Steve Oliva's poster prints join UNC's Southern Folklife Collection | Music

Steve Oliva's poster prints join UNC's Southern Folklife Collection

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One of Oliva's latest prints, for guitarist William Tyler's workshop and performance at The ArtsCenter next week. - PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVE OLIVA
  • Photo courtesy of Steve Oliva
  • One of Oliva's latest prints, for guitarist William Tyler's workshop and performance at The ArtsCenter next week.
If you haven’t seen Steve Oliva onstage with the likes of Spider Bags, Rat Jackson or The Dry Heathens, maybe you’ve seen his screenprinted posters tacked or taped around the Triangle. He’s done them for Hopscotch, last summer’s Music in the Gardens series at Duke and many other local rock shows.

The very nature of such posters is ephemeral, but last week, UNC’s Southern Folklife Collection announced it acquired 85 of Oliva’s posters for inclusion in its extensive archive. Oliva’s prints join a respectable collection of other poster art, with work by Ron Liberti, Casey Burns, Matt Hart, Chris Williams and Jason Lonon. Oliva says his Spider Bags bandmate Clark Blomquist, who also has a collection in the SFC, put curator Steve Weiss in touch with Oliva last month.

Oliva graduated from UNC in2007 with a degree in English. At the time, printing was just a hobby.

“I started doing that stuff the same way that everybody starts doing it—just as promotion for your own bands’ local shows,” he says. He never expected it would be less than a decade before his work would be formally housed at his alma mater. “Rock music and rock posters, and there I am in the library now. Don’t give up on your dreams, kids.”

Since Oliva will keep adding to the library collection as his own stock grows, the SFC’s archival efforts will help him hang on to his own work. It’s one less chunk of clutter to worry about.

“I have had just a giant pile of the number-one numbered print of every edition I’ve ever done. It’s just been sitting in a heap in two different houses that I’ve lived in,” Oliva says. “Now, instead of me trying to archive those things and keep them here forever, they can live at Wilson Library with real artifacts.”

While his posters are still being entered into the SFC, you can browse more of Oliva’s work and order prints via his website.

PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVE OLIVA
  • Photo courtesy of Steve Oliva
PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVE OLIVA
  • Photo courtesy of Steve Oliva


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