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David Singer
Birth Date: 
Birth Place: 
Quakertown, Penna.
Best known for his Surrealistic collage illustrations for rock concert posters created from 1969 to 1971, David Singer has continued to design graphic art for posters, logos and album and book covers to the present day. Born in Quakertown, Pennsylvania in 1941, Singer was fascinated by the “Pennsylvania Dutch” signs and symbols around him on furniture, buildings and textiles. A schoolteacher taught him how to use a compass to draw the six-pointed “hex” sign. As an eighth grader he won a competition to design a seal for a new Quakertown high school, which he then attended. His first posters were for high school class elections. From an early age he collected pages from magazines, eventually building a huge collection of images. After graduation from high school Singer enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and ultimately was stationed on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, working as a radio operator on a radar ship. After his discharge in 1964 he settled in San Francisco, working at various jobs and ultimately working as an assistant to a sales promotion manager for an advertising company. He became interested in graphic art, but was unsuccessful in gaining admission to two commercial art schools in Los Angeles or in finding work in commercial design in San Francisco. He quit his job, began browsing through his collection of magazine images and taught himself collage by trial and error. By May of 1969 he had developed a portfolio of collages. Encouraged by Victor Moscoso (b. 1936) and other San Francisco poster artists, Singer showed his portfolio to concert promoter Bill Graham (1931-1991). Singer recalled that Graham studied the works in silence for twenty minutes, and then commissioned Singer to create twelve posters. Singer’s collages, influenced by Max Ernst (1891-1976), René Magritte (1898-1967) and other Surrealists, and the Art Deco and Art Nouveau lettering on his posters revolutionized poster art, turning it away from the psychedelic style of Moscoso and Wes Wilson (b. 1937). Singer had designed 66 posters for Graham when he designed the poster commemorating the closing of Fillmore West in 1971 with a double-size poster (BG-287). Over the following years he designed eight more posters for special events promoted by Graham. Singer’s career during the following decades has included creating posters and album covers for several notable musicians and bands, including Carlos Santana (b. 1947), the Rolling Stones and The Who. His artistic technique has evolved from cutting and pasting physical images and hand drawing lettering to creating collages and lettering using computerized design software. Although he has designed art for a wide variety of applications, much of his art has been for the music business and many of his recent posters have been for the band Moonalice. Singer lives and works in Petaluma, Calif. (TNB 1/2016) Selected bibliography: Grushkin, Paul. The Art of Rock: Posters from Presley to Punk. New York: Abbeville Press, 1987. Lemke, Gayle and Jacaeber Kastor. The Art of the Fillmore: The Poster Series 1966-1971. Pp. 184-203. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1999. Medeiros, Walter P. From Frisco with Love: An Introduction to the Dance Concert Poster Art. San Francisco Rock Poster Art. San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1976.