Musician and illustrator George Hage has designed posters, books and more for clients like Hopscotch festival.
by Katherine Poole | photography by Gus Samarco
“I think music helps the art. I think art helps the music. I feel very fortunate to have those two things at the same time.” —George Hage, musician and illustrator
George Hage is living his day dream. The graphic designer and musician is creating art full time, and when asked how he achieved the dream, he simply states, “I’m just kind of going where life takes me.”
Life for Hage began in Charlotte where the roots of his passions for art and music first intertwined. During his teenage years, he immersed himself in the local music scene while learning guitar. He also loved to draw and was an avid fan of comic books, which drew him to the aesthetics of album covers and poster art for the rock bands he admired.
Hage landed in Raleigh in 2000 as a student at N.C. State, where he majored in communications and minored in music and computer science. In his down time, Hage played in a collection of bands and also created the logos, poster art, and ephemera for each group. Other bands took notice and Hage found himself the de facto artist in his music circles.
After graduating, Hage stayed in Raleigh and worked in IT for 12 years as a project manager. He was a computer guy by day and an artist by night, developing his chops as a musician and designer. His band, Jack the Radio, was his main collaboration. Hage created the artwork for the band which brought him recognition as an artist, and it also brought him more design work.
Hage was overwhelmed with requests for his design services and in 2016 decided to make it a full time gig. As it turns out, being a project manager was a fortuitous career path for the budding freelance artist. He is able to manage schedules, deadlines, and customer expectations, which is something he says, “no one teaches you as a freelancer.”
To date, Hage has created logos, posters, and merchandise for a variety of clients including Hopscotch Music Festival, The State Theatre in Greenville, North Carolina, Porch Fly Clothing, Trophy Brewing, the Carolina Hurricanes, and Artsplosure. In June, he self published a book, Daydreaming. The book is part calling card and part portfolio, and Hage says he hopes to share it with potential clients and graphic art enthusiasts he meets at gatherings like Hopscotch and HeroesCon, a comic book convention in Charlotte. Hage has befriended many professional comic book artists over the years, and was even drawn into an issue of Image Comics’ Tokyo Ghost as a samurai guitarist.
The samurai guitarist has also found his music career heating up with his new band, New Reveille. The group recently signed with Loud and Proud Records and just released their debut album, The Keep, this past September. Music critic David Menconi describes their Americana country sound as, “twangy, truck-driving music that runs on classical gas.”
Comics artist Paul Friedrich provided a blurb for Hage’s book. “I have seen the future and it is George Hage.” For George Hage the future is about “good vibes, good energy, and everybody being in a good mood.” which he hopes, “stays this way for a long, long time.”