1960s Icon Peter Max Talks Art, Music, and His Outside Lands Poster

Peter Max's "The Different Drummer


In the late 1960s, painter Peter Max was almost as famous as the rock stars he befriended, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Paul McCartney. Like them, he was a fixture on TV (Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson) and in print, as when he made the cover of LIFE magazine in 1969. With artwork that employed bright, boisterous colors and festive scenes of stars, planets and rainbows, Max helped define the counterculture of his era. He's still an active artist (and a rabid fan of rock and other music). So when Outside Lands invited Max to create a poster for this weekend's festival in Golden Gate Park (the poster is only available at the festival itself), Max leaped at the opportunity.

In a phone interview with SF Weekly from his home in New York, Max talked about the evolution of his signature style; his friendships with Hendrix, McCartney, and John Lennon; how the movie Yellow Submarine ripped off his art; and why he's still very much in demand as an artist.

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