Rick Griffin "1997 Surf Culture"

Artist/designers of surf and psychedelic posters


PHOTO: 1971 Rick Griffin, The Heart Painting "Rick was on one of his Jesus trips," recall John Van Hamersveld . Photo Courtesy JVH.

PHOTO: 1968, Rick Griffin and John Van Hamersveld (creator of the Endless Summer movie poster) at Victor Moscoso's Studio in the Mission Delores Park Area, San Francisco, CAPHOTO: Courtesy of Ron Stoner

A Southern California teenager in the 1950s, Rick Griffin was still developing his artistic style when John Severson, founder of Surfer magazine, visited his high school and got a glimpse of his work. Impressed by Griffin's unique style and enthusiasm for the sport, Severson eventually invited him to work as an artist for Surfer magazine.

By graduation, Griffin's artwork began showing up on covers of surf publications, on surf music albums and inside comic books and magazines. Griffin experienced a brief encounter with traditional art school, attending Chouinard Art School, but the "Duke" of surf art primarily gained long-lasting fame through his creation of the cartoon grommet "Murphy" for Surfer — a character who personified the surfing lifestyle and appeared on the cover of a Surfer issue in 1962.

Moving to San Francisco in 1965, Griffin, now deceased, became actively involved in the culture movement of that area creating posters and handbills for such noted artist as Janice Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. He broke artistic ground by creating radical posters for rock concerts and the famous Filmore and Avalon Ballroom. During the 1980s, he spent much of his time creating artwork for the Grateful Dead.

Macgillivray Freeman Films
Macgillivray Freeman Films
Chris Bystrom Productions
Chris Bystrom Productions
PHOTO: 1969, Rick and Ida Griffin with daughter Adelia near Baker Beach, San Franciso, CA. Courtesy JVH.