"Paper Kingdom is a collection of over 150 Baltimore-area show posters by Baltimore artists, compiled by one of their own, Maryland Institute College of Art grad Elena Johnston. With work spanning nearly two decades, the 190-page book serves as a document of Baltimore's ever-changing musical climate, all the way through to the oft-spazzy stuff that dominates the city's sound today.
In addition to artwork from the likes of Dan Deacon and Jimmy Joe Roche (check their "Wham City" poster below), Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez, Lexie Mountain (of Lexie Mountain Boys), and more, Paper Kingdom also gathers interviews with Deacon, Victoria Legrand of Beach House, Shaun Flynn of WZT Hearts, Nolen Strals of Double Dagger, and several of the non-musician contributing visual artists." Read more...
-Pitchfork Media, September 2008
“The national media has been shining its light on the music scene in Baltimore lately, gushing over the output from local rappers and the bands that make up the creative collective Wham City. Perhaps equally as compelling is the art that’s illustrating this Baltimore sound. Last week Elena Johnston released Paper Kingdom, a new book documenting two decades of the city’s poster art. Baltimore has become a place where art and music blur, where graphic designers like Post Typography produce posters for their band Double Dagger. Johnston, an illustrator who graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art, became interested in the time and creativity going into these posters. In addition to designing a few herself, she began collecting the works on paper, many of which resulted from labor-intensive processes like screenprinting and letterpress. “I think artists are seeing how much care is in the music, so they want to bring the same care to the posters,” Johnston told me the other day. “People are working really hard right now in terms of creative output here and everyone inspires each other.”
- Metropolis Magazine, Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson, August 2008
“For the past two years, Maryland Institute College of Art graduate Elena Johnston, 23, has been collecting concert posters made and designed by local artists. It's an interest that turned into her second book, Paper Kingdom. Funded in part by a grant from the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, Paper Kingdom collects roughly 160 posters and spans 1993 to 2008, offering a visual tour through 15 years of local music.”
Read more... - Baltimore CityPaper, Bret McCabe, August 2008
“In Paper Kingdom, Johnston interviews Baltimore musicians and graphic artists like Dan Deacon, Victoria Legrand (Beach House), and Justin Lucas (Madagascar) about the design process and the connections they make between their music and their artwork. Like her previous book, La La Land, a collection of work by Baltimore artists who share a dark yet playful aesthetic, Paper Kingdom is a fascinating look at some under-appreciated artwork.”