Grateful Dead, Tie dye, Magic & Consciousness
In the early days the Grateful Dead experience was all about the magic and the consciousness of a new era. I was fortunate to come unto the scene in those magical times, and can now share a part in Rock History. There was a renaissance of consciousness about living a lifestyle that was in tune with Mother Earth. It was about seeking out one's own spiritual path and living in an awareness of a better way. Love, Peace and freedom was the theme. All us hippies had an aliveness and awareness beyond our times. We were untouched by social stigmas we felt free! Music, marijuana, LSD and love was in the air!
My art represented that magic we all were experiencing and our creativity was at a peak with the flux and flow of this cosmic consciousness riding in on the waves of the music, color and light being created.
I was commissioned to do speaker fronts for the Band and soon was a hit with the Grateful Dead fans as well. Tie dye was hip. We were an enigma for sure to the straight society we grew up in, and were loving every minute of our differences. We were truly the new Counterculture of our time and that movement still exists today.
Grateful Dead at the Greek - 1981
I did speaker fronts for the Grateful Dead, and then Mandalas and Tie dye shirts for just about everyone in that family and scene in those early days of the 70's.I later was commissioned by Bill Graham to create entire backgrounds for the stage such as this on at the Greek Theater in 1982. I did this tie dye backdrop in about 200 hours work, sometimes going non-stop with just cat naps to get them ready in time. There where 16 matching panels. After the concert I sold them each separately to people who had come to me during the concert wanting a piece of history, they paid for them on the spot. I got $300 a piece for each panel.
I had a tie dye factory going outside in those days. I did so many t-shirts sometimes doing 40 at a time, which would take me 2 days working night and day.
It was hard work but everyone so enjoyed them, I had a waiting list. The Grateful Dead quipies would buy them straight from me in those early days for $4.00 and resell them for up to $100!
As soon as they said they were made by the guy that did the speaker fronts for the band, people would pay anything!I was happy they were making money on it. And I was flourishing in my art, and business was off the charts.
This photo was at place in Debbie and Alan Trist's place in Marin in the early days. Many friends from the Grateful Dead would come by. I remember our old friend Peter Monk was there, and Alan would be around quite often. I would tie at night and dye outside in the daytime. It was a wonderful setting out in the sunshine, creating a kind of Alchemical magic with fabric and dyes. I would make these Mandalas and backgrounds for stage in a Zen fashion. Focusing on the inner power and calling on my higher presence to bring in the beauty of the light, color and mystical to create something magical everytime.
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