60s Psychedelic Poster Artists Illuminate A Decade

To explore famous rock posters in detail you may have a hard time separating them from the works of the 60s psychedelic poster artists. There are many reasons for this.

60s Psychedelic Poster Artists - Victor Moscoso
The Blues Project by Victor Moscoso

The “rock” poster was invented to advertise events both musical and social that were growing larger and larger in the San Francisco area. The seeds of the counterculture (or hippie movement) were coming of age. This movement was bound to remove itself from the ideals and rigidness of the 1950s. Creating a new culture, with its own ideals, experiences, music, fashion and sustainability.

The 60s psychedelic poster artists were very much a part of this experimentation.  The three martini lunch was out! LSD and marijuana would take its place in the new counterculture. It was as much a rebellion as it was a mind expanding new frontier.

What was black-and-white in the 1950s was now bright and vibrant colors in the 1960s. The light switch had been turned on. Experimentation in all types of media would push the limits of good taste in order to be different or original. But then, bad taste could be good taste in these newfound freedoms of expression.

Whatever the case, there was much art being created around this time. Some hang in museums and some were swept away as trash. I’m speaking particularly about rock posters and handbills made usually for concerts at ballrooms and auditoriums.

The music drove the 60s psychedelic poster artists to aspire to what they did. Mostly commissioned to do concerts rock concerts, but, many would create the posters and put the shows on themselves. A good example of that would be the Pinnacle Rock Concerts that were put on in LA.  (See Pinnacle Concerts posts on this site)

Although we concentrate mainly on the art, artists and famous rock posters of the 1960s–many great changes in our country were made because of the ideals and grasp for a better world from the counterculture.

Links of Interest:

The New Acid Tests – Current LSD Study and Timothy Leary

60s psychedelic poster artists Biographies

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    • Gail Moscoso
    • 15 May, 2017

    you say, ” merely”. Really. You have limited knowledge of those times and the artwork that was born then.

      • Sent Jumpin'
      • 26 May, 2017

      HI Gail,

      Sorry about slow reply as I wanted to send a thoughtful response with respect to the name on this email. Because, I am a huge, huge Moscoso fan and I would be mortified if I caused any ill will to one of my luminaries. Thanks for pointing out the misuse of an adverb in this hastily written article. My appy-polly-loggies. It was written quite a few years ago and I’ve pulled that text for editing and further review.

      I feel compelled to defend myself (a wee bit) to address your comments. I am an artist and musician and an avid writer, not professional. I keep practicing though and hopefully get better. ;o) My love for psychedelic rock posters (and music) is immense. I love history as well. You write about your passion. That’s how you connect. My quest to be enlightened about this epoch is insatiable. I cannot fathom the emotions and experiences that drove these inspired individuals to create such enigmatic, explosive and colorful masterpieces. It is astonishing! They are like a bible of the 60s consciousness. Chronicling the scene, counter culture events, music, causes and protests of the day. Snapshots of the times.

      I was young and innocent to what was REALLY going on around me in those days. Drugs, civil rights, Kerouac, counter culture scene, Vietnam, British (musical) invasion. But, I study and can imagine how it was all interconnected (in many ways) that encouraged people to “drop out” and start something completely new. Victor, thru his brilliance, put us right in the middle of the scene (in our imagination) we could feel the rebellion, music and had us right inside The Avalon Ballroom or The Fillmore. Real thrill admiring my new Steve Miller album cover art or Family Dog poster to hang on my wall. (Which actually encouraged me to aspire to be an album cover artist at one point)

      My drive to create this blog was to honor this American art movement and reveal and share these most interesting backgrounds (as varied as they are) of the artists who made it happen. Any disrespect to any of that is exactly the opposite of what I set out to do. My love and respect for this is infinite, as you now know. Thanks to all the artists of this period and the joy you STILL bring.

      My very best to you both!

      Billy Bryant (aka sentjumpin’)
      Famous Rock Posters.com
      Atlanta, Ga.

      For More: Please visit the Victor Moscoso website http://www.victormoscoso.com
      also, pick up his book “Sex, Rock and Optical Illusions”. It does not disappoint.

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