The Posters of the Grateful Dead Archive

Bob Fried Morning Glory

Another important addition to the growing roster of artists creating images for the Dead and other San Francisco bands and events was Bob Fried (1937–1975), a trained commercial artist who taught at the San Francisco Art Institute. Like the work of his friend Victor Moscoso, Fried’s formal training gave his work remarkable precision and restraint, creating designs that explored geometry and color in a strikingly unique style. Hippies believed Fried’s primary goal was the depiction of the psychedelic experience itself. “I wanted to create new posters,” Fried explained:

I wanted to keep them simple, and I wanted them to have entrances and passages. I wanted my posters to convey feelings of dimensional space, like what you feel when you trip on acid. Passing from one reality to another. I wanted to express a kind of space network, rushing, floating, going through time. I wanted people to feel in my posters the sense of discovery I myself was experiencing.

“Trip and Ski” celebrated one of the Dead’s forays beyond San Francisco, later immortalized in an official live recording, Dick’s Picks 22. In 1970, Fried was given the honor of a solo gallery show at Berkeley’s Phoenix Gallery, and his poster commemorating that show demonstrates how easily he moved from the rough and tumble world of rock and roll posters to fine art. Fried continued to do work for the Dead through his tragic early death in 1975; the Dead performed a benefit concert for him (billed as Jerry Garcia and Friends) in one of their rare performances

Bob Fried, “Bob Fried, October 7 - November 7 [1970], Phoenix Gallery, Berkeley.”