Collectible Poster Overview - 60's Psychedelia to Modern Gig Posters
The San Francisco music and cultural scene of the 1960s produced some of the most legendary rock bands of all time: the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Quicksilver Messenger Service. This environment also nurtured the psychedelic artwork of Rick Griffin, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Wes Wilson, Victor Moscoso, and the other great artists of the day.
The posters they created as advertising for rock concerts promoted by Bill Graham's Fillmore and Chet Helms’ Family Dog shows were innovative in their use of color and design, and became a new art form all their own. After establishing itself in the San Francisco area this new blend of advertising and psychedelic art soon spread across the nation. True icons of the era in which they were created, these posters have always been sought by collectors, and their value has increased accordingly.
The use of posters for rock concert promotion began to wane in the early to mid-seventies as other media became more prominent in advertising the large arena shows that were becoming more prevalent. Posters were still produced but were beginning to be used more for merchandising than for advertising.
As mainstream rock became more commercialized and fed by the corporate money machine, a new underground music revolution emerged. Embracing back-to-basics 3-chord rock, a new generation of garage bands prized energy and social relevance over exceptional musical ability. The music would come to be known as punk, and as the progression continued, its sibling New Wave was born. Many of the bands had friends or fans who were artists, and the art they created for their 8 1/2 x 11 punk fliers was often as raw as the music itself. Anyone with access to a Xerox machine could produce all the black-and-white art they needed to blanket every telephone pole and wall in town.
What has come to be known as the Silkscreen Movement traces its origins to Texas, where, in the 1980s, a vibrant music scene needed fliers and posters to promote shows for the local bands. Artists soon discovered that they could produce small runs of posters with a limited amount of equipment and a very small investment in materials. Using a silkscreen frame, a squeegee, and some ink, you could print some great looking posters. Today poster artists worldwide use this technique.
Now a new group of talented artists is taking poster art to another level, pushing the limits, and giving birth to art that is truly an expression of today. More posters are being created for bands and rock venues today than at any time in the past. Many of these posters are produced in small, limited editions hand signed by the artist, and have already proven their ability to appreciate in value. The number of artists working in this medium has steadily increased, and their styles are as varied as the bands and shows the posters are created for.