From subtle surrealism to 60s psychedelia: Andrew McGranahan on his posters for Paul McCartney

With such lofty achievements in his oeuvre, it’s amusing to hear about the early days of Andrew’s career. “I’ve never been a particularly good illustrator,” he says. “So I started out working in collage (digital and hand cut) and stuck with that almost exclusively for many years.” With no formal training in design, Andrew got his first job in the industry at a winery in Modesto which took a chance on him and showed him the ropes. “It certainly wasn’t the most creative experience of my life”, he admits, “but I’m eternally grateful for how much I was able to learn on the job.”
Although he’s still partial to a bit of collage now and again, his current style is very different. “In the last couple of years I’ve figured out a way to make illustration work for me so that’s what I’ve been focusing on,” he says. For visual inspiration he looks to the likes of Milton Glaser (and Push Pin Studios), Tadanori Yokoo, Kiyoshi Awazu and Philippe Caza. “I’m also very influenced by music – naturally – and film. I’ve been on a big Tarkovsky kick lately.”
In June, Paul McCartney made Glastonbury history when he became the oldest artist to headline the festival. To do justice to the momentous occasion, it was clear that some powerful graphics were in order. Andrew McGranahan was the man for the job. When his friend from the merch company working for McCartney asked if Andrew would help out, it was obviously a no brainer – “I immediately agreed,” he tells us. The designer is known for his knack with retro, psychedelic aesthetics, so it’s no surprise that the piece he came up with paid homage to McCartney’s glory days in the swinging 60s. Like an angelic super-being, McCartney towers above the Glastonbury’s iconic pyramid stage, which draws the eye into its centre with a mesmeric swirl of blue and pink. Medieval-inspired type and decorative embellishments complete the look with a final fantastical flourish.

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