Monday, 4 April 2016

"Cyberdelic Neo-roccoco....."

 Lee Conklin at The Rock Poster Society (TRPS) Festival of Rock Posters, San Franscisco, 16 October 2004

Lee Conklin (b.1941) produced some of the most exciting, stimulating and strange posters to come out of the melting pot that was San Francisco during the latter part of the 1960s. Calling his art "cyberdelic neo-rococo", Conklin referenced the Sixties psychedelic alongside the Late Baroque, 18th century art movements - a combination which remains somewhat unique. His work is included amongst the iconic Fillmore series of concert posters which are renown in the history of psychedelic art and much prized by collectors and cultural institutions alike. Conklin is not listed as one of the famous five rock poster artists who kicked off the movement in 1966 - namely Rick Griffin, Stanley Mouse, Wes Wilson, Victor Moscoso and Alton Kelly - however he was a prolific and important contributor between 1968 and 1970. Like Bonnie Maclean, Conklin is less well known, yet his work exhibits a unique artistry and has received increased recognition with the passage of time. Conklin's posters from the Sixties blend the psychedelic with the tradition of fine line drawing and narrative imagery dating back to the Renaissance and artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel, through to the rococo with its florid and curvaceous motifs. During the late Sixties Conklin preferred working in pen and ink, constructing highly detailed drawings featuring naked bodies and limbs, intertwined and transmogrified into elements of nature, the landscape and animals. Perhaps the most famous example is the lion's head which first appeared as a poster in 1968 and the following year graced the cover of Santana's first album.

 Lee Conklin, Steppenwolf ... Fillmore West, BG134, 27 August - 1 September 1968, poster.

Conklin produced posters for Bill Graham and his Fillmore / Fillmore West / Winterland venues from January 1968 through to May of 1969. At that point he had a falling out with the promoter over a financial matter and the two went their separate ways. He subsequently produced three posters for the California venue known as The Barn, and in October 1969 a Fillmore West benefit concert poster appeared featuring Conklin's art, though without any reference to Bill Graham. His famous lion image artwork for Santana was used by the band in a number of posters between 1969-71, and at the end of 1970 he was involved in the production of a cover for the final issue of Psychedelic Review magazine. The following year (1971) The Print Mint published a 48 page collection in black of white of his art, called Veeva la Mutation Copulation. Notice of it appeared in the LA Free Press edition of 14 May 1971, with a cover page drawing on section two.

After this Conklin left San Francisco, traveled around with his wife and eventually settled for a period near New York. He did not produce posters for a number of years, though eventually returned to California and from 1990 pursued his art in a full-time capacity. Conklin remains active, and his website make reference to both historic and current works.

This current blog lists and describes Conklin's posters from the period, discussing the art contained therein with reference to production, content and influences. A list of related online and published material is included at the end of the individual poster descriptions, along with historic interviews with the artist. Unless otherwise stated, all posters listed below were produced using the photographic offset lithograph technique, and the majority therein by Tea Lautrec Litho of San Francisco. They were printed on paper approximately 14 x 21 inches in size, which was a standard for the time. The format was usually portrait, with only two of the 39 listed posters in landscape. Variants of the Fillmore works were produced at the time in the form of postcards and handbills (approximately 4 1/2 x 7 inches in size) and smaller concert tickets. The latter often featured colour variations from the larger poster, though the same basic design. The postcards included the normal space for text and placement of a stamp on the rear, whilst the similarly sized handbills presented information on upcoming concerts and events at the various Bill Graham San Francisco venues. Due to their popularity, it was common to reprint the Fillmore posters following a concert, though this did not always occur - only 8 of the 33 original Fillmore posters by Conklin were reprinted at the time. The majority therefore posters only saw a single, initial pre-concert printing, whilst those few others went into 3 or 4 authorised post-concert editions and, in some cases, remain in print. With the following listing reference is made to the Wolfgang's Vault - the official Bill Graham archive and online sales outlet.

 Lee Conklin, Country Joe and the Fish.... Fillmore West, poster, BG149, 12 December 1968.

No. Poster Description

BG101 Vanilla Fudge Fillmore / Winterland

Vanilla Fudge, Steve Miller Blues Band and Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee 

Lights by Holy See 

Tea Lautrec Litho San Francisco / C1967 Bill Graham #101

4-6 January 1968

Conklin : "It was a Friday night .... I went into the Fillmore with my drawings, and Bill Graham just liked what he saw. He needed a poster done that weekend for the following week's show, so I went to work adding lettering to a drawing I had previously done - one that he especially liked." This obviously took place during the latter part of December 1967 as the poster bears a copyright date from that year. Graham claimed copyright on all posters for the Fillmore / Winterland, much to the chagrin of the original artists. 

The image features two naked bodies - a male and female - in an embrace, though the top portion of their bodies is in the form of two clasped hands. The face of the moon looks over them pensively from above. They are surrounded by flowers and marching birds appear at their feet. The final poster is a straight reproduction of Conklin's original drawing. The artist later produced a variant of this image as a wedding memento for two friends.

The poster was printed on white paper with black ink. The first printing was on matted, unglossy stock; the second on glossy, shiny stock. Red ink was added, or used, for the Thursday and Friday night tickets, with plain black for Saturday. It was usual for the Saturday, or final night tickets to fully replicate the poster and postcard in regards to colouring.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: BG101 was Lee Conklin's first poster for Bill Graham. Conklin sketched the lettering around a drawing he'd already completed, and the design bore little symbolic relation to the advertised performers. The poster was printed in original black and white, unusual for the time since Graham instructed his artists to "... make it bright!" The entwined hands gave a taste of the bizarre, psychedelic art Conklin would go on to produce. 


BG107 Butterfield Blues Band Fillmore / Winterland

Butterfield Blues Band, James Cotton Blues Band and Albert King

Lights by Holy See 

15-17 February 1968

This is Conklin's first poster printed in colour, utilising blue and purple inks on white paper. The fonts are relatively standard for the time, being rounded and balloon-like, though the artist has arranged them in a flat, linear format. The central figure features hands - the two feet are hands; the arms are replaced by two large hands almost in the style of wings; the neck is two small hands holding a disembodied head; the hair on the head comprises hands; two hands cover the genitalia; the eyes are hands; and a hand is extending upward from the skull. 

There were two official printings of the poster.  The three tickets display variants in colour. This was typical for the tickets produced by the Fillmore as it would help those at the door identify genuine items as opposed to forgeries. Graham was an astute businessman who also went to great effort to ensure the protection of his venue and the well-being of his performers and audience.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: Hands in all the right, and sometimes odd places characterize this Conklin-drawn blues-rock offering.


BG108 The Who Fillmore

The Who, Cannonball Adderly and The Vagrants

Lights by Glenn McKay's Headlights 

22-24 February 1968

Fillmore Auditorium / Winterland 

The central image continues the human / nature transmogrification theme first seen in the Vanilla Fudge poster BG101. In this instance the butterfly-like creatures are composed of human bodies with an upper section of wing-like ears and indistinguishable human or bird faces. The feet are variously web-like, human or bird, whilst earrings grace two earlobes. The figures fly above a largely rocky landscape, within which is a couple walking hand in hand, a female laying down and an electrical socket connected to a large flower, which is attracting the butterflies.

The poster was printed in yellow, purple and blue. There were two official printings, the first on flat, uncoated paper and the second on glossy paper. The Saturday night ticket did not include the yellow. 

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: Lee Conklin was fascinated by all body parts, to wit the butterfly ears in BG108. Conklin studiously tried to integrate his psychedelic-high visions into his poster art, filling lettering and sketches with hidden, convoluted image upon image. Once one deciphered the Who and Cannonball Adderly in the heading of BG108, the eye could wander to the bottom sketch, rife with reference to unfettered nature, the electronic age and wonders of the inner mind.


BG109 Cream Fillmore / Winterland

Cream, Big Black and Loading Zone

Lights by Holy See and McKay's Headlights 

29 February - 3 March 1968

The central image features a sun, perhaps referencing the Cream's hit single Sunshine of Your Love. In a rare instance, Conklin has drawn the heads of the 3 band members and morphed them in with the text CREAM below. Amidst this and the lower text can be seen some indiscriminate head and body features which are typical of the artist's work from the period. The original artwork is a fine line drawing utilising cross-hatching to achieve texture and contrast. 

Printed by Tea Lautrec Litho, San Francisco, in yellow, turquoise and red inks which combine to give an overall orange and purple hue. There were two official printings. Tickets for the concert are known in a variety of printing colours e.g. red; turquoise and yellow; full colour no border; and full colour. 

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: The Cream rose to the top on this poster, indicating their stature at the time, in their return to the Bay Area and performances at Winterland and the Fillmore.

The original printer's artwork in pen and ink is reproduced below. It sold at a London auction in 2005 for £3200:


BG112 Moby Grape Fillmore/ Winterland

Moby Grape, Traffic, Lemon Pipers and Spirit

Lights by Holy See and McKay's Headlights

21-23 March 1968

The poster features a background drawing of disembodied heads, staring upwards, and in combination revealing a large face and other faces. In the foreground is the plain text identifying the bands etc. The drawing of the heads reflects a theme seen in many Conklin posters, include Cream BG109, Buffalo Springfield BG122 and Steppenwolf  / Santana BG134, whereby plaintive and simple drawing of faces trapped below a surface populate the landscape. 

The poster was printed in blue and orange inks on white paper. There were two official printings, along with original postcards and tickets.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: That was not a mottled background on BG112; it was another example of Conklin's fascination with minute, detailed imagery to provide a not-blank slate for his posters.

Conklin later produced a serigraph print in silver of the background image of faced. Within this print we can see the multi-layered faces, with at least three levels of faces within faces or combined to reveal new faces.


BG121 Yardbirds Fillmore

Yardbirds, It's a Beautiful Day and Cecil Taylor

Lights by Holy See 

23-25 May 1968

Fillmore Auditorium

The central image is a typical Conklin transmogrification of human figures, animals (birds) and nature to give an overall representation of a head resting upon a foot. The featuring of birds is a direct link to the band name. The banner title YARDBIRDS at the top of the image comprises the space-between drawings of dove-like birds; the head is composed of a mixture of bodies and birds; the head of hair is a thicker line drawing featuring birds; and finally, the foot is made of toes, breasts and heads, with a rose protruding out of one of the faces. Additional text is included in yellow thought balloons. The lower section of the poster is a dark blue, perhaps representing the earth out of which is growing the human tree. The text in this and other Conklin posters is similar in style to that of his Fillmore poster art associate Greg Irons. Like Conklin, Irons produced detailed drawings in pen and ink, with some exhibiting a dark, satanic nature.

There was only one official printing of this poster, and this took place before the concert. The poster and postcards / handbills were printed in blue, yellow and black, with tickets printed in two colours - black / yellow or black / blue - and a final ticket in full colour.


Wolfgang's Vault 2016: Deep into the psychedelic age, poster artist Lee Conklin took the notion of visual hallucination to a whole new level with his twisted, writhing images of figures, faces, and hands morphing into… what is that thing, anyway? This concert poster for the Yardbirds is especially notable, as it promotes one of the last appearances by the famed group before Jimmy Page led them into the New Yardbirds, who then, of course, became Led Zeppelin.


BG122 Buffalo Springfield Fillmore / Winterland

Buffalo Springfield, Richie Havens and The Chambers Brothers 

Lights by Holy See 

29 May - 1 June 1968

The poster features a prostrate, naked female figure lying on grass and holding a bunch of flowers covering her pubic area, though with vagina (-like leaf?) exposed. Her feet are distinguished by toes of bald heads, supposedly screaming or singing. In the background is a horse on a hill with a purple sky. The lettering in the top half of the poster is flowery with extensions, reminiscent of the work of nineteenth century artist Aubrey Beardsley, though also Gothic. 

The poster was printed on white paper with purple and black ink. There was only one official printing, prior to the concert. Two tickets feature the use of blue and yellow inks not seen in the original poster, whilst the other two tickets feature the black and purple of the poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: Lee Conklin was "... getting into yoga..." in 1968, and the reclining figure in BG122 has a ten-toe choir because the meditating artist "... felt my toes tingle and sing." The artwork is similar to the pencil sketch drawing of his first poster for Bill Graham, but this time included a purple overlay in the printing process.


BG125 Chambers Brothers Fillmore

The Chambers Brothers, Quicksilver Messenger Service, It's A Beautiful Day, Sly and the Family Stone and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

18-23 June 1968

Fillmore Auditorium

The poster was printed in orange, blue and black inks, with a strong contrast between the orange and blue similar to the methods applied by Victor Moscoso in his posters from that period. The aim was to optically trick the eye - especially under ultraviolet light and/or the influence of hallucinogenic drugs - and cause the image to seemingly vibrate. The font is similar to that seen in the Buffalo Springfield poster BG122, being a mixture of Beardsley and Gothic. Conklin has produced a complex design in which the outline of naked female figures throughout is used to develop the lettering, and this is most evident in the upper Fillmore banner in black. He used previously used this device in the Yardbirds poster BG121. The figures are witch-like.

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: Conklin's famous Summer Series poster featuring naked-ladies lettering did a lot with just three colors. Erupting like a genie from its magic lamp, the offerings cascade down the poster and break into The Chambers Brothers, Quicksilver Messenger Service and others. Conklin was at his best here, creating complex, clever compositions.


BG126 Albert King Fillmore

Albert King, Ten Years After, Loading Zone, Canned Heat, Rain and Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks 

Tea Lautrec Litho, San Francisco, USA

25-30 June 1968

The poster was printed in black, blue and orange inks on white paper. It features a detailed ink drawing by Conklin comprising a large representation of FILLMORE in the upper part, with a female head as the "O", whilst the middle left section is a row of female breasts topped by motorcycle satyrs. The foreground and middle right is large masses with words protruding out of them referring to the bands and dates. In front is a sea with a small island, and in the middle of the drawing can be seen portions of ear, nose, toes and hand. The empty sky is not typical of Conklin's work.

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: When it came to creating psychedelic imagery, Lee Conklin had no peer. BG126 reveals more with each perusal, albeit revealing a lot of "ubiquitous breasts and butts" with every viewing. The first lineup featured two great blues-rockers, pioneering bluesman Albert King and Linda Tillery's Loading Zone, and the second headlined Ten Years After with virtuoso guitar player Alvin Lee and traditionalists Canned Heat.

BG127 Creedence Clearwater Revival Fillmore

Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steppenwolf, It's a Beautiful Day, Butterfield Blues Band, Ten Years After and Truth

2-7 July 1968

Fillmore Auditorium

The poster is printed in a number of colours and features a blue and green background with an egg-shaped central section comprising a detailed line drawing by Conklin, coloured in the style of watercolour. The top half of the egg is of a naked female lying on grass, with her large head of hair flowing down into the bottom egg. Within her hair is a pair of lips. On the grass to her left and right are two armadillo like creatures, whilst the woman's hands form around a butterfly. The lower half of the egg features a head with arms folded and no body. The top of the head is connected to the flowing hair above. The names of the bands are interspersed throughout the image, in ink and watercolour. Conklin has spoken of his lack of knowledge in regards to the application of colour to his posters through the printing process, and this is evidence of his experimentation at the time.

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.
Wolfgang's Vault 2016: A final six days of Sound at the Fillmore featured Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steppenwolf, the Butterfield Blues Band, Ten Years After and others in Conklin's pastel, mind-morphing imagery. This was the last concert held at the Fillmore Auditorium.

BG1281 Blues Bash - Electric Flag Fillmore

Electric Flag, Blue Cheer, Buddy Guy, Ike & Tina Turner and Freddy King

9 - 14 July 1968

The poster is printed in blue, pink and yellow / orange inks. The main feature is two blue satyrs confronting each other in anger - bashing their heads together - with their front hooves on a rock containing the names of the bands performing at the Blues Bash. The antlers of the satyrs extend into the title banner, presented in an elongated balloon font. At the top of the image is a yellow bird with wings extended and a pair of lips extending from its tail. The satyrs possess the large, ugly head of a male and the lower body of a slim, beautiful female. 

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.


Wolfgang's Vault 2016: The Blues Bash, featuring two different bills splitting six days evenly, was represented in Conklin's symmetrical, twin satyr poster. The satyr figure is unusual; the business end here is human, a reversal of the usual construction. Ike and Tina Turner made an appearance at the Fillmore West at this Bash.


BG129 Big Brother & the Holding Co. Fillmore

Big Brother & the Holding Co., Richie Havens, Illinois Speed Press, Sly and the Family Stone, Jeff Beck Group and Siegal Schwall 

Lights by Holy See

16-21 July 1968

The poster is printed in yellow, orange and pink inks. It features a very complex and strange drawing by Conklin, highlighted by relatively thick, wavy lines extending from the top to the bottom and forming the image through highlighting as opposed to cross-hatching. There are two large, pink, buttock-like areas in the upper section, with faces on their edge kissing each other. Amidst the title section at the top of the image can be seen a reptilian, scale-like veneer - an unformed creature - with two bird claw feet sitting on top of the buttocks. On the extreme upper left and right a group of small human figures are being flung into the sky, away from the creature. Conklin's ever-present disembodied faces can also be seen amongst the chaos. They can also be seen in the yellow border of the drawing, which extends down into the bottom half of the poster, which features words, faces, lines and two small, symmetrical, orange coloured oval shapes like watermelons. 

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: Complexity screamed from this Conklin work of art. No turn was unstoned on the poster, each letter and random sketch turned into something else at this Fillmore West concert. Featured artists Big Brother & the Holding Co., Richie Havens, Sly and the Family Stone and the Jeff Beck Group performed at two different, three-night runs.


BG130 Moby Grape Fillmore

Moby Grape, Jeff Beck Group, Mint Tattoo, Charles Lloyd Quartet, Herd and James Cotton Blues Band

23-28 July 1968

The poster is printed in orange, purple and green. The central feature is six, symmetrically-arranged lizards, partially entwined with bodies and tails extended. The text in the area between the animals and is in a font suggestive of the Orient. The extended fork tongues of the lizards form lines and ornamentation within the drawing, as do the reptilian scales.

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: Eastern influence dominated this Conklin poster in which slithering serpents split three-night stands of Moby Grape, Jeff Beck, Mint Tattoo and the Charles Lloyd Quartet, Herd, and James Cotton at the Fillmore West.


BG131 Butterfield Blues Band Fillmore West

Butterfield Blues Band, Hello People, Iron Butterfly, Canned Heat  and Initial Shock

Lights by Holy See

30 July - 4 August  1968

The poster is printed in purple, blue, orange/brown on a white background. It features a line drawing by Conklin with body parts in the upper section and an earthy ground below. The image is highlights by two arms symmetrically placed, with fingers extended and a floating part of a finger in between the two. Below are a group of clasping hands, resting upon a hand which sits on the jelly-like purple mass. Between the arms and hands, in the sky are white clouds featuring the names of the bands. The latter also appear within the purple jelly below. Two eyes and a nose can also be seen between the fingers of the clasped hands. 

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: Conklin's plump puffs, a departure from his usual lettering, lulled the reader into finding Butterfield Blues Band and Santana in the clouds, then challenged him to discover Iron Butterfly, Initial Shock and Canned Heat in the landscape. Pointing fingers and that eyeball may come from the artist's "mission to translate my psychedelic experience onto paper.


BG132 Chambers Brothers Fillmore West

Chambers Brothers, Charlatans, Queen Lilys Soap,
Eric Burdon & the Animals, Blood, Sweat & Tears and

Gypsy Wizard Band 

Lights by The Holy See

Lee Conklin / Tea Lautrec Litho / C1968 Bill Graham #132

6-11 August 1968

The poster is printed in blue, red and purple inks on a white background. The image is a typical, detailed ink drawing by Conklin, featuring hands. The ediface from top to bottom is largely made up of hands and fingers forming a tree-like structure, with the sinuous leaves / branches at the top composed of the names of performing bands in a bright red ink. Faces appear sporadically amongst the fingers, trapped beneath the skin. In the background can be seen a rising blue moon and stars in the blue and purple sky. Cross-hatching is used for highlights.The fonts are a mixture of the sinuous red strands above and the Oriental text in white on blue below. 

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: As one can see from BG132, artist Conklin's favorite image was the human hand. Advertising two shows featuring The Chambers Brothers and Charlatans, and Eric Burdon & the Animals with Blood, Sweat & Tears, hands make and dot the landscape." (Wolfgang's Vault)


BG134 Steppenwolf Fillmore West

Steppenwolf, Staple Singers, Santana, Grateful Dead,
Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Sons of Champlin 

Lights by Holy See

27 August - 1 September 1968

This is one of Conklin's most accomplished works and was later adapted for the album cover of the first Santana album, released in August 1969, following on a request by Carlos Santana to use the image. The original poster is a complex ink line drawing featuring the head of a lion surrounded by a complex array of band names and concert information. The fonts vary throughout, from the luminous, semi-opaque FILLMORE WEST title at the top through to the simple, circular National Preservation Jazz Band at the lower right. The stunning lion's head is actually composed of a number of faces for the cheeks and brow, with two human legs below as though there they are trapped within the image. The finely drawn, cross-hatched central image blends to a border of names in a number of different fonts previously seen in Conklin's posters. The Steppenwolf / Staple Sisters / Santana text is in a fond similar to the Buffalo Springfield poster, whilst that for the Grateful Dead is a more traditional, balloon psychedelic font. 

The original poster was printed in black ink on white paper. There were two official printings and a reprint by CBS in 1988.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: Santana was so taken with Lee Conklin's poster design that they asked the artist to redraw the picture for their first album cover, and the loin and Santana became permanently linked in aficionados' minds. Although Bill Graham preferred colour posters to advertise his concerts, BG134 was so powerful in its original pen and ink that it was sent to press that way.

YouTube video description of the poster by Pete Howard of Poster Central


BG135 Chuck Berry Fillmore West

Chuck Berry, Steve Miller Band and Kensington Market 

Lights by The Holy See

5-7 September 1968

Fillmore West

The poster is printed in black ink on white paper. The image is a detailed ink line drawing by Conklin featuring a moose amidst a bed of flowers and an upper section of skulls backed by a full moon. Five smiling skulls float in the dark sky above the animal as it steps into a bed of flowers, with a twisted vine to its right extending up into the moonlit sky. The antlers of the moose comprise two hands extended, coming out of the area just below the ears. 

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: A complicated pen and ink drawing captivated the viewer in Conklin's poster for Chuck Berry and the Steve Miller Band, playing at the recently-opened Fillmore West.


BG138 Mike Bloomfield - Al Cooper Fillmore West

Super Session with Mike Bloomfield, Al Cooper & Friends, It's A Beautiful Day and Loading Zone 

26-28 September 1968 

The poster is printed in purple and blue inks on a white background. This is one of Conklin's strangest and most complex drawings of the period, with an upper section of sinuous fonts outlining the bands and related information, amidst which are a few birds of peace. Below is a melage of figures and objects - perhaps a hellish pit - which is difficult to describe. On the lower left is a deformed, duck-billed creature with exposed rib cage, webbed foot and clawed hand, looking up lustfully towards a semi-formed female figure growing out of a tree root, the lower section of which contains the legs and pubic hair of the woman. Within the figure can also be seen the head of a man and a bird rising out of her head. To the right is a lizard rising up out of the morass with its tongue extended towards an open, toothy mouth. A pinkish figure embraces the body of the lizard. On the right edge of the pit is a profile of a large, smiling face with a giraffe growing out of the top of the head, topped by a naked female figure. At the base of the morass are various body parts such as arms and faces, with the former morphing into a tree root system. 

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: Artist Conklin took a page from Heironymous Bosch in this stoned landscape of the inner mind advertising It's A Beautiful Day and Loading Zone at the Fillmore West.


BG139 Canned Heat Fillmore West

Canned Heat, Gordon Lightfoot and Cold Blood

Lights by Holy See

3-5 October 1968

The poster is printed in multiple colours, overlaying each other in part throughout. It is primarily an experiment in colour, attempting to reflect the trend of the time to use bright and fluorescing inks which would react under ultraviolet light and the lightshows of the day. This is perhaps Conklin's most colourful poster from the period. It can be seen as a development of BG127, with the coloured text and design work featuring over the typical drawings which are in the background. Naked bodies and faces feature in the border areas where the multicolor print does not mask and overwhelm the image. 

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: Lee Conklin intentionally printed BG139 out of register to create its odd look; a light show viewed through an LSD filter.


BG142 Jefferson Airplane Fillmore West

Jefferson Airplane, Ballet Afro-Haiti and A.B. Skhy 

Lights by Glenn McKay's Headlights

24-26 October 1968

The poster is printed in red, gold and black on a white background. This is a typical, finely draw work in ink by Conklin, integrating text with imagery. The upper section of the poster features an ornate rendition of the words JEFFERSON AIRPLANE in a mixture of forms, highlighted by a scaley texture for the first part of the title. Both words are rendered in gold and beneath them is an aeroplane with a front section composed of a naked female figure, her head of hair blowing behind her and one of her breasts drawn as a spinning propeller. She also carries a banner 'Recording Live'. Beneath a group of text is a symmetrical pair of satrys on motorcycles. The detail of the edifice Conklin has built around these central elements is detailed with elements such as faces and frills. 

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: The eye and brain could become exhausted deciphering Conklin's graphics for BG142, a show recorded live by Jefferson Airplane at the Fillmore West.


BG143 Procol Harum Fillmore West

Procol Harum, Santana and Saloom Sinclair

31 October - 2 November 1968

The poster is printed in red and black. The feature of the work is the presentation of the text, flowing from one word to another. Within the areas outside of and between the letters can be distinguished heads and masks. The design harks back to BG107. 

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: BG143 was a poster on acid, Conklin's translation of a psychedelic experience to paper. The exchange of positive and negative spaces included some images reminiscent of Wes Wilson favorite forms.

Original printing artwork:


BG144 Quicksilver Messenger Service Fillmore

Quicksilver Messenger Service, Grateful Dead  and Linn County 

Lights by Brotherhood of Light

7-10 November 1968

The poster is printed in red, blue and black on a white background. The image is a detailed line drawing by Conklin featuring a Viking-like figure holding a staff topped by a skull. As is typical for his work from this period, the Viking is composed of a collection of motifs - heads, arms, fingers, though with the new addition of a dog and a pig. The Viking's headgear includes a wing on the right and a hand on the left. On the lower right a hand holds the staff, with a red and black striped snake slithering up its length. The skull is a direct reference to the band Grateful Dead. 

There were two official printings of this poster, before and after the concert, on flat and glossy paper.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: The grotesque nature of BG144 played in sharp contrast to the more orderly offerings of other poster artists and may have been a critical comment from the artist. Recalling renaissance paintings of faces fashioned from vegetables and animals, and foreshadowing modern montages composed of odd photographed bits and pieces that form a face, the only bit of wry humor in BG144 came from the smiling skull.

Original printing mockup artwork: 


BG145 Ten Years After Fillmore West

Ten Years After, Sun Ra and Country Weather

Lights by Brotherhood of Light 

Tea Lautrec Litho San Francisco

14-17 November 1968

The poster was printed in light and dark blue and red inks on white paper. Conklin's original line drawing features an emaciated female figure in the lower part, with tree-like arms extending into the upper part to reveal the names of the various bands featured. The figure stands upon a rock with a blue, octopus-like creature bearing the face of a smiling, old man.

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: One could not say that conventional beauty was artist Lee Conklin's goal. In BG145, the psychedelic experience was evident in Ten Years After and Country Weather tangled in the branches of the island tree, but this was no classic tree-of-life image. The Fillmore West dangled from the branches on spider web threads.


BG148 Jeff Beck Group Fillmore West

Jeff Beck Group, Spirit, Sweet Linda Devine and Sweetwater   

5-8 December 1968

The poster is printed with a purple and black border, and dark orange and black central section on white paper. The image is a detailed filigree-like work featuring a lacework of semi-circular lines and figures. Conklin uses the human and beast figures to form the letters of the bands featured, with their thin, often elongated bodies, bent and folded. There are a mind boggling variety of figures used in this task. The background lines also include some human figures in outline, such as heads. 

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: Conklin's lettering was more than it seemed in BG148, advertising Jeff Beck Group on a find-the-hidden-picture background framed with a checkerboard border.


BG149 Country Joe and the Fish Fillmore

Country Joe and the Fish, Terry Reid and Sea Train

Lights by Brotherhood of Light


Fillmore West

Conklin's first poster in landscape format was printed in red, purple and black inks on white paper. It features a complex line drawing of a landscape with a red river in the foreground. Within the river stand animal-headed, naked female figures. The land is composed of female bodies, including legs and breasts. On the lefts are steps leading up to a concert hall, with faces in the foyer. Detailed faces feature throughout the work, in contrast to the faces of previous posters which were often drawn with little detail. Smaller, disembodied heads feature within the centre section of the work. Conklin has also drawn a number of animals within the work, including an elephant, dog, horse and various birds. A circular building is seen to the right. 

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: BG149 is a Lee Conklin work whose imagery was so fluid one could worry that it might run right off the page. No other poster artist of the period had Conklin's ability to channel the intensity and weirdness of the psychedelic experience onto paper. For this reason, Conklin's work was not for the faint-hearted, nor was it productive to try to understand the strange landscape of his fantasy world. Better to enjoy the artist's talent for giving the viewer a glimpse of the acid experience.
Original production film, 11.5 x 17.5 inches:


BG152 New Years Eve - Grateful Dead Winterland

Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, It's A Beautiful Day, Santana, Vanilla Fudge, Richie Havens, Youngbloods and Cold Blood

Lights by Brotherhood of Light 

31 December 1968

The poster is printed in multiple colours and was one of two posters produced by Conklin for this event. The basis for the poster is a complex line drawing by the artist, with a skull centrepiece, surrounded by a bouquet of flowers. A child rises from the top of the cracked, jawless skull, which rests upon a pair of breasts. Two slim, naked male figures form the left and right borders of the drawing, standing upon a platform composed of naked bodies and cats. Two of the male figures near the bottom hold hour glasses, perhaps in reference to the counting down of time marking the end of 1968 and the beginning of the new year of 1969. The hour glass is the primary feature of the second poster by Conklin for this event.

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: Artist Conklin restrained himself to a vaguely classical reference on this garish della Robia wreath of flowers, milky breasts and entangled bodies with the New Year's babe emerging from the Dead's mascot. The 1969 New Year's Eve concert, featuring perennial performers the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, It's A Beautiful Day and Santana, was held at Winterland.


BG152 New Years Eve - Grateful Dead Fillmore West

Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, It's A Beautiful Day, Santana, Vanilla Fudge, Richie Havens, Youngbloods and Cold Blood

31 December 1968

The poster is printed in multiple colours, with a dominant green background and a blue base. The main feature of Conklin's drawing is an hour glass, reflecting the concert theme of the countdown to the end of 1968 and the beginning of the new year of 1969. In the hour glass the sands of time are naked bodies, with time running out. The hour glass is encased in a golden stand, with the details of the concert on the top and base, whilst the names of the bands performing at the concert are included on banners running down the sides of the hour glass stand. A small cockroach walks away on the lower right of the image. The rather nightmarish image of all the bodies at the base of the hour glass is typical of Conklin's art from this period, with naked bodies a feature and the darker aspects of humanity exposed through finely drawn imagery. 

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: Conklin couldn't refrain from the Bosch-like reminder that the sins of 1968 had piled up beyond recovery, a reference to the riots, police beatings, assassinations and escalating Vietnam war. His poster for the Fillmore West New Year's Eve Bash featured Vanilla Fudge, Richie Havens, the Young Bloods and Cold Blood.

BG156 Creedence Clearwater Revival Fillmore West

Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fleetwood Mac and Albert Collins

Tea Lautrec Litho SF

16 January 1969

This poster was printed in multiple colours. It features a highly detailed drawing by Conklin which is reminiscence of Bruegel's Tower of Babel. It features a large red mass within which can be seen a complex array of figures and motifs. In the yellow sky are clouds of purple with aged faces. The red mass lies upon a sea of blue with a fringe of green. The red mass is littered with body parts - arms, legs, eyes, faces, noses, fingers hands - and detritus such as a motorcycle wheel and handles, barber's pole, possum, bat, snake, apple, bones, a giraffe and an eye. A lone, leafless tree sits on the top left hand side of the pile, seeking moisture from a cloud. At the very peak is a black area with a flag and round breast, similar to one located on the very base near the blue sea.

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: BG156 was a mess, literally, with Conklin's multiple images weighing on the mind of the central figure, and fresh thoughts became clouds formed by writhing bodies. Creedence Clearwater Revival and Fleetwood Mac were part of the melt-down; life, according to Conklin, was a puzzle adrift.


BG157 Iron Butterfly Fillmore West

Iron Butterfly, James Cotton Blues Band and A.B. Skhy

23-26 January 1969

The poster is printed in multiple  colours, primarily red, blue and yellow to give a purple and orange hue to the work. This is a typical Lee Conklin highly detailed pen and ink drawing, though in the printing there is evidence of two drawings being laid down to produce the final image. The image comprises an atomic bomb cloud exploding into a yellow sky and emitting orange and red radiation which forms lettering and dispersed lines of fire. The cloud of the atomic detonation comprises a complex array of bodies giving rise to a face with 2 flying saucer eyes, cheeks of female breasts, ears of steam, a nose of a pig, and hair of naked female bodies. The chin is a self portrait of Lee Conklin, with a green laurel halo. Below the cloud is the ground and surrounding the stem is a ground of bowing figures, paying homage to this new god. In the foreground within the landscape are the disembodied and anguished heads we usually see in Conklin's posters from this era.

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.


Wolfgang's Vault 2016: The Sphinx, rendered Conklin-style, promoted Iron Butterfly and James Cotton at the Fillmore West.


BG162 Grateful Dead Fillmore West

Grateful Dead, Pentangle and Sir Douglas Quintet 

Lights by Brotherhood of Light 

C 1969 Bill Graham #162

27 February - 2 March 1969

This poster is printed in dark red and brownish purple on a pale brown background. This printing overlays the colours to give a complex and difficult to distinguish image. The original work is a collage featuring a picture of the members of the Grateful Dead in the middle of the poster, surrounded by an array of heads, skulls and text. Conklin has used simple lines within the pale brown areas to distinguish works, however elsewhere the juxtaposing of the purple and dark brown tends to blend individual elements. The work perhaps represents the fires of hell.  

There were two official printings of this post, both pre-and post-concert.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: This Grateful Dead billing featured the band's signature skull mascot, but not in a playful way. Conklin took the reader on a trip to Hell, and the spooky images broke down in decay near the bottom of the poster.


BG163 Spirit Fillmore West

Spirit, Ten Years After and Country Weather

Lights by Little Princess 109 

C 1969 Bill Graham #163 

6-9 March 1969 

Fillmore West

This poster is printed in purple, red and orange on white page. The original design is a pen and ink line drawing by Conklin featuring a domestic interior scene with a headless naked female body chair, spotted carpet and printed posters on the wall depicting the names of featured bands. A lampshade in the left of view has an arm for a stand with a hand at its base. The chair has an open book on the left arm, titled Fillmore West and featuring a pair of lips on the cover. This is a relatively simple drawing for Conklin.

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: Few would be comfortable in Lee Conklin's vision of the conventional parlor. The artist managed to make the nurturing female form menacing, and the neatly framed 'pictures' featuring the performing artists belied the energy of the concert. Tongue in cheek, the light show artists were printed on the shade of the 'standing' lamp.


BG172 Albert King Fillmore West

Albert King, It's A Beautiful Day and Aum  

Lights by Brotherhood of Light

8-11 May 1969 

Fillmore West

This poster is printed in red, blue and yellow inks. The main design element is a corner of room with two recesses, within which we see the blue shadowed lettering of the various bands performing. At the centre of the recesses is a line extending down from the ceiling and emitting a liquid which is forming the body of an obese, naked female, and also spilling out onto the floor.

There was only a single, pre-concert printing of this poster.

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: A twin tablets effect advertised Albert King, It's a Beautiful Day and short-lived blues-rock Aum at the Fillmore West.


BG173 Santana Fillmore

Santana, Youngbloods and Allmen Joy

Lights by Little Princess 109

C 1969 Bill Graham #173

15-18 May 1969 

This is Conklin's second poster in landscape format. It is printed in multiple colours, with blue, green, purple and yellow in the central section and a brown border. The centre image is of waves comprising hands breaking in the foreground, whilst behind is a yellow, sandy beach, a large, purple cloud and two smaller clouds, and in the distance a rising sun with blue and yellow rays being emitted. The ornate border in brown comprises leaves and lettering. This was the last of Conklin's series of posters for Bill Graham and for which Conklin allowed Graham to claim copyright. 

Wolfgang's Vault 2016: The elements were in motion in Conklin's psychedelic seascape advertising Santana and the Youngbloods, and the artist's staid leafy border stood in sharp contrast to the rough seas. BG173 was Conklin's last poster for Bill Graham. Like many of his relationships with artists, the association ended abruptly when Graham cut off contact following a disagreement over payment.

Original production film, 11.5 x 17.5 inches:

The Barn Festival

Cold Blood, Linn County, A.B. Skhy, Elvin Bishop, Little John's Farm and Southwind

30-31 May and 6-7 June 1969

This poster for a two weekend festival was printed in multiple inks on white paper. It contains a detailed pen and ink drawing by Conklin, featuring a large, lower title THE BARN, topped by a naked female figure, with band names on either side of her. In keeping with the location title, a number of farm animals are drawing in the lower part of the poster, including spotted cows, a pig, dogs, a bird and a horse. Above this, amidst the white lettering, is the typical Conklin motif of disembodied head and cloud-like fonts. The female figure is runner, her black hair spread out behind her and filling the upper section of the image, whilst she holds a banner promoting the promoter.


a. Santana - Spectrum, Philadelphia
b. - Ventura College
c. - University of Nevada
d. - Will Rogers Colliseum

a. Santana, It's A Beautiful Day  and Muddy Waters / b. Santana, Elvin Bishop Group and Wolfgang / c. Santana and Ballin Jack Kimberley / d. Santana, Cold Blood and Elvin Bishop Group

a. 11 June 1969 / b. 26 February 1970 / c. 6 March 1970 / d. 27 September 1971

Posters and flyers featuring the art of Lee Conklin that appeared on the cover of the first Santana album in August 1969. At that stage the band was managed by Bill Graham and, following the acrimonious split between the artist and promoter over a financial matter it is most likely that Conklin was not involved in the production of these works. They should therefore not be considered original Lee Conklin posters, however they are listed here for historical purposes. A coloured variant was issued in 1971.

Country Weather The Barn

Country Weather, Sanpaku, Jay Byrd

20-21 June 1969

The poster was printed in multiple colours, primarily orange, pink, purple, green and black.

The image by Conklin is of a group of five naked female bodies holding hands and planted in the ground like carrots. Out of their heads are growing trees of green and above the trees is a purple sky with black text describing the concert and bands. In the centre, resting upon the tree, is a logo for The Barn.

Hot Tuna The Barn

Hot Tuna, Grateful Dead and the Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band

Lights by Marianne

27-28 June 1969

This poster was printed in red and blue inks on white. The drawing by Conklin features a central, circular image of a female head with hair comprising approximately 41 ears. Outside of the circle is typical psychedelic fonts in the style of Wes Wilson - curvacious and balloon like, making them difficult to comprehend, especially due to the juxtaposition of the red and blue colours which can create a vibrating, oscillating effect with the naked eye.

YouTube video description of the poster by Pete Howard of Poster Central:

Waikiki Shell, Honolulu

It's A Beautiful Day, Aum and Cauldron

Lights by Noah's Ark and Crater Lights

12 July 1969

Printed in dark red and yellow, the design of this poster harks back to others by Conklin wherein he was primarily focussed on the large lettering and its sinuous presentation, such as with the Procol Harum poster BG143.

Original printing mockup artwork:



LP released August 1969.

Album cover artwork by Lee Conklin based on the Fillmore poster BG142 of August 1968. The artwork also featured in a number of related posters. This album cover art is a simplified version of the image featured in BG142, with only the lion face, mane and legs retained, plus the addition of the Santana name along the right side of the album cover, in a font drawn by Conklin. The portrait format of the drawing has also been slightly adapted with wider left and right borders.

A 22 x 33 inch poster of the original Conklin drawing was released by CBS Special Products in 1970, following on the success of the album.
Grape Strike Benefit Fillmore West

Santana, Mike Bloomfield, Tongue & Groove, Shades of Joy

1 October 1969

The image is a complex line drawing by Conklin featuring the outline of a winged bird against a red circle, with descriptive fonts in the upper section and a bare earth below. The bird is composed of the artist's favored motif of disembodied human heads with anguished looks upon their faces. The font is a filigree Gothic style seen in a number of Fillmore posters by the artist. Conklin has cited this work as one of his favourites from the period.

This poster was printed in red and black on creamy white paper. There were two printings of the poster, with the latter by the artist.

"Cesar Chavez led the NFWA into the Delano grape strike with trepidation: the Chicano workers, already the lowest-paid pickers in the fields, could hardly afford to lose wages. The movement did, however, achieve the desired effect over time and was joined by consumers in the form of a buyers' boycott and by foreign support. Lee Conklin, psychedelic artist nonpareil, drew the poster in smoky, fire-licked flames and the UFWA's eagle symbol, Chavez's adaptation of the Mexican flag's eagle, rose from the earth, a collage of human faces." (Wolfgang's Vault 2016)

Psychedelic Review magazine, Winter 1970-1971

Conklin produced images for the front and rear covers of the 11th and final edition of Timothy Leary's Psychedelic Review. An article inside on the art of Conklin reproduced some drawings and provided a very brief biography. Front and rear cover images:


Gravity Sucks, The You of Southern Illinois, Carbondale, poster, 1972, 17 1/2 x 22 1/2 inches. Produced for an art show at Mitchell Gallery at the University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale.

Hark, postcard, 1992, 5 x 7 inches, Psychedelic Solution, New York.

Zero at the Fillmore, poster, 1996, 13 x 19 inches.

Etta James at the Maritime Hall, poster, 27 Janaury 1996, 10 x 14 inches.

Psychedelic Sammlung, Germany, 2003, 23 x 33 inches.

The TRPS Festival of Rock Posters, Nov. 25th 2003 at the Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 2003, 14 x 17 inches on card.

Chet Fest, 2005, poster, 13 x 19 inches.

Interviews with the artist

* February 2008

"I didn’t start out initially to be an artist, but while I was studying History and Philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I took on the role of cartoonist for the college paper called the “Calvin College Chimes”. I met my wife Joy there, left school, got married and moved to Florida. The Army grabbed me and I cooked for a year in Korea. They let me out in 1967 and we moved to Los Angeles. In L.A., I did some pen and ink work and some of it was published by the Los Angeles Free Press (remember “Don’t be a creep, buy a Freep”?), which was cool, and I read an article in Time about the “Summer of Love” and that San Francisco was becoming the center of the Universe for music and art and since I wanted to be a cartoonist, my wife and I decided to move up there to see what we could find.

I heard about the Fillmore and that Bill Graham was hiring artists from the area to make posters for his upcoming shows, and so one Friday night I went there with some drawings and showed them to him. He must have liked what he saw because he asked me if I could do a poster over the weekend for the following week’s show! He chose one of the drawings I had already done and I spent the weekend doing all of the lettering. From then on for the next two years, I had a pretty steady gig doing posters for Bill and the Fillmore West. At the same time, the Santana band was playing there pretty frequently and I was well aware of their music, both from performances and their demos, which received extensive airplay on FM radio in San Francisco.

One day, Bill asked me to do a poster for a show that Santana was headlining and so, with a little inspiration from a Muse named Mary Jane, I remembered seeing a picture of a lion in a book of animal pictures I had and used that image as the basis of my drawing. Even then, I knew that I was making art for future generations and so even though Bill usually liked posters in color, I detailed this one in pen-and-ink. I only made one image, and the next morning he told me that he was going to print is as it was, so he must have been happy with the results. [Carlos] Santana also thought that the image was really great, so afterwards he contacted me and asked me to redraw the image for the cover of his debut record. Although the drawing I created really was not inspired by Santana, I guess that the details and the nature of the images impressed him and the people at the record label.

My challenge has always been to subvert the poster form to whatever my muse insists on and then to convert my psychedelic experiences to any medium I’m working in. I made it my mission to translate my psychedelic experience into paper. Later on, in the early 70s, I took acid and when I went to art class, all I could do was sit and stare at the teacher… LSD had little to do with my most-creative efforts - as a druggy, I am over-rated!" 

* Good vs Evil Magazine, 7 July 2009

Can you tell me about how you got started in poster design?

I was born drawing, and eventually showed my portfolio to Bill Graham one Friday and by Monday I was a poster artist.

For me, psychedelic music posters are the perfect depiction of the music and produced some of the greatest poster art seen. Can you tell me what part the music played in your designs?

I listened to the radio as I worked, either KSAN or KPFA. The name of the group played a more obvious role, other times there were only sub- conscious connections to anything.

Which bands were you really into at the time?

I listened to everybody, I still listen to the Dead, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Randy Newman, John Prine, John Fogarty, and Blessed be Pete Seeger.

Are there any posters you are most proud of? and why?

I like the Grape Strike Benefit poster because aside from being good work on short notice, it was a voluntary contribution not just by myself but all involved for a just cause, and for human dignity. I also like it because it was my only Fillmore poster without Bill Graham's name on the top.

It seemed you were given quite a lot of freedom in your posters, was this the case? Was there a strict brief?

I think Bill Graham would have liked to boss me more, but tight deadlines and last minute changes in the bill meant that he never saw most of the designs until they came off the press.

Did you get to meet any of the bands you did designs for?

Most notably Santana, but I wasn't much of a schmoozer.

What are your influences in your work? 

Everything. Individuals who grabbed me include Bosch, Blake, Breugel, Dali, Davis, Stienberg, Griffin, etc.  

I also saw you did work for The Damned. Were you into the punk thing at all?

No, but I was into damnation.

Can you tell me about any projects you are working on now?

Watercolor and ink. I do a few posters every year Which I design using Corel Photopaint.

Finally, as this is Good vs Evil, can you tell me what is heaven and what is hell for you?

Most Hellish, Basic Training, not the exercise, the dehumanization. Most blessed and rare are the smiles from the muse.


* Blues GR, 20 March 2013 - Interview with Michael Limnios

When was your first desire to become involved in art and what was first attracted you to psychedelic culture and art?

I was a "Johny come lately" to the San Francisco poster scene (January 1967). I spent much of the late sixties chained to my drawing board, which is my default mode anyway. A monkish (Art is my vocation not my profession) monogamist (47 years, so far) I missed out on the sexual revolution and was never really part of a "Psychedelic Community." My first experiments in mind alteration in search of artistic inspiration centered around sleep deprivation, abetted by caffeine and nicotine. 

How and where did you get the inspiration for your art? How do you describe Lee Conklin’s art?

I call my kind of art Cyberdelic Neo-roccoco.

What does San Francisco Acid Culture scene mean to you? What's been their experience from San Francisco’s psychedelic community?

While Acid may have contributed some imagery boost, designing a poster while under its direct influence is not an option. Cannabis for me has been the most effective way to summon the muse.

Do you know why the psychedelic art is connected to the underground culture?

Bad laws and evil wars are the connection to "underground culture" in my life, a kind of religious persecution that has kept us out of the mainstream.

What is the “feel” you miss most nowadays from the 60s?

I missed out on the good acid, they tell me, and so I have little expertise.

You have come to know great artists and musicians in your time. It must be hard to pick, but which meetings have been the biggest experiences for you?

"Back in the day" I had no personal connection to my fellow poster artists and so no amusing tales. Fast forward to 2012, I find myself hanging out in a New York hotel room with Wes Wilson, David Singer, and John Seabury. Mouse was in the house as well, somewhere, as were several other younger talented poster artists. We had the happy opportunity to spend some quality time together summoning the muse, drawing pads in hand. The television was on and the image of a construction crane atop an unfinished highrise appeared dangling in the 90 mph wind of Hurricane Sandy. "That looks familiar", say I. The [television] tube was unmuted in time to hear "57th street" which sent us scurrying to the window and when we looked almost straight up, there was the broken neck and steel beak waving at us.


Anonymous, The Incredible Pen of Lee Conklin, Psychedelic Review, 11, Winter 1970-1971. Includes front and rear cover illustrations. URL:

Boudrea, Mark, Santana's "Santana" with illustration by Lee Conklin, The Rock and Roll Report [website], 17 March 2008. URL:

Classic Posters, Lee Conklin, Classic Posters [online sales website], 2016. URL:

Conklin, Lee, Veeva la Mutation Copulation, The Print Mint, 1971, 48p. [Booklet of Lee Conklin artwork, in black and white]

-----, Psychedelic Playground [artist website], 2016. URL:

Lee Conklin [webpage], Wikipedia, 2016. URL:

Lee Conklin [website], Facebook, 2016. URL:
Lee Conklin interview, Good vs. Evil Magazine [blog], 7 July 2009. URL:

Limnios, Michael, Lee Conklin: Cyberdelic Neo-rococo - Talking with Lee Conklin, one of the great psychedelic artists, from Fillmore's posters to illustration work, Blues @ GR - keeping the blues alive [blog], 20 March 2013. URL:

Olsen, Andrew, Lee Conklin, The [blog], 2008. URL:

Transpersonal Spirit, Lee Conklin Pyschedelic Poster Artist, Transpersonal Spirit [blog], 25 June 2013. URL:

Wolfgang's Vault, Lee Conklin, Wolfgang's Vault [online merchandise website], 2016. URL:[Includes a listing of original Conklin Fillmore items for sale, plus later reprints.]

Michael Organ
Last updated: 24 March 2020.