On left: Neon Rose #2, Victor Moscoso, 1967.
The 1960’s were a time of experimentation, new things and liberation from the rigidity of the previous decade. It was also a decade of change. From the Civil and Women’s rights
movements to the counter-culture hippies, this was a pivotal
period in the development of society worldwide. Late in the decade,
a new kind of poster rose from this free-spirited society. The style of these posters was influenced as much by previous art movements as it was by this new freedom and by drugs. These
posters came to define the way the 1960’s are remembered today and expressed the point of view of America before giving way to new tendencies in the early 1970s.
hISTORY where the 1950s were conservative and rigid, the 1960s were experimental and free. The clearest example of this experimentation was 2 3 the landmark widespread use of drugs.||LSD was discovered in the late1930s and by 1963 it had found its way to the streets as a recreational drug, along with marijuana, mescaline and magic mushrooms. Along with drugs, music of the 1960s was of great importance to the development of the art of the period. The new music styles, dance and the “San Francisco sound” drew large crowds.||While celebrating the LSD experience, both of these new kinds of music attracted young, idealistic crowds who looked for the chance to experience psychedelics and meet other individuals who believed in political change, free love, and destroying the consumerism of the 1950s.||The fusion of these new music styles and hallucinogenic drugs, became the first venue of psychedelic design. These events presented designers, drug-users who, generally, had little or no formal training in design, with the challenge of translating and communicating the hallucinatory experience on to paper. In its early stages psychedelic art borrowed straight from Dada, Art Nouveau, Op Art and Pop Art imagery. As the style evolved, characteristics of these movements remained but they combined into a new style all its own. The sinuous organic shapes of Art Nouveau and the defying attitude of Dada, along with the visual tricks of Op art And the colorfulness of Pop art, intertwined into a unique graphic style. Psychedelic artists also used dreamlike images, bright colors and had a nearly obsessive tendency to fill the entire picture plane with details, complicated typography, and the morphing of objects to simulate the hallucinatory effect experienced during LSD “trips.”||This style grew fast and became very popular. Psychedelia started to enter the mainstream in 1968 and with this popularity boost also came its demise. By 1970 it had become so overused that in 1971 The Artists even the advertising industry had adopted the psychedelic style to fit its commercial needs. This marked the end of a five-year “trip” as it transformed this anti-consumerist movement into a tool for selling that poisoned the ideals of those involved in the counter-culture.
The sound. Wes Wilson. 1966. Family Dog #29, Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley, 1966.
During the short life of the psychedelic movement, the two most important venues in San Francisco, the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore, commissioned several artists who became renowned for their ability to transform posters into an experience. The most outstanding ones, sometimes called the Fillmore Five, were Wes Wilson, Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso and Rick Griffin.
Wes Wilson While Wes Wilson had no art
who many think of as the most important designer of the psychedelic movement. Today he is almost synonymous
with the psychedelic era. His
training he quickly became a prolific designer
style of fluid lettering and creating forms with letters is partly what has earned him the credit of the creator of the psychedelic poster. Also
Family Dog #20, Mouse & Kelley, 1967.
Family Dog #26, Mouse & Kelley, 1967.
StanleyMouse & AltonKelleY After meeting in 1965, Kelley
and Mouse relocated to San Francisco where they produced posters for The Family Dog, the production company that
The Association, Wes Wilson, 1967.
renowned are his Female nudes, which are
owned the Avalon Ballroom. Kelley and Mouse’s designs for The Family Dog gave them widespread recognition because of their representatives of psychedelia because of their use of human and commercial images.
Wes Wilson show. Wes Wilson, 1967.
representative of the freedom and sexual liberation of the time.
composition.They later went on to establish Mouse Studios where they produced a number of posters which became the
Quicksilver Messenger Service, Victor Moscoso, 1967. Big Brother and the Holding Company, Victor Moscoso, 1967.
Victor Moscoso Victor Moscoso was one of the few psychedelic artists with a formal art education andwasthefirstartisttousephotographiccollage.His used contrasting colors and hard to read text as a way to get attention He designed one of the iconic images of the movement for Big Brother and the Holding Company at the Avalon Ballroom. He was also the creator of Zap Comix, a comic book of socially relevant issues.
Rick Griffin Inspired by Kelley and Mouse, Rick Griffin decided to enter the movement in 1966. His work was noticed by the organizers of Human Be-In, an art exhibit, who approached him to create a poster for their 1967 show. He was then hired by the Avalon Ballroom and recruited by a poster distribution agency where he worked with Wilson, Kelly, Mouse and Moscoso.
Pre-concert mailer, Rick Griffin and Victor Moscoso, 1968
Flying Eyeball, Rick Griffin, 1968.
works were designed by the artists already described, many other participated in the movement. Artists such as: Bonnie Maclean, Lee Conklin, Gary Grimshaw, CARL LUNDGREN and others created complex art that is sold today at high-ticket prices as collectors items.
Other Important People While many of the renowned
From left to right: Vanessa, Carl Lundgren,1967; Yardbirds,Bonnie MacLean, 1967; Grateful Dead at the Barn, Lee Conklin, 1969;Zebraman, Gary Grimshaw, 1966.
Legacy&Conclusion The 1960 had a profound impact on society today, however the posters from the psychedelic era have had a limited effect on the direction of design. After the establishment of other philosophies of design that advocate simpler and less ornate design, the influence of the psychedelics has been reduced to advertise things like raves and others which involve substance abuse. As it is,
the only contributions from the psychedelic posters to contemporary design is the use of bright colors and the play between positive and negative shapes. The characteristic use of complicated typography has been dropped in favor of easily readable typefaces, and ample use of negative space is more welcome than the compulsive use of every inch of space on the page. One could also, however, make the case that they validated mindscapes in design. Regardless of their lack of generous influence in the long run, psychedelic posters played a very important role in the design of their time. Challenging the established values of aesthetics and producing something new which brought old, more classic designs to a younger generation.
Conferenza Presentazione Dibattito, Unknown, Unknown.