WES WILSON (born July 15, 1937) is an American artist and one of the leading designers of psychedelic posters. Most well known for designing posters for Bill Graham of the The Fillmore in San Francisco, he invented a style that is now synonymous with the peace movement, psychedelic era and the 1960s. In particular, he is known for inventing and popularizing a "psychedelic" font around 1966 that made the letters look like they were moving or melting. It was very common by the 1970s. Among his iconic designs, the skull used by the band "The Grateful Dead" is one of his most famous.Q1. Is there one song or record that has really had a life changingimpact on you?WW: I've enjoyed lots of great folk and pop songs and rock and roll music hugely - but as far as 'life changing' I'd say it has to be the Beethoven classic - his 9th - the Choral Symphony.
Q1. Is there one song or record that has really had a life changing impact on you?
WW: I've enjoyed lots of great folk and pop songs and rock and roll music hugely - but as far as 'life changing' I'd say it has to be the Beethoven classic - his 9th - the Choral Symphony.
Q2. Your psychedelic rock poster designs are so classic now and have really become cultural icons specifically the skull used by the "Grateful Dead". Did you have any idea that this would happen?...that the the peace movement, psychedelic era would change the world visually, the way it has?
WW: No, not to the degree that it has - but especially not 'the skull' for the early Grateful Dead poster I did for the Family Dog in San Francisco circa 1966. I was never artistically inspired by 'The Dead' the way so many others were. Inspirationally - I definitely preferred the music and of bands 'the Jefferson Airplane' and 'The Doors' for my image inspirations - they were more poetic in a life affirming way.
Q3. You have some wonderful watercolors and drawings that can be viewed on your site (http://www.wes-wilson.com). These include 'Apple: Rhythm and News Logo' and 'Apple: Worldwide Development Conference 08'. Are these sketches for commercial works and has your output always been prolific throughout your career?
WW: Yes, thank you - Apple asked me to do those two and I enjoyed doing so since I've long liked Applecomputers like my Macintosh especially well. Steve Jobs used to bekind of a hippie and I was happy to be of help. Yes, I keep active in doing my studio artwork both for fun and profit. I try to balance it with my outside ranching activities which I also love very much.
Q4. I love your 1990's poster art 'zine called OFFtheWALL(tm). Can you give a little background about that publication for the benefit of Rebel Rebel readers? (The full set of nine issues are available to buy at http://www.wes-wilson.com).
WW: Yes OFFtheWALLtm is one of my inspired works along with the Rock Art Expos - which I also began back in the 1990s as a way for all rock poster artists to deal directly with the public outside of galleries, etc. The nine issues of OFFtheWALLtm were a lot of fun for me. The three annual San Francisco Rock Art Expos were a lot of fun too. The Rock Poster Society formed up when I stopped doing the expos myself - and happily they'restill happening out in San Francisco annually at the same location. I will be attending this year's San Francisco TRPS event on October 8th.
Q5. You are known for inventing a "psychedelic" font around 1966 that made the letters look like they were moving or melting. I see that Oasis front man Liam Gallagher has used a similar font for his new band 'Beady Eye'. Would you say that it seems the world has turned again and your psychedelic aesthetic is back in vogue?
WW: So it seems. Actually I don't think that font has been too far out of vogue since the 1960s.