My Art, My Life

978-1-58731-523-7c 978-1-58731-524-4p
Cloth $100; Paper $23
176 pages, 6" x 9" (openbak binding), introduction, illustrated throughout in b/w; with a special 16-page color section, index

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My Art, My Life

Van Hamersveld, John

The iconic Endless Summer movie poster and artist John Van Hamersveld’s highly recognizable and sometimes psychedelic art began with the renowned color-saturated sunset and surfer poster for the 1966 movie. Inspired by a sunset photo of a beach in Orange County, it was destined to become an internationally recognized icon of Southern California’s surfing scene. His works include famous album covers for the Beatles and Rolling Stones, as well as concert posters for Jimi Hendrix and Cream.

Van Hamersveld’s journey took him from these sun-drenched beaches to the drug-infused world of Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Laurel Canyon, hotbeds of countercultural activity and attitudes in the 1960s and home to many of the era’s top rockers – Frank Zappa, The Doors, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and Love.

In his partnership with the Pinnacle Dance Concerts, “The Hammer” helped expose larger audiences in L.A. to such acts as Hendrix, Cream, The Who, Pink Floyd, Blue Cheer, The Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Grateful Dead, and the Velvet Underground.

By 1969 it was all about Woodstock –  not just an event, a happening, or a concert with 400,000 people, but a pivotal moment of realization for an entire generation and an entire country.

The fantasy ended with Richard Nixon’s government and its concerted efforts to divide generation from generation. Large holding companies in the finance business bought up the Sixties, cheap, and sold it to following decades as nostalgia, repackaged by marketers. Love and peace were up for sale.

John Van Hamersveld was not just a chronicler, but a player and forger of the surf culture that defined a generation and that continues to make an old world young again.

Throughout My Art, My Life, Van Hamersveld recounts his early life as a canvas or archetypal modes that tell the tale of the beginning of an entire Southern California culture that attracted and inspired youth West and East worldwide. His style is more Kesey than Kerouac, recounting a past as an object of the present. It is an interesting life from both a participant and an observer, filled with bright images that gladden the heart.