El Segundo Library Hosts ‘Music Icons’ Henry Diltz, John Van Hamersveld

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Legendary rock photographer Henry Diltz and celebrated multidisciplinary graphic artist John Van Hamersveld will be in conversation for the first program of the Library After Dark series “Music Icons” on Friday, January 31, 2020, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the El Segundo Public Library.

Henry Diltz, May 1997.
Henry Diltz, May 1997.

Born in Missouri and raised in Hawaii, Diltz has photographed the artists who’ve created the musical soundtrack for generations.

As a founding member of the Modern Folk Quartet (MFQ), in the early ’60s, Henry bought a second-hand Kodak Pony camera for $20 at a thrift shop while on tour, just for something to do between gigs.

He started taking pictures of MFQ, then other musician friends on folk-rock scene. Because Henry was one of them, not a pesky press photographer, and he was fun to be around, he had unprecedented access in intimate moments.

Soon after MFQ disbanded in 1966, The Lovin’ Spoonful asked Henry for permission to use his photos for an album cover, “Hums of The Lovin’ Spoonful.”

Before long, he was shooting publicity photos and album covers for other friends, too, as they became famous, including Buffalo Springfield, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and many more.

Buffalo Springfield, Venice, circa 1966-67, one of Henry Diltz’s first PR photo sessions. Clockwise from top left: Stephen Stills, Bruce Palmer, Richie Furay, Dewey Martin and Neil Young. Photo: Courtesy Henry Diltz Photography/Morrison Hotel Gallery.

It’s led to an eventful life. In his six decades behind the lens, Diltz has toured with most of rock’s royalty, contributed photographs to countless books and publications, and appeared on numerous music recordings.

He was the official photographer at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967 as well as at all three Woodstock festivals in 1969, 1994 and 2009.

Jimi Hendrix plays a breakfast set for the remaining crowd at Woodstock on August 19, 1969. Photo: Courtesy Henry Diltz / Henry Diltz Photography and Morrison Hotel Gallery.

In 2001, Henry partnered with some friends to form the Morrison Hotel Gallery to showcase his own work and fine-art music photography by a handful of others.

el segundo - henry diltz morrison hotel day of the doors
Henry Diltz on the inside looking out instead of from behind the lens at the fourth “Day of the Doors” event, Morrison Hotel, Downtown Los Angeles, Jan. 4, 2020, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of The Doors’ “Morrison Hotel” album. Photo: Stephen K. Peeples.

Today, with locations in Soho, on the Sunset Strip and on Maui, the Morrison Hotel Gallery also represents the work of more than 125 renowned photographers.

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While Henry Diltz is famous for his iconic album cover photography of famous music artists, multidisciplinary artist John Van Hammersveld is famous for his commercial packaging and campaigns for record covers and artists.

From surf photography and design to psychedelic album covers and pop art posters to big events and brand identity projects, Van Hamersveld creates instantly recognizable and influential graphic design.

In a career of 50 years and counting, his graphics represent a vivid visual history of the past-future “Era of Cool” in Southern California and the Southwest.

For Baltimore-born Van Hamersveld, it started with surfing and surf-related graphics. He created the timeless “Endless Summer” film poster for surf filmmaker Bruce Brown in 1963, while still attending Art Center in Pasadena and the Chouinard Institute of Art in Downtown Los Angeles.

john van hamersveld at el segundo library

In early 1967, Van Hamersveld joined Capitol Records Distribution Company as designer of commercial record packages and campaigns, working on artwork and campaigns for albums by Capitol artists including The Beach Boys and The Beatles.

A year later, he left to form his own production company, Pinnacle Dance Concerts, and oversaw the design of the psychedelic posters and lightships for the Pinnacle Shrine Exposition Hall shows for a year, including a memorable February 1868 concert by Jimi Hendrix.

van hamersveld pinnacle posters

Over the next couple of decades, John also created renowned poster art and album design for The Rolling Stones, Blue Cheer, Kiss, Steve Miller, Blondie, The Grateful Dead, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds, to name but a few.

el segundo -- album covers by john van hamersveld

Beyond the music industry, Van Hamersveld also designed the official poster and mural for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and the Viva Vision “Signs of Life” Las Vegas Fremont Street Experience.

Along with fellow art visionaries Norton Wisdom, Dave TourjéChaz Bojórquez and Gary Wong, John is a member of a collective calling themselves the California Locos.

Tourje’s acclaimed documentary about Van Hamersveld, “Crazy World Ain’t It,” premiered in 2019. 

“I am working in contemporary ways in three different categories of business and exhibiting in shows,” Van Hamersveld said. “The record cover-making is a secondary business left to fail in a dominant digital internet world. Record covers are not a business for me today.

“But, there are people all over the world consuming album products from 50 years ago,” he said, adding, “I don’t own the work I did from 20 years ago.”

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An alumnus of El Segundo High School (1959), Van Hamersveld’s celebrated public and private works include the DWP tank mural, which can be enjoyed on Grand Avenue overlooking the beach he once surfed growing up.

el segundo DWP tanks
John Van Hamersveld at the DWP tanks in El Segundo, a public art project he completed in 2018. Photo: Sebastian Amespil.

On January 31, Henry and John will discuss their artistic careers and experiences working with many of the most iconic music artists of the 1960s and 1970s including The Doors, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, James Taylor, Hendrix, The Beatles, The Stones, Linda Ronstadt, Queen, Bob Dylan, Eagles, The Grateful Dead, Kiss and many, many more.

Both artists will have samples of their work on display during the event.

Henry Diltz (right) and Stephen K. Peeples, Studio City, summer 1980. Photo: Ruth Peeples.
Henry Diltz (right) and Stephen K. Peeples, Studio City, summer 1980. Photo: Ruth Peeples.

Moderating the program will be veteran music industry writer/editor/producer Stephen K. Peeples, who has a long history with both Diltz and Van Hamersveld. Stephen has worked at Capitol Records, Elektra/Asylum, Rhino Entertainment and Warner Music Group.

He co-produced the Grammy-nominated box set of music from the “Monterey International Pop Festival,” was writer/producer of Westwood One‘s “The Lost Lennon Tapes” radio series, and more recently has worked in television as a writer/editor, host and producer.

Boyd Elder's 'One of These Nights' and Rick Griffin's turkey breast cap. Composite: Randy Nauert.In 1978, Stephen introduced Henry to Capitol co-worker Peter Blachley, who in 2001 would become one of Morrison Hotel Gallery’s co-founders. Years later, Stephen was the editorial director of Henry’s 2011 book “Unpainted Faces.” He is writing a biography of Texas “Artlaw” Boyd Elder, a contemporary of Henry’s, John’s and Stephens, and best-known for his painted animal skulls adorning covers of multimillion-selling albums by Eagles and others.

el segundo library - Boyd Elder, Henry Diltz, Stephen K. Peeples, Studio City, April 1978. Photo: Gary Burden.
Boyd Elder, Henry Diltz, Stephen K. Peeples, Studio City, April 1978. Photo: Gary Burden.

More information about Diltz, Van Hamersveld and Peeples is available at https://www.morrisonhotelgallery.com, http://jvh.cool/new/mural-resume.htmlhttp://www.post-future.com/ and https://stephenkpeeples.com/.

The Library is located at 111 West Mariposa Avenue in El Segundo. Call the reference desk at 310-524-2728 for more details.

The above article was based on a press release issued by the El Segundo Public Library. Special thanks to the library’s Roz Templin for her program photo collages.

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Santa Clarita journalist and Grammy nominee Stephen K. Peeples was raised by career newspaper journalists and music-lovers in Miami and Los Angeles. He earned a Grammy nomination as co-producer of the “Monterey International Pop Festival” (Rhino/MIPF, 1992) box set with Lou Adler and Geoff Gans. Peeples was the original, award-winning producer of “The Lost Lennon Tapes” radio series for Westwood One from 1988-1990. His first music industry gig was as an Associate Editor at Cash Box magazine in Hollywood in 1975. He went on to be a Media Relations-PR executive for Capitol Records (1977-1980), Elektra/Asylum Records (1980-1983) and Rhino Entertainment (1992-1998). Moving online, he was Rhino’s first web editor (1996-1998), then elevated to content editor of Warner Music Group websites (1998-2001). In the Santa Clarita Valley just north of L.A., Peeples was the award-winning Online Editor for The Signal newspaper’s website from 2007-2011, and wrote-hosted-co-produced SCVTV’s WAVE-nominated “House Blend” local music TV show from 2010-2015 (archived online and still airing in reruns). He is now a News Editor at SCVNews.com, SVP/New Media Emeritus for Rare Cool Stuff Unltd., and developing a biography of Texas artist Boyd Elder. For more info and original stories, visit https://stephenkpeeples.com/For exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews, subscribe to Peeples’ YouTube channel.

Article: El Segundo Library Hosts Pop Culture Icons Henry Diltz, John Van Hamersveld
Category: News and Reviews
Author: Stephen K. Peeples
Article Source: stephenkpeeples.com