Behind the Cover: Flasher’s Taylor Mulitz Discusses his “Heavy-Handed” Design Style

Behind the Cover: Flasher’s Taylor Mulitz Discusses his “Heavy-Handed” Design Style

Taylor Mulitz, guitarist and vocalist of DC post-punk group Flasher, likes a challenge. Whether it’s building a darkroom in his parents’ basement or stretching his time between music, school, a day job, and freelance design, his hands are consistently full. AdHoc was lucky enough to catch a moment with the former Priests bassist to talk about this issue’s cover, an abstract piece that grew out of working on the art for an upcoming Flasher release. You can catch Flasher at AdHoc’s unofficial SxSW Showcase in Austin, Texas on March 14.

AdHoc: What got you into design?

Taylor Mulitz: It started out in high school. Mostly because I didn’t want to take a science class anymore, I did double AP Art. I was really into trying to figure out how to make band t-shirts, so I would watch a bunch of YouTube tutorials. I tried to make a really crappy darkroom in the bathroom in my basement, and I stained my parents’ floors. My dad got really upset. So I started designing to make my own t-shirts, and then I went to art school after I graduated high school.

Where did you go?

First I went to Parsons, in New York, and I did two years there. I ended up transferring to MICA, in Baltimore, because I was just too broke to live in New York City. I did a year there, and then I dropped out because I was too busy doing Priests stuff and was getting terrible grades and it became a waste of money and time. So I have three years of graphic design undergrad, but no degree to show for it.

Your style is very angular, reminiscent of tattoo flash, and there are also some TV static elements to your work. What inspires you?

I definitely like bold graphic design. A lot of heavy-handed typography is what I’m into. I definitely was into illustrating more flash kind of stuff, but I’ve leaned away from that in the past few years. A lot of what I’ve been working on recently is collage-based, a lot of halftones, that static kind of thing. The stuff I’ve been designing is being printed by silkscreen, so that kind of shapes the decisions I make. I’ve been looking at a lot of paintings recently and drawing inspiration from that. Right now, I’m into Paul Klee, David Hockney, Jacob Lawrence, Ellsworth Kelly, Stuart Davis, and Madelon Vriesendorp.

You were in Priests. You’re in Flasher. How do you juggle all that with your day job and your freelance design work?

Well, I’m no longer in Priests, so I’ve just been focusing on Flasher since August. It just became a thing where it was hard to do two full-time bands. Flasher has some music coming out soon. Getting ready to release anything new is always a lot, and I’ve been working on the art for that, too; I think I spent a month and a half on it. The AdHoc cover actually came from an illustrative experiment that I did that ended up not working for the release. I made a bunch of stuff that I was into [while trying to figure the art out], so it was cool to have the opportunity to use some of it.

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