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Published: 2008/06/04

Alton Kelley 1940-2008

Alton Kelley, one of the signature artists of the late 60’s San Francisco scene passed away over the weekend. Kelley, who was born in Maine, relocated to San Francisco in the mid-sixties to the Haight-Ashbury district. There he became a founding member of the Family Dog collective, taking on promotional responsibilies and creating posters for the Family Dog’s shows at the Avalon Ballroom. Shortly afterwards he met Stanley Mouse and the two began producing a range of psychedelic handbills and poster art for concerts at the Fillmore Auditorium, Winterland and many other Bay Area venues. While Kelley and Mouse created album art for numerous artists they are probably best known for the Skull and Roses image they incorporated into the Grateful Dead’s 1971 self-titled live release (they also created the Pegasus on Steve Miller Band’s Book of Dreams and the scarab on Journey’s Departure). Kelley and Mouse received a 1979 Grammy Award for their cover for the Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits). Over the years Kelley continued to paint on a variety of canvases, from fine art to custom cars.

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