The 60’s Seattle area poster scene has been chronicled in this new, hardcover, 150 page volume titled: Split Fountain Hieroglyphics: Psychedelic Concert Posters from the Seattle Area, 1966-1969. With help from Glen Beebe (design/production), Ben Marks (editor) and a foreword by Art Chantry, I’ve published a limited edition of 500, signed and numbered books. With almost 200, full color illustrations of concert art, artist interviews and essays covering topics such as the Piano Drop and Sky River, Split Fountain Hieroglyphics delivers!Split Fountain Hieroglyphics: Psychedelic Concert Posters from the Seattle Area, 1966-1969.
When people think of 1960s psychedelic rock posters, the work of San Francisco artists Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, Wes Wilson, Victor Moscoso, and Rick Griffin usually comes to mind. Lately, though, less heralded rock-poster artists who were also working during that storied era — albeit not in cities as storied as San Francisco — are starting to get their moment in the sun. Earlier this year, the University of Texas Press’s Homegrown shined a light on Gilbert Shelton, Jim Franklin, and other Austin artists. Now, Split Fountain Hieroglyphics: Psychedelic Concert Posters from the Seattle Area, 1966-1969 reintroduces the world to John Moehring, Gary Eagle, and Jacques Moiteret, to name but a few of the artists whose work — and, in some cases, words — are featured in this beautifully illustrated hardcover book.
Taking the first part of its title from a printing technique that was popular back in the day, Split Fountain Hieroglyphics was written and published by Seattle rock-poster artist and collector Scott McDougall, with a foreword by punk-poster pioneer Art Chantry, design by Glen Beebe, and editing by yours truly. In the course of 149 pages and almost 200 photographs, it chronicles what was happening in the Seattle-area music scene while the rest of the world was focused on concerts in places like the Fillmore Auditorium and Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco’s reigning music halls.
As such, Split Fountain Hieroglyphics is definitely about who did what and when, but it’s also a study in what can happen to a region’s aesthetic when the stakes are low. In the case of Seattle in the late 1960s, some artists simply stole their ideas from those who had come before; indeed, Split Fountain Hieroglyphics is filled with frank admissions of this sincerest form of flattery. Other artists ignored the prevailing winds of taste and charted their own courses, with predictably mixed results. A handful did both, and then managed to evolve into artists whose work would have looked entirely at home on the walls of the Fillmore or Avalon. But these artists would toil in obscurity, in no small part because they had chosen to live in the shadow of Mount Rainier rather than Mount Tam. – Ben Marks