Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Rick Griffin died in a motorcycle accident in 1991. He was 47 years old. His work as a graphic artist, especially his San Francisco- based poster work for the Family Dog, the Avalon and the Fillmore concert venues, had set a standard in the music industry. He designed both Rolling Stone Magazine logos, and, along with Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelly and Victor Moscoso created the look of the psychedelia through his posters, comix and magazine work.
Unusual for the times, Rick was a born- again Christian who had lost an eye in a car accident in 1970, and credited God with his survival. He surfed, rode a Harley, and raised a family, all the while working on his visionary designs.
His early work was published in Surf Magazine, and his first major band poster was done for the Family Dog and featured the Charlatans, one of the earliest acts to emerge from the burgeoning San Francisco scene.
Possibly his most visible work was done for the Grateful Dead, a group that never sounded nearly as good as Rick's vision of them. In fact, few of the groups that Rick advertised have survived their posters. It doesn't really matter though- the art wasn't really about the groups: it was about the era.
What a show, except, of course, for pretentious- would- be- British- bluesman John Mayall.