The North Bay’s music scene is multifaceted. Talented musicians and bands, dedicated promoters and top-quality venues all interact to form the scene’s aesthetic, and one artist is adding her vision to the mix.
For the last four years, graphic artist Katie Kincade has made her mark on music in Sonoma and Marin counties as an in-demand concert-poster designer. She also produces eye-popping original album art, band logos, T-shirts, drumheads and more.
“I’ve always been doing art in one form or another,” says Kincade. Growing up in Southern California, she moved to San Francisco to study fine art at San Francisco State and moved to Petaluma in 2005. A photography major, with a minor in graphic design, Kincade says she didn’t do much with the degree until a friend in rock band the Grain asked her to make a logo for them.
She did, and then she made a concert poster for them, then another and another. Word of mouth spread quickly, and now Kincade works full-time as a graphic artist, working almost strictly with local bands and festivals.
Each piece of art is tailor-made. “I often start by considering the type of music the band is, what their music describes,” Kincade says. “Or I just come up with something and roll with it.”
Kincade’s work is marked by highly detailed, densely layered and colorful splashes of illustration that complement a musician or band’s sound. Her portfolio includes work for Steve Kimock, the Greyboy Allstars and Poor Man’s Whiskey, and venues like Terrapin Crossroads and HopMonk Tavern.
Kincade’s main source of inspiration is her favorite band, the Grateful Dead, which influences her overall look, best described as a twisted throwback to concert art of the 1960s. Many of her posters depict nature scenes, like rosebeds or waterfalls, bordering psychedelic representations of people or animals that swirl within circular patterns and jump off the page in striking poses.
“I learn new things about what’s possible every time I do a poster,” she says. “But I think I’ve found my look.”
Kincade says she’s seen a surge of both local bands and grassroots support for local music in recent years, and she appreciates being connected to the scene through her art.
“Every single person is so into the music and the community,” she says. “I think everybody is stepping it up creatively; everybody’s influencing each other. It’s so cool to see.
“I don’t take any of this for granted
—I still get giddy about it all.”
See more of Katie Kincade’s work at kinkykatdesigns.com.