Oh, how we long for the warped Technicolor days of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. For an original art-rock ensemble, this Rick Griffin-designed concert poster promoting a 1968 show at Crawford Hall in Irvine, California is a perfect visual testament to the wondrous, whacked out world of the Captain. Griffin was arguably the most successful and best known poster artist of the psychedelic age, and emblazoned here on this concert poster are some signature Griffin images—a heart, wings, and an eyeball, cast in a surreal mold with pulsating colors of the rainbow, a befitting accompaniment for the maniacal music of this band.
Rick Griffin grew up in the surfing culture of Southern California, a milieu which had a profound influence on his art. After high school, he worked on the staff of Surfer magazine and created the best-known surfing cartoon character of the time, Murphy. After his move to San Francisco in 1967, be began combining eclectic typefaces and decorative borders with brilliant colors in his concert posters. Griffin's compositions were complex without being illegible. A perfectionist, Griffin often applied dozens of overlays and redrew lettering again and again until he was satisfied. In the early 1970s, Griffin became a born-again Christian and religious themes dominated his work until his death in a motorcycle accident in 1991.