John Van Hamersveld is an American graphic artist and illustrator who designed posters and also record jackets for pop and psychedelic bands from the 1960s onward. Among the 300 albums are the covers of Magical Mystery Tour by the Beatles, Crown of Creation by Jefferson Airplane, Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones, Skeletons from the Closet by the Grateful Dead and Hotter Than Hell by Kiss.
His first major assignment, in 1963, was designing what became the iconic poster for the surf film The Endless Summer, after which he served as Capitol Records' head of design from 1965 to 1968. During that time, he worked on the artwork for a total of 54 albums by Capitol artists including the Beatles and the Beach Boys. He also oversaw the design of the psychedelic posters for the Pinnacle Shrine Auditorium and Expo Center - which is our primary concern!
John Van Hamersveld’s landmark 1968 Pinnacle rock concert posters, especially the world-famous Jimi Hendrix portrait, created a monumental influence on pop culture artists for generations to come, including Shepard Fairey, who modeled one of the images in his "Obey Giant" series on Van Hamersveld's 1968 poster advertising a Jimi Hendrix show at the Shrine Auditorium and later wrote about Van Hamersveld's design, "It's an illustration with the perfect balance of designed restraint and idiosyncratic, organic style. The image also, though highly stylized, conveys the essence of Jimi Hendrix"
In March of 1967 Van Hamersveld was visiting his surf/artist friend, Rick Griffin, an underground poster maker, in San Francisco. He had money from his Capitol Records job to travel and had two two loft studios with his roommates wanting something to do. He returned, awoke out of a dream, to a vision of the word “Pinnacle,” and started a production company called ‘Pinnacle Rock Concerts’ for which Van Hamersveld designed the posters and his partners managed the deals and dates. They produced 14 shows from November 1967 through mid-1968 with some of the most important artists at the time including Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Buffalo Springfield, Jeff Beck, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd, the Velvet Underground and Vanilla Fudge.
Van Hamersveld continues to produce art in Los Angeles