Tag Archives: psycyedelic

Rick Griffin

Mom, Seth Randy & Doc at Postermat with Rick Griffin, Bob Schnepf and Ben Friedman circa 1989
Mom, Seth Randy & Doc at Postermat with Rick Griffin, Bob Schnepf and Ben Friedman circa 1989

Rick Griffin was born near Palos Verdes, California June 1944.  During his childhood he would accompany  his father, who was an archaeologist on digs in the Southwest.  His exposure to Native American and ghost town artifacts influenced his art work.  He was introduced to the art of surfing at a very young age, this along with his love of cars and motorcycles were influences in his professional art work. His character Murph the surf was well known in surfing circles.

rick griffin wake of the flood

Destiny played a profound roll in his life at the time he was about to leave the US and emigrate to Australia, Rick hitched a ride and was involved in an auto accident that left him near death.  He remembers hearing the words of the 23rd Psalm.  In later years this event proved a factor in his later conversion to Christianity.  The event also caused his left eye to be dislocated and it is thought that this influenced his characteristic fluid lettering.

rick griffin eye ball

In 1967 he produced a poster for the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park this was advertised as the “Gathering of the Tribes”  and as the Summer of Love continued he was in high demand.  He produced a series of posters for Chet Helms,( Family Dog) and Bill Graham (Avalon Ballroom and the Filmore).

Along with Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso and Wes Wilson, he became known as one of the “Big Five” of psychedelia.  In 1967 they founded the Berkeley-Bonapart distribution agency to produce and sell psychedelic poster art.  The famous “Flying Eyeball” poster is among one of the most important of contribution to the psychedelic art movement. In  the 70’s he produced the illustrated Book of Saint John and later created work for the Calvary Chapel in Costa Messa.rick griffin axomox

It was on August 15, 1991 that Rick placed a phone call to the Robert Beerbohm’s gallery from a payphone in a grocery store.  He learned that one of hjis paintings had just sold for $1800.  On his way home he was forced off the road by a van and he died three days later from his injuries.

rick griffin without a net

I am so happy to have had the opportunity meet him and know that his work will be appreciated for generations to come.  His loss was overwhelming he was a true visionary and an outstanding talent.

Many of his art work is represented in Woodstock Trading Company in poster, magnets, clothing and products for the home.



The "big Five" San Francisco poster artists Lto R Alton Kelly, Victor moscosso, Rick Griffin, Wes Wilson, Stanley Mouse
The “big Five” San Francisco poster artists Lto R Alton Kelly, Victor moscosso, Rick Griffin, Wes Wilson, Stanley Mouse. Photo by Bob Seidemann


Where would psychedelic music be without the art that accompanied the sound of visual experiences that represented the spirit of the times from then until now and into the future, forever!

When you think about psychedelic music do you not automatically think about the art that accompanied and enhanced the experience?  It is probably the time around 1966 to 1971 when the San Francisco Music Poster had its impact in the arena of graphic art.  This resulted in all sorts of posters, handbills and flyers advertising rock concerts

Bill Graham,  who promoted concerts at the Fillmore Auditorium,  Winterland and a dance hall he renamed The Fillmore West  along with Chet Helms, who headed  an organization called The Family Dog, were influential in having art posters that “rocked the world” to help promote their shows.

At this time there were a handful of San Francisco artists that were commissioned to produce much of this art work.  The had become known as THE BIG FIVE.  They included Wes Wilson, Alton Kelly, Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso, Rick Griffin.  Their influences were that of the masters in the Art Nouveau moment  In addition, Mouse and Kelly had some expertise in advertising art.They founded the Berkely-Bonaparte distribution agency to produce and sell psychedelic poster art.

Outside of Moscoso, who taught lithography, the artists had no formal training in printing techniques   and it was the wonderful pressmen of firms like Tea Lautrec Lito and West Coast Litho  that helped to produce the art work we have come to love and recognize.

Further Blogs are being written about each of the artists…keep in touch