L.A.-based Cole Gerst is a graphic designer and painter whose way cool posters are hand-drawn, being scanned only for final color balance and the like. The printing is either silk-screen or offset, in limited-edition runs of usually 100 or less, he explains, making them quite collectible. Although the posters may be commissioned by the venue, promoter, musician or management, "I have complete artistic control of the imagery and printing processes, and I try to interpret the band's music while still maintaining my own style, which is heavily influenced by untrained and self-taught artists." Gerst grew up in Albany, Ga., "surrounded by many outsider and folk artists, including my grandfather, a respected local craftsman. I enjoyed many of these artists' fantastical stories about faraway lands, or conversations with 'higher powers.' I was inspired by their ability to create art that revealed the world as only they saw it." Formerly art director at House of Blues Entertainment, he now heads design firm Option-G (www.option-g.com
), which specializes in designing music packaging and collateral for artists in a wide range of genres, from Eminem to Patsy Cline.