Tribute to Tony Booth, Commercial Artist for The Beatles
Tony Booth was commercial artist to Brian Epstein and The Beatles, producing countless posters, flyers, and promotional materials for them and other musicians of the era. The film below was made by the BBC in 2016 and documents Tony’s later work recreating these posters for collectors and enthusiasts.
Tony sadly passed away earlier this year, but before he did so he struck up a friendship with designer Emily Salinas who has shared her memories of getting to know him, and a small project she completed as a tribute to the man and his work. Emily used some of the experience and resources from one of our workshops in doing this project so it’s great to know that the skills are out there and being used for positive things.
I met Tony Booth over our shared obsession with lettering and sign painting.
I came from a background of graphic design and digital design but was getting increasingly interested in hand-made art and design, and also in traditional skills. Tony was a veteran Liverpool lettering legend having hand painted all the original gig posters for The Beatles.
I spent a day with him, where I got to see his studio, which was adorned with all his amazing artwork, see him working on one of the posters for his then forthcoming solo exhibition and he showed me the basics of how to handle a brush and draw a few letters.
He seemed delighted to see someone from a younger generation taking an active interest in his beloved trade and keen to pass on what he had learned. I left with a fist full of brushes he bestowed upon me and the promise to let him know how I got on.
After our meet up we kept in touch via his son, Lee, who was also a member of ROAD studios. Lee would keep Tony up-to-date with my progress and occasionally I would come to my desk to find a rolled up sheet with some lettering that Tony had passed Lee to give me.
I found out, sadly, that Tony’s long-standing cancer was taking a turn for the worst. Still, he was asking Lee for updates about where I was up to. It was at this point I decided to make a tribute poster for Tony as a gift for him: a hand-lettered poster in the same style as all his Beatles posters, except this poster would be about him.
Unfortunately, Tony passed away before he got a chance to see the poster I’d made for him, but I decided to finish it anyway and donate it to his family.