Saturday, January 7, 2012

Still Groovy After All These Years: Part II

STILL GROOVY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: PART II -- To borrow a line from one our our favorite bands the Grateful Dead -- "what a long strange trip it's been" -- can also be used to describe that strange, often trippy art world where so many stars, styles and movements have come and gone since the 1960s when the "straight" world was introduced to the mind-blowing psychedelic art produced by a handful of visionary artists living primarily in San Francisco who were able to portray a new kind of music through amazing colors, shapes and, particularly, the use of typography and fonts -- creating a singular youth-fueled art movement that has never been equaled in its ability to influence generations of artists since. We could name a gaggle of artists practicing today who emulate and are inspired by this fabulous hippie art -- but why should we -- when you (our loyal and stylish reader!) should know about the pioneers who brought us this super-groovy art in the first place? These poster superstars include: Wes Wilson; Alton Kelley; Gary Grimshaw; Rick Griffin, Stanley Mouse; Victor Moscoso; Lee Conklin; and Bonnie MacLean who have become more or less household names in the world of psychedelic poster art.  When you stop to think about it -- before the arrival of psychedelic music itself, there was no poster (or graphic) art in this vein -- it was, in fact, a creation of the music scene itself (however, elements of Art Nouveau with its flowery, flowing aspects did have an overwhelming influence in many posters -- but these were incorporated into a larger scheme in which colors and, again, a bold usage of typography and fonts meshed with images borrowed from the "Old West," the silent film era and other vintage sources to make a new visual language).  Hey -- that sounded pretty smart, didn't it? After all, here at Studio of Style, we actually own some original psychedelic posters (complete with staple holes when they were once tacked to telephone poles up and down San Francisco's streets). These posters are still great collectibles -- and a good place to start to see and learn more about the marketplace for them is at Wolfgang's Vault website, or you can pick up the very big, hardbound copy of The Art of Rock (which is practically a bible for us here at Studio of Style). While you're doing this, you might as well put on the Grateful Dead's Anthem of the Sun album, get a little mellow (uh huh) and see exactly what these poster artists were saying! You can check in later with us when you come back to Earth....
Poster collage by Greg Firlotte