Looking into a record shop window can be a disorienting experience, what with all the concert posters staring back at you like punk-rock carnival barkers pleading for your attention. Those graphics, often first encounters with a local musician, communicate something about the act -- or at least seek your attention long enough for you to note the name. And chances are, you've noted the peculiar black-and-white fliers of John Greiner.
At 27, the Avon resident has designed work for most of the city's venues, including the Grog Shop, the Beachland, and Pat's in the Flats. On a slow Monday night at the Southside in Tremont, Greiner pulls up designs on his laptop like a proud father, each one defying typical poster-art clichés, be they big guns or big breasts.
"I make an effort to make fliers a marketing tool as well as a piece of art. But sometimes I don't care," he admits. "If I feel like drawing a giant robot, the next flier is going to be a giant robot. Right now I'm into people with animal heads."
This left-of-center sensibility has endeared him to many local bands and makes him sought after for DIY venues such as the Church in Tremont (of which Greiner is a founding member). Admittedly somewhat new to the game, he has developed a catalog of work that's only a few years old. Over that time, he has witnessed talent blossom on the local scene.
"I like how I've watched this whole group of bands grow from their initial ideas into, well, awesome bands," he says. "Bands that I would put up to any other that comes through town."
Greiner also publishes two fanzines. Caveman Diaries reads the way his apartment looks: It's a catacomb of sketches, fliers, and musings, thrown together in a whirlwind of Red Bull and printer ink. Wheelchair Riot is autobiographical, based on his life after the BMX bike accident that left him bound to a wheelchair and "technically an incomplete quadriplegic. It's been 11 years, and it's not going to get any better."
The accident was documented in his comic 513: A BMX Bike Story. Picking up where 513 left off, Greiner plans on publishing his most audacious work yet, a graphic novel based on the accident.
Later, at the Prosperity Social Club, Greiner is spotted surrounded by musicians, no doubt talking about how the next flier he designs for them will feature a giant robot, fighting a man with a reindeer head.