The Public Hi-Fi Balloon

Collaged fake album covers by Guided By Voices frontman Robert Pollard

by Noah Armstrong

pollard3.jpg pollard4.jpg

Before Robert Pollard formed the seminal lo-fi band Guided by Voices, he was a high school student making imaginary album covers for imaginary bands. The collage style of these mock album covers would eventually manifest itself in much of the album art for Guided by Voices, and a multitude of his solo and side projects.

Pollard regularly visits flea markets and antique shops looking for magazines, posters and text books—anything old that can be taken apart and re-assembled in two-dimensions. His collages combine type and imagery in a way that seem to recall a bygone era that never actually existed. The resulting aesthetic lies somewhere between British Invasion poster art, B movies and the pictures one might find in a decades old photo album. Eschewing digital mediums, each piece is made entirely of glue and paper.

pollard1.jpg pollard2.jpg

Pollard’s collages and songwriting share many similarities. Both seem shrouded in an esoteric surrealism, lean heavily on accessible pop aesthetics and are delivered with a sense of honesty and rudimentary production. “They both have to do with re-assembling familiar imagery to create interesting landscapes,” he says. “One with sight, the other with sound.”

pollard5.jpg pollard6.jpg

“The Public Hi-Fi Balloon“—an exhibit of Pollard’s recent collages—will show at the 45 Space in New York at the end of this month. Set up to look like a fake record store, it will be comprised of imagined LP and seven-inch covers as well as a rack of fake magazine covers. Mr. Pollard will be present for the 27 August 2010 opening and the show runs until 28 August 2010.