Alton Kelley: Haight-Ashbury Collages
Kelley was one of the founders of the Family Dog, which was responsible for some of the legendary concerts of the 1960s in San Francisco at the Avalon Ballroom. He was a legendary poster artist who created some of the most well-known album covers and posters (by himself and also with Stanley Mouse).
I worked with Kelley on the design and package for the Haight-Ashbury CD-ROM as well as the collages used in the “Drop-out” game on the CD-ROM. Below is the poster collecting all the collages for the game, and the front and inside of the package for the CD-ROM (cigar boxes converted into stash boxes).
Kelley had only one request for materials to start with (besides the photos): “roaches.” When he asked this of me, I was nonplussed, did he mean cockroaches? No, my old roaches! Of course. I dug out a jar from my old stash. If you look closely at his collages, you’ll see that he used the old roach papers for backgrounds and flowery halos (such as the one around Bill Graham’s head).
The Bill Graham collage includes the famous photo of Graham by Michael Rossman. Bill Graham was briefly a member of the S. F. Mime Troupe before starting the Fillmore concerts for the Haight-Ashbury and eventually becoming the most widely known rock music promoter and showman of all time. Kelley created the Neal Cassady collage with the famous Cassady photo by Herb Greene. Cassady, the actual person on which Jack Kerouac based his character Dean Moriarity in On the Road, survived the Beat generation to join the acid-eating Merry Pranksters as, of course, their bus driver. The Janis Joplin and Grateful Dead collages include famous photos of the Dead and Janis by Herb Greene.
Haight-Ashbury in the Sixties Box Cover
Haight-Ashbury in the Sixties Poster
Janis Joplin and Haight-Ashbury
Bill Graham, Neal Cassady, and the Grateful Dead