In the 1960s, Rick Griffin’s rare breed of psychedelic art became a symbol for counterculture. His illustrations canvassed underground comix, album covers, film posters, and SURFER Magazine. While working as a cartoonist for SURFER, he created the character “Murphy” who former SURFER editor Steve Barilotti describes as an “eternally sunny, terminally misunderstood young surf kid who at the time gave the fledgling surf culture its first and perhaps best face.”
Griffin did work for the Grateful Dead, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, and The Doors, as well as for Rolling Stone magazine, designing their original logo. “Over the time-warped span of the ’60s, he created defining icons for three pillars of West Coast counterculture: surfing, psychedelic rock and underground comics,” says Barilotti. “In many ways Griffin was the Jules Verne of surfing. He imagined surfers doing incredible aerials and ripping massive waves on shortboards in ways that weren’t even on the radar in the late ’60s. He drew the future.” Now, Barilotti plans to produce a feature-length documentary about his story.
“My film will be an adventure,” says Barilotti, “picking up the trail of Griffin’s amazing journey that started nearly 70 years ago in post-war suburban Southern California, traveling through the explosion of ’60s youth culture, and leading to the psychedelic revolution.” The documentary’s Kickstarter page is open for donations now.
Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects, where people pledge dollar support to independent projects of all shapes and sizes. The funding is all or nothing—a project must meet its set goal before the deadline, or no money changes hands. For Barilotti, that means at least $20,000 must be pledged by Monday, Oct. 29 for this film to become a reality.
“Murphy” from SURFER Magazine in 1962, Grateful Dead poster art, and the original Rolling Stone logo: