Music and Art In Your Backyard


Hey Courtney, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started making random fliers.

I studied graphic design in college and really loved it. IN COLLEGE. The real world was another story & I was looking for a way out of the 9-to-5 grind.  I started doing craft fairs, making hand drawn coffee cups, cards, etc. but it still didn't seem right. When I turned 30, I decided I needed to make something without trying to make money and without rules like I could in college. The flyers were a great way for me to express myself in a ways no client would ever let me. I get to do something I really enjoyed and learned to really love Austin in return. I was engaging with the city instead of just consuming it. It changed a lot in my life & now I finally started calling myself an artist instead of a designer.

Your posters are usually filled with slapstick and/or tongue-in-cheek humor. Was this always your intention? How did this idea come about?

My flyers basically represent my sense of humor. I feel like a crabby apple most times but I'm also perceived as bubbly & optimistic. The overwhelming amount of posi cheesy messaging targeted toward women always aggrevates me, so I wanted to be a voice for other jaded assholes like myself. Something a little more realistic than finding the life of your dreams at the end of a rainbow. That's just an optical illusion.

How would you describe your poster style and what has inspired that style?

Being trained in design, I am all about communication. I want someone to be able to see a flyer and get it right away. They're walking down the street, I want to catch their eye and make them laugh without having to stop and think about it too much. Bob Gill is one of my design heroes I look up to, who does this very well. Aestheticly, I wanted to step off the computer more so hand drawing them all was more to push myself more than anything but in the process I have learned to really love illustration & I keep getting better.

When you make these posters, what do you want people to get out of it? Is it for fun? to educate? to inspire?

I want people to laugh, to think about something they didn't before, to share with their friends and community, to get an unexpected random commentary, to inspire people to share their art for free & not just for profit, and to let people know it's cool to just do your thing and not worry about it so much.

Aside from posters, do you have other creative pursuits? What are they and what got you started?

The flyers are my main project but I also have a band Invisible Sister. I see music as another form of communication and it's fun for me to push my messages into a new art form. I taught myself how to barely play the drums so I can sing silly songs to people. It's pretty fun. We will be coming out with a video album soon. Keep an eye out for a party! I also have a studio at the Musuem of Human Achievement, where I dabble in all sorts of random projects from tiled patios to weed leaf piles to chill out in.

You’ve generated so many posters! Do these ideas come to you easily or have these pieces come to you after a period of creative blocks? If the latter, how do you move past it, so you can create?

I make myself do one flyer a week (though I have failed a few weeks) just to ensure that I keep it up. I totally get blocked all the time and I often put something out there that I don't think is my best work just to make my deadline but I'm realizing that people like those too! The designer brain in me wants everything to be the one perfect answer but I'm learning that it's ok to share work that isn't perfect because it still has value and you just have keep pushing yourself to do better next time. The deadline keeps me in action and now when I'm falling asleep and an idea pops up, I text it to myself cause I need all the help I can get.

Where did the name Fliers4Nothin come from? And what more can we expect to see from you in the near future?

Because I'm not promoting anything it just seemed like logical name. Clear communication again I suppose. Though I will admit I did originally think flyers was spelled fliers but I already got the website so I just stayed with it. I have been doing a little bit of wheatpasting and I'd like to do more next year though I'll admit I'm kinda a chicken about it.  Also I'm thinking of starting up an online store. I get a lot of requests for tee shirts and I've been against it in the past (mainly cause I didn't enjoy it before & I hate all the government paperwork) but I'm coming around to it and what better time to start than a new year!

What will be your 2017 mantra?

I'm writing this on the day Carrie Fisher died and I really like this quote from her. I think I'll carry this with me next year: “Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”

INSTAGRAM: @fliers4nothin