The Posters of the Grateful Dead Archive

Randy Tuten

Randy Tuten (1946– ) represents the second generation of Haight-Ashbury poster artist, but one steeped in its heritage. His participation in the traditions he admires stems from careful study; in the process, he built an extraordinary collection that thoroughly documents the San Francisco poster renaissance. A working artist, he has executed simple designs tailored for newspaper reproduction to elaborate posters with striking images and supple lettering. Tuten’s subtle, psychedelic sensibility can be seen in his powerful adaptation of traditional advertising motifs and design for BG 175, with its clean lines and striking colors muting the photograph of Steve Miller.

One of Tuten’s best-known works commemorates another power pairing of the Airplane and the Dead, BG 171. Originally, he wanted to create another variation on Sullivan’s skeleton and roses engraving, but Bill Graham vetoed the idea, saying that Mouse and Kelley’s effort already covered that territory. Instead, Tuten chose another image from the same edition, this one illustrating quatrain 31, but adding the airplane.

Images not displayed at artist's request.