Renowned Grateful Dead poster artist Richard Biffle began his career by selling art out of his van while following the band around the country.
Now, more than 20 years later, most of his works have sold out and are in high demand.
What: The Art of Richard Biffle
When: Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: PosterScene, 1138 13th St., Boulder
In addition to the Dead, the rock poster artist — who recently moved to Nederland — has worked closely with artists such as The Black Crowes, Carlos Santana, The Doobie Brothers and Yonder Mountain String Band to create works of art that have morphed into valuable, vintage pieces.
“I’ve had a lot of fun in the rock ‘n’ roll business,” Biffle said. “It’s a seedy business and it can get nasty, but it’s the nature of the beast. It has been a fascinating world.”
Biffle’s work is on display as part of a Grateful Dead exhibit running through Oct. 3 at Boulder’s PosterScene, 1138 13th St. The shop hosts a meet-and-greet with the artist from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Bryce Hall, owner of PosterScene, said it’s great to have a long-time artist still in the business, especially with such a recent surge in interest in rock posters.
“I love that Richard keeps in the spirit of poster art of the past as well as keeping things fresh in the present,” Hall said. “It seems everybody wants to be a poster artist these days, so people like Richard, who has been around a long time, it’s great to see he’s still doing it.”
Biffle agreed that poster art has garnered a cult following lately.
“It has become more of an art, other than just an advertisement for a show,” Biffle said. “Music art is great for collector’s items. It’s more than just owning a band T-shirt. You can frame these pieces and keep them around and they usually gain value over time.”
Biffle’s diversity ranges from psychedelic Dead poster art to vintage Gov’t Mule pieces to modern Black Crowes posters.
“My style is very diverse, which is my biggest asset,” Biffle said. “I have an equal balance of style that can be adapted to whatever the band requests.”
Biffle said he mainly collaborates directly with the bands to create the art, however, he said it has become a bit challenging over the years as the market is now flooded with artists.
“Recently this business has become a tough one with the competition,” Biffle said. “There are a lot of great artists out there. Most of the bands I work with in the past call me up and request a poster and we’ll sketch out some ideas, but now many bands are going out to 10 different artists and picking the poster they like best.”
Biffle still traditionally paints on canvas, but he said technology has really revolutionized the rock poster scene.
“Using computer illustration is so fast-paced,” Biffle said. “In the past, we had to Fed Ex the posters and paintings across the country, but now we can e-mail a draft instantly.”
Biffle uses PhotoShop to create his art. He takes his time with each piece in order to create individual and unique work.
“I try to make it a piece of art that you want to take home,” Biffle said.