Grateful Dead in Telluride poster
“Grateful Dead in Telluride poster,” Grateful Dead Archive Online, accessed November 23, 2014, http://www.gdao.org/items/show/1693922.
- The following are remembrances surrounding the event and creation of the Grateful Dead in Telluride 1987 poster.
During the summer of 1987 the rejuvenated Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead hit the road high on the success of their "In the Dark" album and chart song "Touch of Grey". Promoter Bill Graham wanted to bring The Grateful Dead to Telluride, Colorado where he had a summer home. Many opposed the thought of the Deadheads coming to their mountain retreat, but the concert was scheduled for August 15 & 16, 1987.
As one of the few rock artists in the area and a Deadhead myself, felt that there just HAD to be a poster and it didn't seem anyone was doing one. I tried numerous times trying to contact both the GD and Bill Graham but never received a response. I decided to draw up the poster and print it myself to get out to area music stores or appropriate outlets to let folks know about the show.
While seeking inspiration, I found an article referring to Butch Cassidy's first bank robbery in Telluride and the classic photo of the famed "Wild Bunch". Instantly I saw a skeletal version as a perfect idea if I add one more character to match the band members of the current Grateful Dead lineup.
The original illustration was all hand drawn actual size, with the characters in pencil shading and all the type and design in pen and ink. The original offset printing of approx.1000 posters was 2 hits each of gold and brown on 18 x 24 and most were distributed around the show. A consecutive printing was printed exactly the same but under-trimmed, probably due to slight shipping damage. Originals are quite rare to find.
As the originals were pretty much all gone by then, in 2007, I wanted to do a commemorative 20th anniversary screen printed edition of 400 limited edition prints, which have also near sold out. There are a few technical changes and differences from the original offset poster.
Immediately following the concerts, I got a phone call from David Graham (Bill's son), who thanked me for doing them and told me how much he and Bill liked them. Plus he expressed their regrets for not connecting with me, as shirts and other merch would have been cool too...oh well. We then just talked about the concerts for quite a while.
David also asked if I would send posters for Bill's Archives, even though it wasn't a BGP poster. I was honored and personally signed some for Bill, the band and a few others and sent them off.
My proudest moment in this story came years later when a friend informed me that when he visited Bill in his office, my Grateful Dead Telluride poster graced the wall right behind his desk. For me to have grown up in awe of all the early psychedelic posters and artists under Bill's wing...to have a spot on the wall was fabulous news. I'm also told it displays in the hall of Denver's Fillmore.
Wolfgang's Vault currently shows Bill's signed copy on display online.
**NOTE: this was also contributed to Art of the Dead...book by Phil Cushway.
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