Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Artist of the Day, August 31, 2021: Alton Kelley, an American artist (psychedelic art) (#1352)

Alton Kelley (1940 – 2008) was an American artist known for his psychedelic art, in particular his designs for 1960s rock concert posters and album covers. Along with artists Rick Griffin, Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso and Wes Wilson, Kelley founded the Berkeley Bonaparte distribution agency in order to produce and sell psychedelic poster art.

Alton Kelley, while the least artistically talented of the “Big Five” San Francisco poster artists, had perhaps the largest role in launching the graphical arm of the psychedelic poster scene.

Born in Houlton, Maine, Kelley is remembered as the creator of hundreds of classic psychedelic rock posters, such as the famed "skull and roses" poster for a Grateful Dead show at the Avalon Ballroom. Mr. Kelley and Mouse created 26 posters for just the first year of the Avalon's operation.

But prior to that, Kelley was one of four people who called themselves The Family Dog and decided to throw the world's first psychedelic dance-concerts at Longshoreman's Hall in September 1965, essentially starting the San Francisco scene. The quartet had just returned to the Bay Area after spending an LSD-drenched summer restoring a silver rush dancehall in Virginia City, Nev., called the Red Dog Saloon.

Mr. Kelley, a motorcycle enthusiast since his youth, who painted pinstripes on bike gas tanks, designed the flyers advertising the original Family Dog shows, but lacked drafting ability. When he met Stanley Mouse, who had recently relocated from Detroit where he made a name for himself doing hot rod art, Mr. Kelley found the draftsman he needed. The two formed Mouse Studios and cranked out art together, with Kelley's drawing skills eventually improving to the point where left-handed Kelley would be working on one side of the easel, and right-handed Mouse on the other.

"He had the most impeccable taste of anybody I knew," said Mouse, "He would do the layouts, and I would do the drawing." They worked together steadily for 15 years and on and off thereafter. Their studios was located in a converted Lower Haight firehouse in San Francisco where Janis Joplin first rehearsed with Big Brother and the Holding Company. They also opened a store called Pacific Ocean Trading Company (POT Co.), one of the first head shops in Haight-Ashbury.

Mouse said they could work for hours in silence. "We knew what to do," he said. "We didn't have to talk." During the heyday of the Avalon Ballroom, the pair would frequent the SF Public Library (otherwise known as “the Internet,” in 1967), looking for images they could employ in their poster-making. "Stanley and I had no idea what we were doing," Kelley told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2007,"but we went ahead and looked at American Indian stuff, Chinese stuff, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modern, Bauhaus, whatever. We were stunned by what we found and what we were able to do. We had free rein to just go graphically crazy. Before that, all advertising was pretty much just typeset with a photograph of something."

The work of Kelley and Mouse has come to be recognized as a 20th century American counterpart to the French poster art of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec during the Belle Époque, although the two psychedelic artists never imagined at the time they were creating anything of enduring value, anything more than another crazy poster for this week's Avalon show. "We were just having fun making posters," said Mouse. "There was no time to think about what we were doing. It was a furious time, but I think most great art is created in a furious moment."

Kelley continued to make posters all his life, although his artwork in the recent past concentrated on his air-brushed paintings of hot rods and custom cars that was both sold as fine art and reproduced on T-shirts. He died in Petaluma California in 2008.

© 2021. All content on this blog is protected by international copyright laws All images are copyrighted © by Alton Kelley/Stanley Mouse or assignee. Apart from fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, the use of any image from this site is prohibited unless prior written permission is obtained. All images used for illustrative purposes only

Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse

196,7 Soul Survivors, Box Tops

1965, Janis Joplin & Big Brother "Zig Zag"

1966, Daily Flash Quick Silver Family Dog

1966, Dollar bill: The family dog

1966, skeleton and roses concert poster

1966, Zebra Man 13th Floor Elevator

1966-67, Moby Grape, The Sparrow, Charlatans

1967,  Human Be In

1967, Allmen Joy postcard

1967, Buffalo Springfield, Collectors, Hour Glass

1967, Canned Heat, All Men Joy

1967, Grateful Dead – 1st Album

1967, Jimi hendrix experience, country joe & the fish, Avalon Ballroom

1967, Other Half and Sons of Champlin

1967, the Grateful Dead at the Avalon Ballroom

1967, Van Morrison postcard

1968 Memorial Day Weekend - Carousel Ballroom

1968, Carousel Ballroom Van Nes and Market Steve Miller band

1968, Family Dog presents It's a Gas

1968, It's a beautiful day postcard

1968, The Who-Grateful Dead at the Fillmore West

1970's, Home Grown

1970, Portland Zoo, Turle soup & Nazz-are in Beaver Hall

1970, Sunday Ramparts

1972, Rolling Thunder

1977, Wings- Paul McCartney in Concert

1979 Journey Poster

Journey, 1979 World Tour Program Book Cover

1983, Book of the Deadheads Poster

1986,  Meet the Rockabyes

1994, 3 ½ Hours of Peace and Music

1994, Tribute to Chet Helms

1997,  Book of Dreams Album Cover

1997, Grateful Dead Jester

1997, Grateful Dead On the Road

1997, Grateful Dead On the Road

1997, Santana

1998, Absolut

2000, Winged Eyeball


Monday, August 30, 2021

Artist of the Day, August 30, 2021: Paul Jenkins, an American abstract expressionist painter (#1351)

 Paul Jenkins (1923 – 2012) was an American abstract expressionist painter and member of the New York School.

William Paul Jenkins (known as Paul Jenkins) was born in Kansas City, Missouri, where he was raised. He met Frank Lloyd Wright who was commissioned by the artist's great-uncle, the Rev. Burris Jenkins to rebuild his church in Kansas City, Missouri after a fire. (Wright suggested that Jenkins should think about a career in agriculture rather than art.) The young Jenkins also visited Thomas Hart Benton and confided his intention to become a painter. The Eastern art collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum had an early influence on him.

In his teenage years, Jenkins moved to Struthers, Ohio to live with his mother, and stepfather, who both ran the local newspaper, the Hometown Journal. After graduating from Struthers High School, he served in the U.S. Maritime Service and entered the U.S. Naval Air Corps during World War II. In 1948, he moved to New York City where, on the G.I. Bill, he studied at the Art Students League of New York for four years. During that time, he met Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and Barnett Newman. In 1953, he traveled to Europe, working for three months in Taormina in Sicily before settling in Paris, France. From 1955 on, the artist shared his time between New York and Paris.

Jenkins’s innovative practice was characterized by his choice to avoid the paintbrush altogether, instead allowing pigment to pool, bloom, or roll across the surface of his canvases, guiding the paint with a knife to create fluid fields of color, as seen his work Phenomena Anderson (1972). “With the smooth organic surface of the ivory, I could use great pressure against the sensitive tooth of the canvas,” the artist said of his process. Jenkins worked at a ceramics factory in his youth, an experience that heavily influenced his tactile methods of painting. Jenkins remained tied to the city even during his move to Paris during the 1950s. The painter died on June 9, 2012 in New York, NY at the age of 88. Today, his works are included in the collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others.

© 2021. All content on this blog is protected by international copyright laws All images are copyrighted © by Paul Jenkins or assignee. Apart from fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, the use of any image from this site is prohibited unless prior written permission is obtained. All images used for illustrative purposes only

 Paul Jenkins

 Untitled, 1963

 Composition, 1964

Phenomena nearing spring solstice, 1966

Phenomena East Prevailing, 1967

Phenomena The Edge of Plume, 1967

Phenomena Dylan's Host, 1969

Phenomena Ever Cross Over, 1969

 Phenomena Kanemitsu Kite, 1969

 Untitled, 1970

Phenomena Bay of Turner Fire, 1972

 Phenomena Joyous Harbinger, 1972

Phenomena Violet Hump, 1972

Phenomena East Encounter, 1974

 Phenomena Hokusai Fall, 1974

 Phenomena Blue Rules the Day, 1975

 Phenomena Grid Three, 1975

 Phenomena Otherside, 1975

Phenomena Royal Violet Visitation, 1977

Phenomena Royal Violet Visitation, 1977

 Phenomena Land in Sight, 1978

Phenomena Snug Jade, 1978

 Phenomena Trigram Winds, 1978

 Phenomena Atsidi Sani Sign, 1979

 Phenomena Violet Visitation, 1979

 Phenomena WIndjammer West of Wall, 1979

  Untitled, 1980

 Continental Divide, 1981

 Mixed Media 3-D Collage, 1981

 Phenomena Cardinal Points, 1981

 Vermillion Enigma, 1981

  Phenomena on way back, 1963

 Phenomena Entrance to Peking, 1989

 Phenomena Hamlet The Dane, 1989

Untitled, 1989-90

Nile Bloom