Rick Griffin was born in Ranchos Palos Verdes, California in 1944. He grew up immersed in the world of surfing. One of his first jobs after high school was on the staff of Surfer Magazine where he created a comic strip character named “Murphy.” “Murph the Surf” would become one of the most recognizable icons of the blossoming surf culture.
Drawn to the art scene that was flowering in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, Griffin quickly established himself as a major force in this creative hotbed. In 1967 he designed a legendary poster for the Human Be-In, an event that arguably began the Summer of Love. His famous “gathering of tribes” imagery juxtaposed a Native American on horseback with a guitar in his hands.
As his work gained more and more notoriety, Chet Helms took notice and enlisted Griffin to create promotional posters for legendary bands and artists like the Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix. Griffin also designed the distinctive logo for Rolling Stone magazine and countless album covers.
Beyond his wildly influential poster work, Griffin was a key player in the underground comics scene. As a frequent contributor to Zap Comix, Griffin’s art offered insightful social commentary and biting satire.
He continued to illustrate album covers, flyers and logos throughout the Seventies and Eighties. Sadly Griffin’s life was cut short by a motorcycle accident in 1991.