ARTIST OF THE MONTH: Rick Griffin
Ed "Big Daddy" Roth
When I was introduced to 60's poster art in 1989, Rick Griffin was the first whose art really intrigued me. I used to stare at the walls of the Postermat where I worked and trip out on the floating eyeballs and strange comic-strip style characters Rick is famous for. Rick used to ride up on the sidewalk in his huge Harley to stop and visit with Ben Friedman, the 80+-year-old owner of the famous poster shop in North Beach San Francisco. We were all shocked and saddened by his sudden death in 1991 but his art will live on and continue to inspire and fascinate us forever.
Rick became known for his art around the time he started surfing at the age of 14. His friends would pay him 50 cents to paint original art on their shirts. After high school Rick got a job as an artist for Surfer Magazine where he created the character Murphy who became an integral image in the surf scene.
In 1964 Rick was in a car accident that dislocated his eye and badly scarred his face for life. After the accident, Rick's art began to mature and he developed his distinctive lettering style. He made a series of San Francisco concert posters for Chet Helms of the Avalon Ballroom and Bill Graham who ran the Fillmore Auditorium. His posters advertised shows for Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Albert King and many others. In 1967 Rick founded the Berkeley Bonaparte Agency to produce and sell psychedelic posters. Along with Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso and Wes Wilson, Rick was and still is referred to as on of the "Big 5" of psychedelia.
*Important note: I have MANY other Rick Griffin posters available for sale. Please email me your want list.