The Posters of the Grateful Dead Archive

Mouse and Kelley

The first wave of poster artists was nicknamed The Big Five. One quality that unites their otherwise different styles is their commitment to collaboration. Alton Kelley’s kitchen was a favorite meeting place, where Victor Moscoso, Wes Wilson, Stanley Mouse, and Rick Griffin would share techniques and critique each other’s efforts, often working on pieces together. That cooperative ideal was the essence of the Haight-Ashbury, with its emphasis on the power of harmonious, ego-less cooperation as the basis for art and community.

Frankenstein (Family Dog 22)

This image was created by the famed partnership of Stanley “Mouse” Miller and Alton Kelley, two members of the Big Five. Mouse, as he is known, (1940– ) attended art school in Detroit but credits hot rod shows for his airbrush technique. Arriving in San Francisco in 1965, he soon began collaborating with his close friend Alton Kelley (1940–2008) to create some of the seminal images of the era. This effort marks the pair’s first attempt to match the band’s name with an iconic image; the misspelling of the name “Greateful” shows that they had not quite found the perfect fit.