Rick Griffin is known as a surfer, cartoonist, psychedelic poster artist, legend. Griffin was born near Palos Verdes in 1944, where he took-up surfing at age 14. While he was still in high school in the 50’s he was heavily influenced by Mad magazines comic styling but he soon found his own voice, creating his own surf style that would become iconic. Through his undeniable artistic talent and connections through surfing, Griffin was soon working for surf legend, Greg Noll, among others. After graduating from high school he joined Surfer Magazine as a staff artist– creating the legendary California surf scene character Murphy, and working his way up to Art Director by the time he was of 20. But by 1964, Griffin decided it was time to move on and see what the world outside of So Cal’s tight-knit surfer scene had for him.
View the original article SURF, 60′s PSYCHEDELIA & BORN AGAIN | THE TRINITY OF ARTIST RICK GRIFFIN at The Selvedge Yard
Griffin attended Chouinard Art Institute which would set the course for this next stage of his life. As an art school student Griffin met fellow artist and future wife, Ida Pfefferle, and started hanging with the Jook Savages– a group of musicians / artists. In ’66, with the Psychedelic movement tugging at them, Rick & Ida headed to San Francisco, living out of their van for a while, and regrouped with the Jooks– for who Griffin would create his first poster. His work was soon in high demand for its trademark creative blend of Native American, surf & psychedelic influences. Everyone wanted Griffin to do their posters– from Jimi Hendrix, to the band his work is most popularly associated with– The Grateful Dead. Now among the leaders in the poster art industry, Griffin teamed-up with fellow artists Alton Kelley, Stanley “Mouse” Miller, Victor Moscoso, and Wes Wilson to form the Berkeley-Bonaparte distribution agency in ’67– the ultimate poster art producers of that time.
In ’69, Rick Griffin decided it was time to head back home to So Cal– settling with his wife in San Clemente. John Severson, founder of Surfer magazine, was working on his latest project– a surf film called Pacific Vibrations, and approached Griffin about doing the poster. What was supposed to take one month turned into an epic six-month drama, well told by Severson himself in the video below.
It was artists like Rick Griffin that helped start the whole t-shirt generation by putting one of a kind artwork on t-shirt blanks. Without talented and original artists like Rick Griffin we would not have the great vintage t-shirts that we have today.