Firehouse Workshop with BRAG 2007
Four members of the The British Rock Artists’ Group (BRAG) ignited San Francisco when they visited the Firehouse Kustom Rockart Company. Firehouse invited BRAG to come here to create a set of silkscreen posters for the 40th Anniversary of the Summer of Love concert.
Firehouse artists Ron Donovan and I organized the workshop with BRAG to bring the British artists to San Francisco to make a poster series, but we wanted something more. Ron and I also wanted to expose them to the rich poster tradition of The City. We planned a series of guest artist visits and educational lectures that highlighted the many facets of the rock poster world from a San Francisco perspective.
BRAG artists Rhys Wootten, Jamie McGregor, Matt Douthwaite and Adrian Day were four of the dozen or so members of the British art group who responded to the invitation. They were able to drop busy job and family schedules to participate in the workshop.
San Francisco is the mecca of the original psychedelic poster tradition. It’s also the well-spring of the current world-wide poster renaissance. Firehouse felt it was appropriate to bring these British artists here to produce posters for the 40th anniversary of the seminal San Francisco psychedelic moment – The Summer of Love.
I asked Boots Hughston for his blessing to create a limited edition silkscreen poster set for the 2B1 organized concert in Golden Gate Park. The set was designated the BRAG Series, and with Firehouse producing one of the posters, five posters comprise the set.
The British artists created their designs in England and brought them to San Francisco to print them here at the Firehouse Kustom Rockart Company, located at 179 11th Street in SOMA.
During the printing workshop we were visited by some of San Francisco’s best poster artists and rock poster authorities:
- The BRAGsters arrived just in time to attend the “Council of Light Be-In” on Friday, August 24, held at the 2B1 warehouse on 17th Street and Folsom in the Mission.
- BRAG members, whether in England or participating in the Firehouse Workshop, were inducted into TRPS by friendly and welcoming TRPS member Mark Rodriguez.
- BRAG members helped with two Firehouse posters on Saturday and Sunday – one for a Joe Strummer Tribute at Bottom of the Hill (Endless Strummer) and another for a tribute to Erno Szabady, master tattooist, at the Peacock Lounge. BRAG members helped me finish and deliver these posters.
- On Sunday evening the guest artist visits began with an inking demonstration.
- Monday at 9 am the Brits gathered at the Firehouse to go to Artrock Gallery on 5th Street and Folsom to meet Phil Cushway. Phil dazzled the visiting artists with a wonderful look through many rock art originals and mechanicals from different periods of San Francisco’s poster history.
- Paul Grushkin arrived at the Firehouse studio at noon the same Monday and gave an enthusiastic and inspiring lecture on the scope of poster art.
- Met Dennis King (at the Summer of Love concert) the author of The Art of Modern Rock.
- Made a radio interview with radio host “John Hell” and co-host “Ice Cream” at Pirate Cat Radio at 9pm Monday, August 27.
- Meanwhile back at the Firehouse studio, NBC local affiliate videographer named Rob filmed the finishing touches of Jamie’s poster and interviewed Ron and I for a story to be aired on NBC news on the Sunday night news, September 2.
- On Wednesday, August 29 at 4 pm the four members of BRAG met with Arlene Owseichik, the art director of Bill Graham Presents, at The Fillmore auditorium. She gave a very informative and charming lecture.
- Alan Hynes dropped by the studio and showed the BRAG artists his poster portfolio. He talked to them about design ideas that utilize materials and visual puns.
- Chris Shaw and Dennis Loren appeared to discuss poster art. Dennis covered a host of historical issues, detailing his rich experience while seated in a circle of attentive Brits in the studio common area. A little later, Chris Shaw discussed offset printing techniques and shared his experience as one of The Fillmore’s most prolific poster artists.
- a poster show sponsored by TRPS at Aspect Gallery, 731 Polk Street, on Saturday, September 1. The show was a pleasant and successful evening for the Brits who met many members of TRPS and their new San Francisco fans. They showed their new Summer of Love poster sets along with the rock art work of BRAG.
- Lawrence “El” Collocion was able to introduce the British artists to the Chicano roots of silkscreen arts and California culture.
- Attended the Summer of Love 40th Anniversary concert at Golden Gate Park and sold their finished posters.
Only one thing was left: a congratulation dinner at the Beach Chalet with a beautiful view of the sun setting over the Pacific and dozens of beach bonfires, ringed by Summer of Love revelers. Cheers BRAG!
link: Creative Review