During the 60’s-70’s there was a revolution in the manner in which culture manifested, almost a renascence in the tame values handed down by the previous decades. The ideal lifestyle of pure uninterrupted escapism, the 60’s and 70’s set the foundation for the world of psychedelic pop culture to spur upwards and outwards in all of its dazzling hypnotic display.
Rick Griffin was, himself, as unique and unpredictable as the time in which he occupied. Griffin’s posters for prominent cultural icons (e.g. Jimi Hendrix, and the Doors) reflect a style he developed from a young age as a cartoonist, and the psychedelic imagery that often accompanied the more intriguing aspects of American underground culture.
The psychedelic movement within the world of design, of which Griffin was very much a part of, attempted to mimic the effects of perception alteration with visuals that strive to capture outer world experiences. Griffin’s work is very convoluted, and manages to convey this essence of a visual punch to the senses. The typography is near impossible to decipher, lettering bleeds, tangles, and blends together, yet this isn’t a flaw in his work, in truth a success in portraying the themes of his clients.
Griffin also drew inspiration from Native American culture, much of the characters (e.g. the golden beetle) were derived from their spiritual beliefs. The spiritual side to Griffin’s work is very much a notable feature, with symbols and entities that seem otherworldly.
The combination of surreal imagery and fluid text amounts to a cohesive visual, producing a product that seems whole and composed as a single piece, as apposed to the cutting a slicing of various “pretty things” to fill the parameters of a page. The text and illustrations complement one another, and at times visually blend together seamlessly.
Griffin’s work delivers the kind of personality present within the area of culture he worked alongside, at a glance the mind is transported to the notions of a psychedelic era.