“The Flames” by Wes Wilson

“The Flames” a poster for The Association in 1966

The Flames poster for The Association in 1966 is considered the first true psychedelic poster. The Association was an American pop band from California. This poster is printed by Mr. Ivor Powell, the pressman at West Coast Litho. He also printed Wilson’s “Are We Next?” poster. He created this poster at the time when he was creating two to three posters a week. Wilson even had to wake his wife up in the middle of the night to fill in the poster because he was working on anther poster. When he was producing this poster, he was living in Mill Valley and Ivor Powell called Wilson up to tell him that Powell’s boss forgot to put an acetate base on the poster to fill the entire image when he was making the plate. The guys noticed that thin white lines were appearing here and there in the poster when they started printing. In an interview with Collectors Weekly, Wilson told Powell that, “’You know, that’s probably going to help it. Just make it like it’s a highlight on one side of the lettering and not on the other, if you can. Move the plate around a little bit on the image.’” Once Wilson finally saw the prints, he thought the white lines looked good with the poster. This is the first poster I ever saw of Wilson’s when I first discovered his work about five years ago and I have always loved it. I love fluidity of the typography. I have gotten to simple modernism, which is wonderful, but I love the controlled chaos of Wilson’s work. I agree that the white lines add something special to the poster. I think it makes it come alive a bit more and look less flat. I love how Wilson uses fluid type to make another image. Wilson’s work truly inspired me to continue studying graphic design at university. It would be super amazing to be considered the person to start an entire art movement. This was the first poster of psychedelic rock era.


Marks, Ben. “Psychedelic Poster Pioneer Wes Wilson on The Beatles, Doors, and Bill Graham.” Collectors Weekly, 19 Sept. 2011, www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/psychedelic-poster-pioneer-wes-wilson/.