The 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 neighborhood.

Zig Zag Man (1967)
Rick Griffin
California Litho Plate
Jeffrey Morseburg
to be continued...
Copyright 2003 Jeffrey Morseburg
Not to be reproduced without the author's specific permission.