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John Moehring

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John Moehring, September 16, 2018. Longmont, Colorado. Photo by Glen Beebe.

John Moehring was born on October 25, 1947, and died on January 12, 2019.[1] In the late 1960s, Moehring was one of the most prolific [2]psychedelic rock poster artists in Seattle, Washington. [3] His posters have been described by Art Chantry as "the most accomplished and finest examples of northwest psych I found."[4]

Early Years[edit]

Some of Moehring's earliest artistic influences were his father, Bruce, who Moehring described as "a really good portrait artist,” and artists N.C. Wyeth and Arthur Rackham, whose illustrations for "Treasure Island" and "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" made an impression on Moehring. Later, in 1964, at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, Washington, Moehring became friends with Walt Crowley (June 20, 1947 – September 21, 2007), who joined Moehring for sketching sessions in the Crowley family's basement.[3] Crowley wrote about Moehring in his 1995 memoir of Seattle in the 1960s, Rites of Passage. In it, he refers to Moehring as, "My best friend John Moehring (later one of Seattle's most prolific psychedelic poster artists)..." [5] and writes "John Moehring and I shared an apartment in the infamous 'Monarch Annex' on Brooklyn."[6]

Rock Posters[edit]

In 1967, rock promoter Trips Lansing hired Moehring to create what would become Moehring's first rock poster. The occasion was a "Trips Festival" at Seattle's Eagles Auditorium on March 19. Headliners were the Seeds, with support with by Daily Flash, Emergency Exit, P.H. Phactor Jug Band, West Coast Natural Gas, and Magic Fern. Moehring would do a few more posters for Lansing, but the promoter who gave him the most work was Boyd Grafmyre, who became the booker at Eagles. As Walt Crowley writes of Grafmyre in Rites of Passage, "His shows shows were often advertised via posters designed by my old high school friend John Moehring, who was then heavily influenced by the style of Aubrey Beardsley."[7] Between 1967 and 1969, Moehring designed at least 20 posters for Grafmyre, for concerts featuring the Grateful Dead, [8] Doors, Frank Zappa, Big Brother and the Holding Company, [9] Donovan, Jeff Beck, and many others. [3]

For a good part of this period, Moehring was also a member of a light show called Retina Circus,[10][11] which provided lights for Grafmyre at Eagles. [12] As both a poster artist and member of Retina Circus, Moehring collaborated on a poster for the light show with Wes Wilson. [13]

In an interview about his book, The Art of Rock: Posters From Presley to Punk, author Paul Grushkin said "John Moehring very clearly was one of the Pacific Northwest's greatest artists.'[14] Indeed, four of Moehring's posters are reproduced in The Art of Rock. [15]

Later Years[edit]

According Jacob McMurray, Director of Curatorial, Collections & Exhibits at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, there are 60 examples of John Moehring's posters and graphics, mostly from the late 1960s, in MoPOP's collection.[16] A 1969 poster created for Heidelberg beer is in the collection of the Washington State Historical Society.[17] And in 1972, Moehring was hired by the Washington Transit Advertising to paint the interior and exterior of a "people bus" for the Seattle Transit System. [18] [19]

In 2015, artist Scott McDougall self-published his book about the greater Seattle rock-poster scene called Split Fountain Hieroglyphics: Psychedelic Concert Posters from the Seattle Area, 1966-1969, which was designed by Glen Beebe, edited by Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly, and included an introduction by Art Chantry. Thirty works by John Moehring are reproduced in that book, evidence of the artist's importance to that scene. [20] Prior to publication, unsuccessful attempts were made by McDougall and his team to track down Moehring, but upon publication of the book, Moehring contacted McDougall. Moehring attended the book signing on September 23, 2015, at the Jolly Roger Taproom in Ballard. It was there that Moehring met Marks and agreed to an interview, which was published on May 25, 2016. [3]

In 2018, an auction by Classic Posters offered seven John Moehring posters from the late 1960s.[21] Four sold at prices above their high estimates; the other three sold above their low estimates.[22]

References[edit]

  1. http://www.tributes.com/obituary/show/John-Moehring-106743739
  2. "Daily Rumor No. 1". Digital Collections. University of Washington.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "All-Night French Fries with T-Rex: Seattle's Trippiest Rock-Poster Artist Tells All".
  4. Chantry, Art. "Hangin' with Uncle John's Band". Madame Pickwick Art Blog. Madame Pickwick. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  5. Crowley, Walt (1995). Rites of Passage (First ed.). Seattle and London: University of Washington Press. p. 48. ISBN 0-295-97492-3. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  6. Crowley, Walt (1995). Rites of Passage. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press. p. 53. ISBN 0-295-97492-3. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  7. Crowley, Walt (1995). Rites of Passage. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press. p. 81. ISBN 0-295-97492-3. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  8. "[current-page:url:arg:3]".
  9. "A History of Graphic Design: Chapter 84: The San Francisco School - Psychedelic Revolution".
  10. Batie, Jean (May 28, 1969). "Retina Circus Makes Big Contribution With Light-Painting in Opera House Show". The Seattle Times.
  11. Mortensen, Dan (June 5, 1969). "Retina Circus Light Co. Activities Seen" (PDF) (Mercer Hi Times). Mercer Island High School.
  12. Johnstone, Milo (1994). The Magic Decade: A Street Level Glimpse of Seattle During the Mutinous Sixties. Self. p. 164. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  13. McDougall, Scott (2015). Split Fountain Hieroglyphics: Psychedelic Concert Posters from the Seattle Area, 1966-1969. Seattle: Scott McDougall. p. 74, 75, 121. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  14. Tomlinson, Stuart (9 Nov 1987). "10-pound book, 30 years of prints". The Oregonian. p. B01.
  15. Grushkin, Paul (2015). The Art of Rock: Posters from Presley to Punk. Abbeville Press. pp. 249, 258, 288, 310. ISBN 978-0789212504. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  16. "Object List" (PDF).
  17. "Heidelberg beer". Washington State Historical Society.
  18. Liddell, Pete (January 14, 1972). "Hip bus to make colorful splash". The Seattle Times.
  19. "Wes Uhlman". Legacy Washington. Office of the Secretary of State.
  20. McDougall, Scott (2015). Split Fountain Hieroglyphics: Psychedelic Concert Posters from the Seattle Area, 1966-1969 (First ed.). Seattle, Washington: Scott McDougall. pp. 15, 17, 31, 44, 46, 48–51, 53, 55–65, 69, 72–77, 80, 81, 84, 90, 92, 94, 95, 98, 116, 117, 120, 121, 123, 126, 129, 131, 134. ISBN 978-1-68222-140-2. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  21. The Rock Poster Society (23 November 2018). "John Moehring Archive Up for Auction". trps.org. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  22. "November / December 2018 Auction".

Category:Album-cover and concert-poster artists Category:American poster artists Category:Psychedelic artists


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