David Edward Byrd

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David Edward Byrd
David Edward Byrd in 2005
(by Don Saban)
Born (1941-04-04) 4 April 1941 (age 78)
EducationCarnegie Mellon University
Known forGraphic design
Poster art
Notable work
see gallery
MovementPost-Modern Decorative Arts
AwardsGrammy Award

David Edward Byrd (born April 4, 1941) is an American graphic artist, designer, illustrator and painter known primarily for his poster designs.

Personal life[edit]

David Byrd was born April 4, 1941, in what is now Cleveland, Tennessee,[1] and was raised in Miami Beach, Florida. David has lived in the Los Angeles area since the 1980s. In 1985 David began Byrd/Beserra Studios, with his partner Jolino Beserra.[2]


He graduated from Miami Beach High School in 1959, attended the Boston Museum School for a year and then Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he received a BFA in Painting and Design in 1964 and an MFA in Painting and Printmaking in 1966.


David Edward Byrd in front of the poster he created for Forest Lawn in 2005.

After graduating, Byrd moved to New York City where in early 1968, work was started for Bill Graham for venues in the new Fillmore East Ballroom in Manhattan's East Village. Byrd was reportedly hired on the spot after showing his portfolio to Bill Graham[3] and signed on as the exclusive poster and program designer, beginning with a poster for the upcoming Traffic event. In the period 1968 to 1973, he and Fantasy Unlimited created posters for Jimi Hendrix, Iron Butterfly, Jefferson Airplane, Ravi Shankar, Traffic, and Bill Graham favorite the Grateful Dead.

In 1969 Byrd created the original poster for Woodstock, ultimately unused once the festival had to be relocated.[4]

He designed posters for notable stage musicals including Follies, Godspell, The Robber Bridegroom, The Grand Tour, The Survival of St. Joan, Jesus Christ Superstar, Little Shop of Horrors, and others. Byrd worked with The Who for their rock opera Tommy. From 1970 to 1979 Byrd taught at the Pratt Institute and the School of Visual Arts.[citation needed]

In 1981 Byrd came to Los Angeles to work on the Van Halen World Tour. After that he did more poster creations in and around Los Angeles for, among others, The Mark Taper Forum, The Ahmanson Theatre, The Doolittle Theatre (in Hollywood, CA), The Pasadena Playhouse.[citation needed]

From 1984 to 1986 he was Art Director of the national gay news magazine The Advocate.[citation needed]

From 1991 to 2002, Byrd was Senior Illustrator at Warner Brothers Creative Services, creating illustrations, backgrounds and style guides for all the Looney Tunes and Hanna–Barbera characters. His other tasks included working with writer J. K. Rowling on the first three books to make a visual cornerstone for the Harry Potter films that were to follow.[citation needed]



Byrd lives in Los Angeles with his partner of 28 years, Jolino Beserra, a noted Mosaic Artist.[5]

Accolades and awards[edit]

In 1973, he, along with several other prominent illustrators, received a Grammy Award for the album design and packaging of Tommy (by The Who).

In 2007 the Ringling College of Art and Design presented a retrospective of the work of Byrd's work.[6]

Many of David's works are now collectibles.[citation needed]

The poster that Byrd created for Bill Graham's Fillmore East, for the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was voted #8 in the Top 25 Rock Posters by Billboard Magazine.[7]

Further reading[edit]

Hearn, Michael Patrick; The Art of the Broadway Poster; New York, Ballantine Books; First Edition 1980; ISBN 0-345-28423-2


  1. ^ "Answers - The Most Trusted Place for Answering Life's Questions". Answers.com. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  2. ^ Statement by Jolino Beserra Archived 2011-07-13 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "David Byrd | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  4. ^ "David Edward Byrd - Woodstock". www.david-edward-byrd.com. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  5. ^ "Jolino Beserra". www.jolinoarchitecturalmosaics.com. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  6. ^ "Ringling College of Art & Design |". www.ringling.edu. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  7. ^ "BILLBOARD 25 BEST ROCK POSTERS OF ALL TIME". www.billboardlists.50webs.com. Retrieved 2019-06-01.

External links[edit]