(USA, 2009, 95 minutes, color, DVD)
Died Young, Stayed Pretty is a candid look at the underground poster culture in North America. This unique documentary examines the creative spirit that drives these indie graphic artists. They pick through the dregs of America’s schizophrenic culture and piece them back together. What you end up with is a caricature of the black and bloated heart that pulses greed through the US economy. The artists push further into the pulp to grab the attention of passersby, plastering art that’s both vulgar and intensely visceral onto the gnarled surfaces of the urban landscape. The film gives us intimate look at some of the giants of this modern subculture. Outside of their own circle, they’re virtually unknown. But within their ranks they make up an army of bareknuckle brawlers, publicly arguing the aesthetic merits of octopus imagery and hairy 70s porn stars. They’ve created their own visual language for describing the spotty underbelly of western civilization and they’re not shy about throwing it in the face of polite society. Along the way, they manage to create posters that are strikingly obscene, unflinchingly blasphemous and often quite beautiful. Yaghoobian shows these artists for what they are: the vivisectionists of America’s morbidly obese consumer culture.
“Raw — an outlaw movie about outlaw artists.”- Peter Rainer, NPR
“A captivating artifact of an era.” –The Village Voice
“The Citizen Kane of underground rock poster art documentaries” –LA Weekly
Eileen Yaghoobian is an Iranian-born Canadian filmmaker Eileen Yaghoobian has spent the past four years shooting her first, full-length documentary film Died Young, Stayed Pretty, a candid look at the underground poster culture in North America. Yaghoobian’s formal training in filmmaking, 3D animation, theatre, and photography provided a foundation for her diverse career as a director, production designer, and set decorator for numerous independent productions in Canada and the United States. Yaghoobian’s short films and videos have screened at national and international festivals as well as art exhibitions. Her still photography can be found in the permanent collections at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; and Art Bank: Canada Council for the Arts, Ottawa. She recently directed Tennesse Williams’ play The Night of the Iguana in Boston. Yaghoobian has just completed the prestigious Lincoln Center Director’s Lab 2008 and is in the midst of developing a feature narrative for her next feature film.
Robert Newman is a consultant for print and online publications. He has been the design director of Vibe, Details, Fortune, Real Simple, Entertainment Weekly, New York, The Village Voice, and Guitar World. He was the editor of the Seattle music magazine, The Rocket from 1982-86. Check out selection of his band posters here.
Joe Newton: Both artist and art director Joe has worked both sides of the table. As an art director he has assigned hundreds of illustrations for Rolling Stone and Seattle’s The Stranger. As an illustrator his work has appeared in publications like the New York Times, Vibe and Nickelodeon magazine, and for clients like Sony Music and Publicis. His illustrations have been honored by American Illustration, Communications Arts, and Print magazine. His design work for The Stranger has been recognized by the Society of Publication Designers, and the Society of Illustrators awarded him for his art direction of a piece by Nathan Fox.