Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rick Griffin



















 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.

The Charlatans' poster. Dan Hicks (second from left) was the group's drummer.

Mickey, Donald, and the eyeball cavort in a George Herriman- inspired landscape.



Check out "Johnny Hammond and his Screaming Nighthawks", with personnel that later became The Band.


A little tribute to Harvey Kurtzman, Wally Wood and Will Elder featuring Wood's Little Orphan Annie parody along side Elder's send- up of "Gasoline Alley". Rounding out the cast of cultural icons is the Quaker Oats Man transplanted like Ray Milland and Rosey Grier onto Popeye's body and Mr. Kool-Aid. Plus some of Griffin's fruit- label- influenced graphics.

Fearless Fosdick, Al Capp's "Dick Tracy" parody, and the Quaker Oats Man again.


What a show, except, of course, for pretentious- would- be- British- bluesman John Mayall.


A beautiful example of Rick's religious work, featuring his flawless painting technique.
Featuring Ben Gay trademark Peter Pain. Griffin must have been familiar with the Moody Blues' music.
A Griffin cover featuring the first Rolling Stone logo, designed by Rick

23 comments:

SueWho said...

Awesome work!

EmLit said...

I guess I'm surprised to hear he was born-again, since born-again Christians are usually so doctrinaire (for lack of a better word). Were his religious beliefs ever at odds with the themes and lifestyles he was representing?

SueWho said...

You're right, because a lot of his works seem to be drug-inspired.

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