Though it’s probably not very visible in most of my work, psychedelic-poster pioneer Wes Wilson is a huge influence on me and his work more than anyone else’s sparked my passion for poster art.
I’ve been wanting to do a Bill Graham-era homage ever since I started making posters so I was super excited to do a Fillmore print for Umphrey’s. People often associate the style with hippie culture, and that’s not inappropriate, but a key part of the magic that happened in that short time from 1967-72 was the diversity of performers and crowd alike.
Graham was purposeful in promoting a wide range of styles — mixing together blues, jazz, rock, folk, R&B acts on the same bill — which was quite unique at the time. This brought all sorts of cats together, and results were overwhelmingly positive for the sense of community people shared at those dance hall concerts.
It was an amazing time and place in the context of the rock’n'roll concert with many firsts. Graham et al essentially created the prototype for a proper rock gig as far as I’m concerned: great mix of performers, friendly crowd, far-out light show, and — most importantly of course — cool posters.