Thursday, June 05, 2008

further updates upon Kelley's passing, he was indeed one ROCKIN' dude


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Above, one of Kelley's many beautiful airbrush paintings. He was a hot rodder, he had a particular jones for custom cars, and he was an excellent mechanic. Thank you Frank Vacanti, for unearthing this beauty from the archives.
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from Alton Kelley's family:
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Thank you all wonderful family, friends, colleagues for the tremendous outpouring of love and support. Many of you have been asking how to contribute to the family for Kelley's medical expenses. You can wire or send a check toWashington Mutual Bank, 101 Western Ave., Petaluma CA 94952. Tel 707-763-4148. An account has been set up in the name of Marguerite Trousdale (account #3952762942) for wires (routing #322271627).We will let everyone know details about the memorial, when a time and place is determined. Peace and blessings to all.
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A reminiscence from Kelley's good friend about his Connecticut years, penned by John Alfonso, of Richmond, CA:

"I'm still very shaken after reading his obituary in the SF Chron yesterday. I'd been talking about Kelley with some friends recently, and was thinking about tracking him down. Kelley and a group of us came out to California in 1963 from Bridgeport, CT. We spent some time in Venice hanging out, eating Mexican food, going to the flat track races at Ascot Park, smoking up a storm and drinking a lot of Guinness.

"Most of the guys ended up back in Conn., but I stayed in L.A. and Kelley drifted up north. I last saw him in late 1964. He came down to Venice and stayed with us for a couple of days. He told me about the Family Dog having just been formed, and tried to convince me to come back up to SF, but for a lot of reasons I stayed in Venice and eventually moved to the Bay Area in 1971.

"Mostly I remember my late teens with Kelley in Connecticut. He opend a world to me that I could have never found for myself. We worked on cars, took the train into Manhattan to go to the Guggenheim, listened to Jean Shepard, looked at Kelley's strange paintings (Pollack-like in those days, one was even triangular) and hung out at Parmelees motorcycle shop until they threw us out (Kelley got his Matchless there, finally).

"Kelley was one of the most important people in my life, and I regret very deeply not seeing him again later in life. My very deepest condolences to his family here and in Connecticut. He will be in my heart always."

John Alfonso
Richmond, CA
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and, from yesterday's Los Angeles Times:
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Alton Kelley, 67; artist created psychedelic posters for rock groups
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By Mary Rourke_Los Angeles Times Staff Writer_June 4, 2008
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Alton Kelley, a San Francisco graphic artist whose psychedelic posters and album covers captured the mood and music of the Grateful Dead, the Steve Miller Band, Journey and other top rock 'n' roll groups of the '60s and '70s, has died. He was 67.
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Kelley died Sunday at his home in Petaluma, Calif., according to publicist Jennifer Gross. The cause was complications from osteoporosis.
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With his creative partner Stanley Mouse, Kelley helped launch a poster art revolution in the mid-1960s, turning out vividly colored works for concerts at the Avalon Ballroom and Fillmore Auditorium, where Jimi Hendrix, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Quicksilver Messenger Service were among the headliners.
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"Kelley was one of the first to see it coming, the rise of the psychedelic era in San Francisco," Paul Grushkin, who wrote "The Art of Rock, Posters From Presley to Punk" (1987), said this week. "He was a pioneer."
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Using images inspired by vintage prints and lettering that flows like smoke, Kelley and Mouse designed graphics now considered emblems of the psychedelic age.The best known of them all is a skull and roses design they created for the Grateful Dead.
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"Kelley had the unique ability to translate the music being played into amazing images that capture the spirit of who we were and what the music was all about," Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead said in a statement this week.
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The album covers that came out of the Kelley-Mouse collaboration with the Grateful Dead included "Workingman's Dead" and "American Beauty" in 1970. The idea for a skull and roses came from an illustration in "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam," a collection of poems by the Persian poet who died in 1123.
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Kelley once explained that he found the illustration in a library book, enlarged the image, and added color and other details that dramatically changed it. "I knew right away it was a classic, " he said in a 1995 interview with the Palm Beach Post.He and Mouse created several other graphic images that became signatures for certain bands. Among them is a Pegasus that looms from the album cover of the Steve Miller Band's "Book of Dreams" in 1977 and a scarab on the album cover of "Departure," by Journey in 1980.
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"Images Kelley and Mouse put on playbills, posters and album covers became a major part of the music experience of the time," Dell Furano of Signatures Network, which merchandises rock artworks, said in an interview this week
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.Kelley was born June 17, 1940, in Houlton, Maine. After high school he worked as a mechanic and took art classes but never graduated from art school. He moved to San Francisco in about 1965 and helped found the Family Dog Collective, a group that produced some of the first psychedelic dance concerts in San Francisco, with light shows, dancing and poster art as part of the program.
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He met Mouse about a year after he arrived in San Francisco. At the time, the Haight-Ashbury district was starting to bubble over. "It was really fun. Everybody was really enjoying themselves," Kelley told the San Francisco Chronicle last year. "We all came out of the rock 'n' roll world." When they began working together, "Stanley and I had no idea what we were doing," Kelley told the Chronicle. "We had free rein to just go graphically crazy."
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Their posters combined images borrowed from Native American and Chinese art, Art Nouveau and Art Deco, reworked in acid colors and swirling letters that were a dramatic break with tradition. "Before that, all advertising was pretty much just typeset with a photograph of something," Kelley told the Chronicle.
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"It was a glory period for record album covers," Grushkin said of the artists' inventions. "Kelley and Mouse created art that captured what the music sounded like.
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"Kelley continued working as a graphic artist throughout his career, sometimes teaming up with Mouse. Their most recent project was for the March induction ceremony of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.
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Kelley is survived by his wife, Marguerite; three children; two grandchildren; his mother, Annie; and his sister, Kathy.
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And from me, having meditiated on all the wonderful things that have been said in the last several days, my conclusion is . . . bless you Kelley, you've brought all of us together again.
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4 comments:

hiLtY said...

ShInE On cRaZy DiAmOnd - KeEp On ShInINg oN mE! LoVe & pEaCe AltOn! bLeSs YoU FoR BlEsSiNg Us!!!

Icecream kid buddy said...

There once was a cosmic cruiser name alton. His creativity flowed from his heart like a fountain. The fountain was LOVE-rained down from above, now one with the stars and the heavens!

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