[Slowhand] Cream Poster Revives Artist's Career

John Mills turbineltd at btconnect.com
Thu Jul 10 02:42:16 EDT 2008


Endless summer

The Santa Monica-based artist who designed many famous rock album covers
will attend the opening of his exhibit at The Lab in Costa Mesa.

By Jack Salisbury
Updated: Wednesday, July 9, 2008 8:51 PM PDT

John Van Hamersveld created this Rolling Stones billboard. [Picture Removed]

You may not know the name, but John Van Hamersveld's work is about as
recognizable as the rock icons he has portrayed on his posters.

The Beatles. Jimi Hendrix. The Rolling Stones.

He created album covers and posters for them. The most famous among them
include "The Magical Mystery Tour," and "Exile on Main Street."

But just when he was at the height of his career in the early '80s he grew
disenchanted by the "plastic" nature of the music industry.

"The earlier culture was more of a subculture, it was more of a life
culture," Van Hamersveld said. "Then it turned into a corporate world, and
we're still suffering from it. We still live in this packaged, plastic

So he put his pencils down and walked away.

The Santa Monica resident worked as a design consultant in apparel and
architecture for more than two decades until 2005, when he was asked by Eric
Clapton's merchandising manager to create a poster for one of Clapton's
upcoming concerts.

Five hundred posters sold in five minutes. Before Van Hamersveld knew it,
his drawing career was on track again.

"A whole world opened up to me that I could actually draw in again," Van
Hamersveld said. "All of a sudden I had gone around the world over this
drawing I had done on my table.

"It was the welcome back."

Van Hamersveld, 66, and his colorful sketches will be on hand Saturday with
the opening of his exhibit at The Lab in Costa Mesa to sign his rock and
surf posters. The exhibit will stay up through July 20.

Van Hamersveld created his most influential art during the '60s
counter-culture. A California surfer originally from Maryland, he designed
the album covers for Kiss' "Hotter than Hell" and Blondie's "Eat to the
Beat," and created the DayGlo poster for the 1966 surf documentary "The
Endless Summer."

As Van Hamersveld said, however, his two greatest works were posters drawn
for Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane before their 1968 "Pinnacle"
concerts at the Shrine Auditorium.

"The Hendrix [poster] is the beginning of my avant-garde drawing style," Van
Hamersveld said. "The [Jefferson Airplane] Indian is really an icon for the
hippie culture of its day: the tribe."

Now that he's free again to create what he wants, Van Hamersveld has been
touring the country with poster signings the last few years. His stop in
Costa Mesa is one of many in California.

Though The Lab regularly features emerging artists and students from the
area, Van Hamersveld's gallery is no typical exhibit.

"It's a special show to have John come in," said Monet Quick, The Lab's
community development director.

The show was arranged, in part, due to the relationship between Van
Hamersveld and The Lab's owner, Shaheen Sadeghi. The two became friends in
the '80s as they worked in the surf apparel industry.

Gallery hours at The Lab will vary. Private appointments to view Van
Hamersveld's work can be made by e-mailing The Lab at info at thelab.com.

WHAT: The Lab's exhibit of posters and album covers by John Van Hamersveld
WHERE: The Lab, 2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa
WHEN: Van Hamersveld will be signing posters from 7 to 10 Saturday night.
The gallery will be open from then until July 20.

COST: free

CALL: (714) 966-6660

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