I was so overworked during the summer months that late in June I missed the 50th anniversary of the birth of the psychedelic poster, something of a regrettable oversight considering I had an article about psychedelic art in print throughout that month.
This weathered item from June 1965 is generally credited as the first example of a type of poster whose influence—diluted or not—would be global during the next few years, hence the nickname given to it by collectors: “The Seed”. George Hunter and Michael Ferguson were the artists, and the antiquated drawing style is partly an attempt to complement the persona of The Charlatans, a San Francisco group who adopted 19th-century clothing styles. The Seed may appear naive in light of all that was happening a year later but Hunter & Ferguson’s florid graphics were something new in 1965; the poster for the Jefferson Airplane’s first show at the Fillmore in February 1966 is more restrained in comparison, as were other concert posters from around the same time. The most surprising thing about The Seed as a cultural landmark is that it was promoting a series of concerts over the state border in Virginia City, Nevada, not San Francisco as you might expect.