late Rick Griffin's posters possessed an almost irrepressible energy.
His work combined striking imagery, wildly modified 19th century typefaces
and strongly contrasting colors. The resulting images had a strong visual
impact but usually remained readable. Once seen, Griffins's posters stayed
imprinted on the viewer's mind.
Rick Griffin was actually a native Southern Californian who grew up surfing
on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. His father was an engineer with an interest
in Southwestern archaeology. Family trips to the great American southwest
were a formative influence on Griffin as western imagery later informed
his poster work of the 1960's. As a boy, Griffin drew incessantly and
he was a natural draftsman. He began working for Surfer Magazine while
she was a student. While he was on the staff at Surfer, he invented the
surfing character "Murph the Surf" who was destined to decorate
the notebooks of thousands of young surfers.
While he was at Surfer, Griffin had already joined the growing counterculture
and he was living with a tribal cooperative known as the "Jook Savages".
He sought to improve his artistic skills by taking courses at Chouinard
Art Institute, a well established art school in the old MacArthur Park