Martin Kaye (Londen, 1932 - Amsterdam 1989) belandde eind jaren zestig in Amsterdam en ontwierp tussen 1972 en 1983 alle posters voor de concerten in Paradiso, toen the hottest place in town. Bovendien (zeef)drukte en verspreidde Kaye de posters zelf. De oplage schommelde rond de 150 exemplaren maar door een strategisch plakbeleid leek het regelmatig alsof Amsterdam was dichtgeplakt met posters van Kaye. Het atelier van Kaye bevond zich in de kelder van Paradiso. Hij (zeef)drukte affiches terwijl boven zijn hoofd werd opgetreden door solisten en groepen als Charles Mingus, Herman Brood, John Watts, Iggy Pop, Dire Straits, Duran Duran en vele tientallen andere muzikanten - niet zelden herinnert nog slechts de poster aan hun bestaan. Hun optreden kondigde Kaye aan in een brutale en zeer herkenbare stevige stijl. Een stijl die niet gelikt of modieus is, maar perfect aansluit bij de muziek en de sfeer van die jaren. Veelal is het de (diapositieve) belettering die de kracht bepaalt. Kaye sneed de letters rechtstreeks uit in rode zeefdruk film; een fullcolor effect bereikte hij door het toepassen van de irisdruk.

Op 3 maart 1989 overleed Martin Kaye in zijn woning in Amsterdam. Zijn nalatenschap omvatte de talrijke affiches die hij voor Paradiso ontwierp, een typografische bibliotheek en een inventarisatie van 60.000 alfabetten.

De Stichting Martin Kaye Alphabet Index and Library ontfermde zich over de erfenis. Na catalogisering is een zo goed als complete collectie (ca. 1000 verschillende posters) in permanente bruikleen gegeven aan het AFFICHE MUSEUM in Hoorn.

De Stichting Martin Kaye Alphabet Index and Library: 020-6126673

When, in the early 1970s I returned to Amsterdam I was struck by the colourful posters of 'Paradiso', I was under the impression as if they were all over town. On reflection I realized there were really quite a few of them, they hung, however, in the same conspicious spots week in week out -in the windows of certain shops and never 'unauthorized'- cleverly selected spots and, as I found out afterwards, put there by the designer-printer-distributor himself. It is obvious that this not only brought 'Paradiso' to the attention of people, but also provided him with an extensive circle of acquintances. The striking element of these posters were not often the colours -often in 'rainbow' or split-colour printing, a technique which enables the printer to realize several smoothly overflowing colours in one or two impressions only -but also their excellent legibility and their 'emanation', for many years these posters determined Paradiso's identity. I wasn't the only one who used to collect them. When I made Martin Kay's acquintance, his letter designs turned out to have some directness and honesty as his posters. Not made as 'finished', perfect, cold things ('no high art' in his own words), but conceived to strike, to have an immediate effect, quick, spontanious publicity and blatant display for a place -at the time a rather amusing place- where many kids of young people met. He started as a screenprinter in Studio 7 under the VondelPark bridge, and in spring 1970 he moved to Paradiso. His technique is screenprinting, acheap manual method to priny rather large sizes in moderate runs: in Martins case for Paradiso between 120 and 180 A2 size posters [approx. 40 X 60 cm; 16 X 24 inches] usually in one color, sometimes in two. Screens were prepared entirely by hand, the intended forms were cut out in paper on green film with small sharp knives, what was to be printed, the image, was cut away from the paper base. The cutting was done using a standardized system of relative character widths, thus enabling the designer to show the name of the performing group as big as possible. The cutting being finished, the remaining green film was fixed on the screen by means of a flat-iron and water. Printing was done with a fairly coarse screen, roughly combed for fixing the film, and with rather diluted inks, which guarantees good mixing of colours for the rainbow effects.

Jan de Jong, Amsterdam 1985.