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Vintage Rock Posters - Concert Poster Art

The beginning of vintage rock posters starts in 1955.  All posters of rocks’ early years (‘55-‘65) were done in a “boxing style” with heavy emphasis on key words (usually names) and done in wood block. These rare concert posters are sought not for their beauty;  but, because they capture the raw and authentic look of rocks first bygone era.  It’s where it all began. (see Ben Friedman’s Postermat)


James Brown - Apollo
Buddy Holly - Dion Poster
Rock n Roll Bowling


1960s posters are considered to be “The Golden Age of Rock Posters”.   In the sixties new music was produced stateside in response to the “British Invasion” creating a new school of concert poster art. This stood in dramatic contrast with the art of rocks’ earlier era. 


Moscoso Pposter
Wes Wilson Poster
Bonnie MacLean Poster


Bill Graham commissioned hundreds of artists, printers and promoters to create posters, handbills and original tickets designs for the Fillmore East and Fillmore West venues.  “Posters had a place because they spread the word far beyond any one show, they were part of the overall event”- Bill Graham  

(Supplying one of the largest series of vintage rock posters in the world, he continues…)  

“People grew to love the posters because the art was not subject to commercialization.  The posters happened on their own as they were meant to be.”  

Bill Graham’s Fillmore concerts created a cottage industry that produced outstanding modern graphics and craftsmanship.  Today they hang along side fine art and modern art in museums all over the world.  Rare concert posters are in high demand as investments and for their aesthetic pleasure.


Greatful Dead-Avalon Ballroom


The Artists

“The 1960s were where fine art and commercial art met.  It was a great time, it meant breaking all the rules” – Stanley Mouse  1987 

It started in early 1964.  A new form of music was emerging with bands like The Charlatans in response to “Beatle Mania” and the musical British Invasion.  Simultaneously, psychedelic poster art was born. The posters stylized, forged and enhanced the new music form.  This new genre of art also reflected the life style of a new generation.  Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, and Wes Wilson were some of the big names akin to  concert poster art in the sixties.  

The artists drew on what they called the “image bank”, “the graphic flea market” – reproductions of old masters, movie stills, and comic books were all considered potential visual material.  

"We had no real direction, (in the early work) It was wild and wide open, and anything went. We just wanted them to be real visual and real noticeable” – Alton Kelley