Musikfest isn’t until Aug. 3-12, but the marketing for the annual summer event has already begun with the unveiling of this year’s official festival artwork.
The colorful wallpaper image on www.musikfest.org — which will soon grace the Musikfest 2018 poster, mug, apparel and other merchandise — was designed by 28-year-old Lansdale resident Dan Mugrauer, the owner of Blood Moon Tattoo Syndicate, a tattoo shop and gallery in Ambler specializing in body art.
Aware that his art will soon be seen on billboards, Mugrauer said: “I’ve been looking around wherever I’ve been driving.”
“It’s awesome that we have such a large-scale event ... 10 days of the streets being closed off for music,” said the 2008 graduate of Wissahickon High School, who interned at ArtsQuest, the organization that presents Musikfest in Bethlehem.
Kassie Hilgert, the president and CEO of ArtsQuest, hoped that by commissioning Mugrauer, he would stylistically take Musikfest’s artwork in a new direction for the festival’s 35th anniversary this year. “Dan’s skill as a tattoo artist, coupled with some of his fine art training, really led him to develop his own style, combining classical artistic elements with the more contemporary stylings of tattoo art,” she said in a press release. “This poster not only honors our festival and our city’s history, it incorporates many of those timeless elements that people love about Musikfest. We were looking for something totally different this year and Dan really nailed it with this beautiful work of art.”
The illustration — which appropriately enough, will be available in the form of temporary tattoos during Musikfest — is filled with Musikfest images: a dobro steel guitar, the old Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces that accent the SteelStacks campus, a hidden Musikfest lyre and even a nod to the festival’s original logo. “That was coincidence. That was just my script,” the artist said of the unintentional reference to the 1980s Musikfest logo.
A practicing tattoo artist for six years, Mugrauer had attended the School of Art Institute of Chicago for a year to study painting. Shortly after dropping out, he got his first tattoo. That was the moment he found his calling.
Before picking up ink and needles, the first step in Mugrauer’s artistic process is sketching the idea out on a paper drawing pad. “I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember. I got really into it in high school once I realized I wasn’t into playing sports anymore,” he said.
Unlike his usual tattoo artistic process, however, Mugrauer perfected the Musikfest 2018 image as a digital illustration on his iPad. “I’ve only been working digitally for the last year and a half,” said Mugrauer, who opened Blood Moon Tattoo Syndicate on Butler Avenue last October.
The purple-, blue- and teal-hued flowers woven throughout the piece are a signature element of his body art. “It’s a good way to fill space without getting too distracted
ArtsQuest Director of Marketing said Jon Lunger in a press release: “We are thrilled with Dan’s design for this year’s Musikfest poster. The opportunity to work with a visual artist in what many consider to be a non-traditional discipline is particularly appealing to us as it’s a reflection of the exciting and often surprising programming that’s presented at Musikfest each year. We’re looking forward to using this in so much of our marketing and our merchandise. This poster is a truly dynamic piece that represents the history and tradition of tattoo art, as well as the traditions of the festival, pushing towards the future of both.”
Other Musikfest news
One of the largest music festivals in the nation, Musikfest features more than 500 performances on 16 stages throughout Bethlehem. Tickets are on sale for recently announced Sands Steel Stage mainstage concerts with Styx and Joan Jett and The Blackhearts on Aug. 3, Brantley Gilbert on Aug. 10 and Jason Mraz Aug. 11. Tickets are also on sale for a special Musikfest Preview Night on the main stage Aug. 2 with a bill of New Orleans all-stars called “Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown.” Call (610) 332-3378 or visit www.musikfest.org.