Surfing a 1960s California wave
50 Years of Graphic Designby John Van Hamersveld
Foreword by Shepard Fairey
Design by John Van Hamersveld
Ginko Press, £42.50, $49.95
Having spent a week alternately prancing and slogging through John Van Hamersveld’s career-capping monograph, I have two responses: appreciation and frustration. Van Hamersveld is a towering presence in American graphic design, largely for a handful of posters and album covers done between the 1960s and 1980s. He is also versatile: outside the hermetic circle of graphic design, his best known images are topped by ‘The Endless Summer’ poster, an emblem of surf culture (1966); the ‘Pinnacle Shrine Hendrix’ poster, a touchstone of 1960s electric psychedelia (1968); the covers for Jimmy McGriff’s Black Pearl album (1972) and the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St (1972). Much of his other work, while minor in the grand scheme, could occupy pedestals in the graphic design pantheon. This monograph is long overdue.
Cover uses a recoloured detail of the Hendrix poster.
Top: spread shows two Van Hamersveld posters from 1968: the ‘Pinnacle Shrine Hendrix’ (left) and the ‘Pinnacle Shrine Indian’.
Steven Heller, design writer, New York
Read the full version in Eye no. 86 vol. 22 2013
Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. You can see what Eye 86 looks like at Eye before You Buy on Vimeo.