Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Get Schooled by the Intern: Psychedelic!

Wes Wilson & Psychedelic Art
By Fiona Clark


Concert flyer by Wes Wilson 1967, from 60s Design by Philippe Garner

My first thought when I looked at the promotional graphics for the concert venues of the 1960’s was, “I feel like I’m trippin’ balls.” The drug inspired colour palette is what catches the viewers attention, but there is much more appeal than just that.

The style itself came about through sub-cultures of different cities such as London and San Francisco. Music, drugs, art, literature and hippie activities were the drive behind psychedelic art, which became an interesting fusion of fine art and commercial art technique. Many of the artists used silk screening, lithography, radiograph for hand lettering and split-fountain color technique for low cost printing. Visually there is a strong connection to Art Nouveau style and traces of the other 1960’s style “Op”, which developed out of “Pop”.

Wes Wilson was a leading designer in the Psychedelic movement in San Francisco, creating concert posters mainly for two venues: Avalon Ballroom and Fillmore Auditorium. He got into the business through a friend, Bob Carr, who managed a printing shop and offered Wilson his first acid trip. Together they opened their own printing company in 1964 called “Contact Printing Company” and I suppose the rest is history.

Personally, I think it’s nice that the artists behind the psychedelic art age took the drugs for us so we could appreciate the visual beauty while maintaining our sobriety.

The imagery throughout many of his posters involves the female form and the flowing curves of the body/hair (hint at Art Nouveau, thank you very much). These forms were made even more intense by the variations in line-work and extreme colours. The hand made type could almost blend into the image itself because it pushes the limits of legibility.

Conclusion: these posters rock my socks off.

If you are super duper into it, check these other dudes out: Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso, Peter Max, Michael English and Nigel Waymouth.

4 Comments:

Blogger Z said...

Fiona! Its pretty cool that your intern work requires you to use the phrase "i'm tripping balls." Haha, I'll be reading. :D

June 14, 2006  
Anonymous alice said...

Haha !!! I agree I appreciate them taking the drugs for us !!! This style is pretty spiffy. I really enjoy the artists choices of colors it's quite interesting. A fascinating article!!!

June 14, 2006  
Blogger Faust Haus said...

Holy crap! Readers that comment! That's what I'm talkin' about.

Thanks friends of Fiona!

June 14, 2006  
Anonymous Matt Hunsberger said...

"I'm tripping balls" is very Fiona Clark. Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

June 15, 2006  

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