Original Hawaiian Aoxomoxoa

AOR 3.116 poster Hawaiian Aoxomoxoa, 1968 Grateful Dead poster by Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin 


Original Hawaiian Aoxomoxoa, 1968


First printing, lithograph, Very Good


Framed: 36 1/4: tall x 25" wide


Currently not for sale


Detail, top

Detail, center

Detail, bottom

Frame at angle

Close-up of frame, left

Close-up of frame, right

Full frontal



Reverse of poster - attached to the board from its original frame

Selecting our frame


NOTE: We have the not-quite-as-rare Second Printing of this poster available HERE



With less than 30 pieces in existence, this exceptionally rare poster is considered to be the Holy Grail by most collectors. It was designed by Rick Griffin for a series of shows that were to be held at the Honolulu International Center’s Exhibit Hall. Unfortunately, the shows were cancelled, the promoter never paid the printer, and the printer threw most of the items in the trash because there wasn't a collector’s market for posters at the time. Legend has it that Rick Griffin begged the printer to let him take some of them back with him on the plane to San Francisco – there are believed to be fewer than 30 original posters left in existence.



Due to the poster’s popularity, a second printing was authorized and printed in 1982 by Rick Griffin and Jose Kent.



Since Griffin’s poster had been (largely) destroyed, he decided to use the gist of the artistic content to design a poster for Soundproof Productions, who had taken over producing concerts at the Avalon Ballroom after Chet Helm’s Family Dog did not renew their lease. Soundproof wanted to make a splash and so Griffin gave them just that with an oversized, heavy-stock maxim opus we now refer to as the Aoxomoxoa poster advertising the Grateful Dead and others in late January 1969. The Dead liked the poster so much they asked Griffin to rework it for their third album cover. Aoxomoxoa was originally titled Earthquake Country. Aoxomoxoa, the word, is credited to Griffin and Robert Hunter. It was applied retroactively to this, it’s Hawaiian forebear.



The July 26, 1968 Honolulu Advertiser reported:


The Grateful Dead, a San Francisco 'hard rock' combo, has canceled its weekend performances at the Honolulu International Center. An early 1969 date now is planned instead.



[Cryptically,] Rock Scully, manager of the Warner Bros.-Seven Arts Records act, said that 'response to the Dead was more than ever expected, but in this heavy entertainment season, we feel we just won't reach all of the people that we would like to.'”



The July 27, 1968 Honolulu Star-Bulletin followed up: "The Grateful Dead's scheduled dance this weekend at the International Center Exhibition Hall was scrubbed.



Peter, Paul & Mary conclude their two-day Waikiki Shell engagement tonight at 8:30 p.m. The Dead would no doubt have been just that at the box office trying to compete against PP&M.



Promoter John Herbert says he dropped a bundle on the Dead venture, but is staging a free concert-picnic tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Sandy Beach, hoping to maintain good will with fans of the Dead."

Back To Top