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Perry Shall: The Music Hustler.

June 12, 2014

PerryShall01onlineText and image bu Urszula Pruchniewska.

Perry Shall is a man of many jobs. He works in construction during the week and at Long in the Tooth records on Sundays. He plays in two bands (Hound, a hard-rock power trio, and Dry Feet, a surf rock outfit) and books shows for out-of-town musicians, including JEFF the Brotherhood, Screaming Females, Tenement, Bad Side and Ted Leo. He is also a freelance artist working on a variety of projects. Currently, he’s painting a menu on the wall of Honest Tom’s Taco Shop in West Philly.
“A hustler,” Shall explains, laughing. “That’s the best way to describe me. I’m constantly finding ways to make money doing stuff that I like to do. I feel like I’m Ice-T or something, which is more than OK with me!”

The 28-year-old Shall recently animated his first music video for “Operation Bikini” by Obits, drawing each cell by hand. He also works regularly with bands on merchandise and promotional design, as well as album artwork. The piece that Shall feels is his most important yet is his artwork for We Are the Champions, the 2011 album by rock duo JEFF the Brotherhood.

“He did exactly what we expected but added a lot of ‘Perry’s Personal Flair’ as well,” says Jake Orrall, one half of JEFF the Brotherhood. “For Champs, we just wanted a text-based cover and I had some nudes that I wanted on the insert and the gatefold. He used them quite tastefully in his original collages.”

We Are the Champions was a success and when JEFF the Brotherhood performed on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” Shall went along to the show.

Jimmy Fallon is sitting at his desk, holding my artwork and I’m like, ‘What the hell is going on in my life right now?’” Shall recalls thinking. “I’m standing here watching this famous person holding up my artwork for millions of people to see thinking, ‘Whoa, I made what he’s touching.’ That was the first time that I really thought, maybe, I could make a living off of this.”

Shall has designed album artwork and T-shirt designs for various bands, including Bombino, Best Coast and Diarrhea Planet, and gets most of his ideas just from listening to the music.

“A lot of times, as soon as I hear the music, I can get a vision of what I want,” Shall reveals. “Some of my friends’ bands will explain the concept behind the album title and that will instantly put an idea visually into my head.”

The musicians he works with also have confidence in Shall’s artistic instincts.

“One thing I love about Perry’s work is you can really trust him to make something awesome,” Orrall reflects. “Like, if we needed a new shirt or something, I could just give him a tiny bit of direction, like, ‘I want something menacing.’ The first thing he comes up with is always dead-on perfect.”

The next big project for Shall is designing art for the new record by Philly band Cold Fronts. He also continues to work for TSVG, a guitar pedal company started in 2011 by Mike Klein, Shall’s childhood friend and former Hound bandmate. Shall designs the artwork for the pedals.

“He has an insane eye for layout and fonts,” says Klein. “With that said, he didn’t just wake up one day with it all figured out. He’s been sketching forever and his brain is always working. He has been working at what he does for a really long time. He is a self-taught pro.”

Klein considers Shall one of his favorite artists.

“When I look at the stuff he does, it brings out some type of emotion,” Klein explains. “Whether it’s a smile or repulsion or whatever, I always feel something when I look at his stuff.”

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