Pearl Jam: The “Just Breathe” Art Print Project

I was recently asked to be part of a really beautiful project to help keep live music in mind, and in our hearts. The curator of this Pearl Jam themed art show emailed the following description for the show:

“In a time where live music and the art associated with the experience has shuttered, we have come up with a unique approach to “seeing” a show play out. We are working with artists who have a unique sense of storytelling through their art to create a poster around their interpretation of different Pearl Jam “songs” that will make up our setlist for a concert.”

– Cory Schwartz, Curator

For the rest of the story, I’ll let Cory himself tell it, here’s an excerpt taken from the official announcement he sent out to the PJ fan group:

“From the moment I first spoke with our next artist, Matt Pfahlert, over the summer I knew we were in good hands. After getting off the phone with him It was clear he understood what we were doing with this project.  I know you don’t get to see the behind-the-scenes conversations I have with the artists, but most of the artists I have approached, in some form or another have a story like the one below, or a connection to the music which takes the art and its meaning to a whole other level.  It solidifies for me that what we are doing here, beyond just the paper we are receiving in a tube, can deliver us the emotional outlet we have been craving…if you let it. Below is a discussion I had with Matt when were were discussing what song he wanted to do, he had one that was personal to him, Just Breathe, and I told him to run with it.  He gave me the ok to share this info here so in his own words, here is some inspiration for the piece…

“I wanted to see if I could create lungs in some unique way – without overtly doing so. I printed by hand a cut piece of wood from my land here in Asheville, then did a block print essentially, scanned it, then arranged it as the “lungs” of the piece. There are actually two other real pieces of printed wood in this design as well. Some of the printing process can be seen here:

‘The Silent Pine’ is the name I gave my little home print studio. There’s also a very personal connection to this song – first time I heard it I thought of my dad who passed away back in 2007. The idea of seeing someone you’ve lost to death again, “meeting them on the other side” as Eddie describes it, is an amazingly touching concept. The repeated line of ‘Stay with me’  is also such a strong desire to the ones we love in life. My dad also loved butterflies, and they have more than once visited me in some pretty unique ways and seasons where you may not expect a butterfly to appear (middle of Winter, say). Anyway, that’s a lot & pretty heavy I realize – I don’t want to take away what the song may represent for others, I’m just telling you.”

A powerful song for sure.  I too lost my father in 2004 and this song holds some of that same meaning.  I hope you enjoy this print in whatever way it may mean something to you as well.

This has truly been one of the highlights during this challenging time for all of us. I hope you guys enjoyed the behind-the-scenes aspect of how it all came together. I want to express my deep gratitude to Cory and all the Pearl Jam fans that make up this special group. We’ve heard from a few of them, and the following quote from a recent email is how I’ll conclude this post:

“I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the Just Breathe print that I just got. I feel like it nails the essence of the song but it also really speaks to me on a personal level that’s hard to explain…”

Production notes:
Each poster was printed as a 4 spot color run. Main poster was printed on Speckletone Starch Rain. Variant edition was printed on Speckletone Starch White.
Printed by VGKids.