Sherman Breneman owns the Vinyl Market, which sells new and used vinyl records (LPs, 45s and 78s), concert posters and lowbrow art (or poster art), along with vintage stereo equipment.
By CYNTHIA BILLHARTZ GREGORIAN
The Kansas City Star
Vinyl Market has two locations: the Pentimento Antiques & Art, 1324 W. 12th St., which is open the first Friday of each month; and the Cowtown Mallroom flea market, which recently moved to the Bitterman Family Confections building, 3107 Gillham Road, and is open on weekends.
Breneman has dozens of framed concert posters and lowbrow art covering almost every square foot of the walls of the Troostwood home that he shares with his partner, Kate Blackman, and her two daughters.
When and how did you get started collecting posters?
I started collecting in the ’90s. I see about 300 live music acts a year. At first, I would pull the posters off the walls at those shows. Then I noticed some were really good, not just because of the music act, but the art itself.
Tell me about the posters behind your couch.
All of them are by Wes Freed. He was a musician who made covers for friends. Then the Drive-By Truckers found him and commissioned him to do their posters. Now that’s all he does. This one off to the side is a Tara McPherson (poster). I also have lots of local artists who do them.
Eric Lindquist, who used to be with La Cucaracha Press, did that one for Abigail Henderson, the local musician who died a few months ago from cancer. It’s from her first Apocalypse Meow (benefit). That’s a Coop print. That’s a really early (Frank) Kozik.
What are those round things mixed in with them?
They’re original paintings by Wes Freed. The one is a Moongal face and the other two are Cooley Birds. Wes Freed did something one year where he wanted to raise money for Christmas so he made these. He puts those images on some of his posters. I called and he made these for me.
Which ones are your favorites?
One of my favorites is this Lindquist (in the stairwell). In his typical style, he would show up about two hours before the show with them still wet. That one is called, “When Sex and Drugs Just Ain’t Enough.” I liked that it’s music-themed and all silk-screened, which means it’s layer upon layer upon layer of color.
Why did you decide to start selling concert posters?
I collect so many that I have boxes full of them in my basement. My last house had fewer windows and more wall space to hang them. Pretty much the stuff that I keep on the wall, I really like the bands.
By the way, the artists would take offense at the word “poster.” They think of them as silkscreens or serigraphs or giclee.
So your girlfriend had to accept all these posters when you moved in together?
Yeah. She helped me pick the ones I hung up.
How many do you have?
Several hundred. I don’t know. It’s constantly changing because I’m always buying and selling.
What are these albums above your sun room window?
Those are all covers by Jim Flora. “Mambo for Cats” was the first one I bought. It’s from the mid-’50s.
Are they your favorite albums?
No. These are my favorites (points to eight framed copies of the back and front covers of Velvet Underground & Nico in another room). I have each of the pressings, stereo and mono, and all the different versions of the cover, including the very first one, which was recalled. Andy Warhol produced the album and put the face of actor Eric Emerson upside down on the back cover, then got his permission. (Emerson) said, ‘Not unless you give me some money.’ So they stopped printing them, took his face off and reprinted it. It took me many, many years to find all six versions.
Your other decor is colorful and eclectic. Do you buy stuff to go with the rock ’n’ roll vibe in here?
Most of the stuff is stuff we both had. We want things that feel like they belong in the house and match the other stuff. I buy and sell records, so I occasionally find things while I’m doing that.
The ceramic dog on the mantel was in the loft of the barn on my grandparents’ farm, which had been abandoned for a long time. I don’t find stuff very often anymore, but once in awhile something will catch my eye. The majority of stuff in the living and dining room is Kate’s or from local artists.
Where do you get your posters framed?
Just about anywhere. The majority are just cheap poster frames. The ones I get professionally framed are from Mike McEchron in Emporia. He’s the one who kind of got me started collecting. Once I put a poster into a frame, I don’t take it out. It protects them. I have the artwork stored flat. Concert posters and fliers I have rolled in tubes.
Who buys these posters and why?
Either the person knows the band or the artist. People see a certain style and like it or the images. For instance, car guys will buy the car posters. Sometimes they don’t even care what the artwork looks like, they just want a poster from their favorite band.
I’m the only person in Kansas City who has this kind of artwork, so people will come back and buy it when they have money. It’s a lot more fun to buy in person then having it shipped and worry about it getting damaged.