Tonight, .T.F.R. Gallery in San Diego is opening John Van Hamersveld: Prints from 1965 - Present, a solo-exhibition of framed prints from the renowned and prolific graphic artist. John Van Hamersveld has been producing images that have defined the visual representation of surf and rock ‘n’ roll culture for over 50 years. Starting off his career with the immensely successful movie poster for The Endless Summer in 1966, Van Hamersveld’s influence on the world of graphic images was immediately profound. From there he moved on to produce over 300 album covers, including designs for the Beatles’ American pressing of the Magical Mystery Tour, the Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main St., Jefferson Airplane’s Crown of Creation, Grateful Dead’s Skeletons in the Closet, Blondie’s Eat to the Beat, KISS’ Hotter Than Hell, the Beach Boys’ Wild Honey, and the Doors’ An American Prayer. In addition to these iconic album covers, Van Hamersveld also drafted the world famous image of Jimi Hendrix for his Pinnacle show at the Shrine Auditorium in 1968 along several other unforgettable show posters for Cream, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Traffic, the Jeff Beck Group, and Buffalo Springfield. Van Hamersveld’s influence in the world of graphic images has remained active all the way to the present day, mere examples including his mural for the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles and the eye-popping images for the 2009 Billabong Pipeline Masters. Van Hamersveld’s drawing style and design prowess has not only shaped how we visually understand these various West Coast counter culture movements, but it also greatly influenced artists working today, including Shepard Fairey, who notes Van Hamersveld as one of the most prominent influences on his own stylistic development.
The prints available at the gallery for the exhibition will draw from various points in the artist’s career, incorporating, revisiting, and reviving different motifs that have moved in and out of Van Hamersveld’s work as a draftsman and designer. The image of Jimi Hendrix is presented in a new and vibrant color way. The drawing for the Cream Reunion Tour album cover is captured in a seductive monochrome. Various more recent wave images stylistically reference the patterns and drawing techniques that began decades prior. As a whole, the collection of prints plays between the different stages of Van Hamersveld’s own development as an individual draftsman as well as a producer of images that helped proliferate the circulation of all things that came to be known as inherently West Coast.
In addition to the framed prints available in the show, Van Hamersveld will be present in the gallery for the opening reception signing posters and his newly released book Fifty Years of Graphic Design which catalogs his career in its entirety with 304 pages of informative writing, illustrations, and vignettes.
Van Hamersveld attained his undergraduate degree from Art Center College of Design and his masters from Chouinard and later became an instructor at the California Institute of the Arts. His works are in the collections of various large institutions including The Smithsonian, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Experience Music Project, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Van Hamersveld will also be having a concurrent exhibition at the Cal State Northridge University Gallery surveying the drawings behind his graphic works from 1968-2012.
John Van Hamersveld: Prints from 1965 - Present
.T.F.R. Gallery, San Diego
August 16th - October 8th