Monterrey International Pop Festival, Tom Wilkes 1967 poster
1967 the Summer of the Love, and the summer of the legendary Monterrey International Pop Festival. A west coast music festival with acts such as Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin and Otis Reading lighting up the stage with some of the most legendary performances of the decade. Jimi Hendrix’s performance was particularly infamous, while on stage he preceded to light his guitar on fire while playing it. At the festival there was also special LSD called Monterrey Purple, Provide by Owsley Stanly. Stanly the Grateful Dead’s soundman and at the time one of the only producers of LSD in the world, the Monterrey festival was legendary and rightfully so. The Posters and art advertising the festival lived up to the festivals assigned cultural significance. A sumptuously done poster by Tom Wilkes a regular bay area artist is a spectacular example of the 1960s counter culture aesthetics. As the art director of the Monterrey International Pop Festival, Tom Wilkes promotions for the festival were seen all over the streets of the Haight and greater bay area in the summer of 1967.
The center of the poster is dominated by a photograph of an exotic and tranced looking woman, in black and white, against a colorful illustrated background. Posed in a meditative like fashion and seemingly frozen she dominates the center of the space. Placed in an archway with a patterned background she seems to be occupying some alternate space and time. Here stoic and frozen facial features are mysterious and intriguing. She has an outward gaze however she is looking outward at an angle not accessible to the view. Effectively cutting the view off from making eye contact with the only and central figure in the work. Her foreign dress looks somewhat South Asian and accentuates her breasts. Contrasting the void of color created by the figure is a colored and illustrated looking tie fashioned around her neck. In the center of the time is one of the other logos designed by Wilkes for the festival a reed flout playing Faun, himself wearing a multicolored psychedelic tie.
The background of the archway is one of the patters that 1960s poster art is famous for. Monochrome targets with black rings and black triangular pendentive like shapes between them. The colored background, behind the uncolored girl make her pop out at the viewer highlighting her presence. The tie on the girl witch is a purple color and the green used in the circles in the filler are used on other parts of the poster units the seemingly diametric composition. The filler and outline for the text on the top of the poster used both the green and purple tones. The dates on the top of the poster conform to the allotted space of the rectangle of the poster and the central archway, by curving the words around. This technique was common of poster art simulating the warping effects of LSD on the words and numbers. The bottom of the poster has the title, Monterrey International Pop Festival, is in large rounded block letters. The letters are filled with a blue that is not solid but rather has the appearance of rippling water. Wilkes poster for this prolific Festival embodied the sprit style of bay area psychedelic poster art.