"It's a disposable thing, for sure," Dean said,
strolling around his home, showing off his collection. "It's a promotional tool, so
it doesn't hang up very long. But there has been some fantastic artwork done for rock
posters; and me being a collector, I think it's its own art form, and I'd like to preseve
Case in point: The crown jewel in Dean's collection is framed history -- a
poster from the final show at San Francisco's famed Winterland on Dec. 31, 1978, featuring
the Grateful Dead and the Blues Brothers. The poster, a soothing, dark-toned array with a
blue rose as the centerpiece, is autographed by the artists, Stanley Mouse and Al Kelley.
Mouse and Kelley are known for their album covers, too (Journey, etc.)
Dean gazed on the poster for probably the thousandth time, but the original
reverence has not been lost. "There's more than advertising here," he said,
"These guys created some beautiful art. There's a historical record here."
Rock posters used to be a thriving artistic outlet. It's almost a lost art
today because it's extremely cost prohibitive. The throngs of new, young bands trying to
pack their shows at Eclipse can run off hundreds of neon flybills at Kinko's for a
splinter of the cost of a four-color silk-screened poster, and promoters of large acts
reach more fans and spend less through print and broadcast media than pretty posters.
Still, Dean thinks the death knoll for rock posters has not yet rung. In his
'copious' spare time between work as a Chef at Mary's Trattoria, school at Tulsa Junior
College and manning his booth at the fairgrounds flea market, Dean has taken up the art
himself. During the last year, he printed posters for several shows at the Cain's Ballroom
-- The Black Crowes, Gregg Allman, Steppenwolf and Ian Moore.
This month he finished his first silk-screen poster. It's a three-color piece
to advertise the Steve Miller and the Doobie Brothers show at Mohawk Park on Wednesday.
The poster recalls the psychedelic renderings of the heyday of rock posters -- the late
'60s. "I gave it a kind of art nouveau border and a nymph in the middle. I'm a big
fan of Maxfield Parrish and fantasy art," Dean said.
Posters really flourished around the ballrooms and theaters in San Francisco
about 25 years ago, when rock music was taking shape and was entertwined with psychedelic
art, Dean said.
"Back then, everyone was hit with this barrage of images," he said.
"Posters were competing for attention, so they had to be something you'd stop and
look at. If you stood there staring at a poster, trying to decipher the cool art, you were
going to remember the show."
"It was those ballrooms that first utilized posters, some of which
became legendary. They showcased talent like Larry (Shaeffer, of Tulsa's Little Wing
Productions) does, and as such I feel honored to do posters for him," Dean said.
"I'd be thrilled if I could get another poster scene going in this town."
It's happened before. Tulsa had an impressive poster scene in the late '70s
and early '80s. Brian Thompson created some stunning posters for many shows at the Cain's.
"I'm kind of living in the past, and I know that," Dean said.
"I came of age in the '70s, so I'm partial to that music and that art."
Thus, he's built a careful collection of rock posters, from the famous
Woodstock "Days of Peace" poster to rarities like the Flying Eyeball poster
pushing a show with Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall and Albert King.
He started collecting 10 years ago when a friend sold him his collection.
"I do it because it's fun," he said. "I like the music and the
art, so it fulfills both interests. I enjoy talking to people with similar interests and
flipping out when we discover something we've been looking for. It's a thrill to sit at
the flea market and watch people go by, see the looks of nostalgia in their eyes."
Fans and collectors can fill their eyes with nostalgia at Dean's booth,
Psychedelic Relics, at the fairgrounds flea market, open every Saturday, or call him at
[No longer the number].
Copyright (c) 1995 by the World