Erik Davis on psychedelic poster pioneer Rick Griffin

 2010 09 Gd439460

My favorite magickal, mystical tour guide Erik Davis of Expanding Mind and Techgnosis fame wrote a two-part column on iconic 60s-70s psychedelic poster/comix/surf artist Rick Griffin. From HiLowbrow:

 Wp-Content Uploads 2012 07 Surfer

Griffin was a subcultural initiate who channeled the visual smorgasbord of freak esoterica while lending it a uniquely visionary — and pictographic — depth. And when Griffin accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior in 1970 — a conversion that inflected but did not squelch his ongoing engagement with surfing, comix, visionary art, and popular culture — Griffin gave voice to one of the strangest and most misunderstood currents of California freak religiosity: the rebellion against the rebellion, the One Way of Christ that cuts through the labyrinth of mystical hedonism.

Griffin’s career can be loosely divided into three overlapping and interpenetrating phases: surfing, psychedelia, and Christianity. Growing up near the knob of Palos Verdes, which lies on the coast between Los Angeles and Long Beach, Griffin spent his time surfing and drawing. He loved Mad magazine, and Don Martin’s goofy illustrative line infused Griffin’s semi-autobiographical surf bum character Murphy, who was quickly adopted as a friendly icon of the scene.

"Rick Griffin, Superstar" Part One and Part Two


  1. Great article. I got into collecting psychedelic handbills and posters from the sixties for awhile and Griffin’s are among the most beautiful, and expensive. I was fortunate enough to get a flying eyeball Hendrix poster before collecting those things became too ridiculously expensive for me.  

  2. There was a nice Rick Griffin retrospective at the Laguna Beach Museum of Art a few years ago. Fantastic to see Griffin’s art in its full-blown glory. The catalog is worth tracking down

  3. Could you put a NSFW tag on the first link (I didn’t look at the second)?  I was expecting just some psychedelic art but there’s a photo with a naked lady part-way down the page.  I don’t mind it, but my boss might!

  4. What is this “near the knob of Palos Verdes” BS? Did he grow up in Palos Verdes or not? Or are people allergic to saying San Pedro for some reason? Or Redondo Beach?

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