This silkscreen “headshop poster” was made by Pro Arts Inc. in Medina Ohio and is dated 1970. The silkscreen process lets the artist really pour on the paint for a vibrant rich color effect but with silkscreens this old there is also some cracking of the paint.
There is little scholarship about headshop posters and they were frequently printed in small batches as demand required and so these is not way to tell what printing this poster is. Given that few of these posters lasted even a decade, it’s a wonder than ANY are left at all. The central image of the "queen" was taken from a 1969 photo of Grace Slick by Joe Sia. Did Pro Arts actually license the image from Sia? Not sure will be ablr to find out because he passed away in 2003 and the poster artist, Tom Gatz died a year before that.
Artist Tom Gatz was born in Detroit in 1943. He served in the Air Force Vietnam and came back and settled in Kent Ohio where for a few years in the early 1970s produced psychedelic posters for Pro Arts Inc. in Media Ohio. He moved to St. Petersburg Florida in 1972 where, as an airbrush artist, he ran his on firm, Airbrush by Atom at John’s Pass in Madeira Beach FL. He was a musician and drummer and was a member of the Musicians Union in Tampa.
This image – which has been reprinted on cardboard and in smaller sizes – has plenty of hidden treasures including a couple making love, a ship to new lands, peacock feathers, an eyeball and maybe more. The Acid Queen herself, from the song on the Who’s Tommy, is smoking a classic chamber pipe, small for concealment and often with a screw-on top. [we know this from hearsay, of course…]