I definitely focus on it in some ways but it's just something I feel like I have to do. It's such a large part of who I am.

Rocker Tee-Shirts: How do you see yourself developing as an artist?

Perry Shall: I'd like to get better at painting, perspective, life drawing, and overall just keep fine tuning my style.

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