One of the most fun aspects of being a very young artist in the ’50s and ’60s, and particularily through growing up in Southern California, was the inspiration gleaned from innovative artists like Ed Roth. His iconic Rat Fink is as American as Mom’s Apple Pie and was perfect for us teens and pre-teens as representative of our emerging independence from the traditional “art” of the day.
00individual’s personally built, customized and painted original styrene ’60’s Revell model kit.
Merging the late ’50’s Kustom-Kulture’s fascination with all things hot rod and monsters, Maywood, California artist Ed Roth designed images of grotesque but totally cool bug-eyed monsters “poppin’ wheelies” of the coolest kustom hot rods. Roth hit it big in the early-to-mid ’60s as his style began to be interpreted by many other artists linking the Hot Rod, Custom Car, Surf, Pacific Islander Tiki God, Monster, Cartoon and Comic Book Worlds.
His designs were seen on cars, t-shirts, sweatshirts, posters and even as plastic model kits. These images were imprinted on a generation primed for the pop culture explosion of the British Invasion, the Summer of Love, Woodstock and beyond and are still heavy influences on artists and designers today.
Roth’s actual custom car designs became monsters themselves with real Kustom Kulture Kars like his ’59 The Outlaw, (actual car shown below), ’61 Beatnik Bandit, ’63 The Mysterion (totally bitchen model kit box art shown below) and Surfite (seen in the movie Beach Blanket Bingo).
Roth’s kustom fiberglas hot rod The Outlaw is a landmark iconic spooky cool future image and the most popular kustom kar of the ’59 to ’63 car show circuit. 00individual still has his original built model, needs repairs.
Ed “Big Daddy” Roth was a real character who enjoyed his position in pop culture immensely; with his “beatnik” ‘stache and goatee, he presented a branded image way before its mandatory requirement of today’s artists and their properties. His upbeat enthusiasm in person is perfectly represented by the photos and images shown above.
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Ed “Big Daddy” Roth was a great inspiration, evidenced by this late ’90s scale 3D model flying car prototype, “The ZOOM” – hand-fabrication and original design by 00individual.
. . . and finally, Ed Roth’s supremely exquisite Album Cover Art of Hot Rod Hootenanny featuring The Weirdos and the voice of Mr. Gasser (Roth)!
Apparently Roth had enough by 1974 and became a Morman, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
There’s an eerie coincidence of artists “getting religion” in the early ’70s, read on . . .
RICK GRIFFIN – Perfect example of an early ’60s Southern California Teenage Surfer.
Pendleton? Check. Plain white t-shirt under Pendleton? Check.
Sun (or otherwise) bleached hair? Check. Decent tan? Check.
Raised near Palos Verdes, California, Rick Griffin was primed for the emerging Southern California Surf Culture of the early to mid-’60s. His initial claim to fame was with “Murphy” the surfer comic character that highlighted Surfer magazine.
Murphy became an iconic “mascot” of the entire surf culture.
00individual was so inspired by Griffin’s artwork that at age 13 he went through a period of emulating Griffin’s style.
As the ’60s progressed, Griffin once again was at the Pop Culture forefront and led a new alternative art force as one of the seminal artists of the Counter-Culture’s underground comics and psychedelic posters.
. . . to the point that Rolling Stone has used it as their masthead in some form, forever . . .
Rick Griffin, looking a lot like Classic Jesus, became a born-again Christian in the early ’70s, reversed his lifestyle and did hundreds of fine art paintings based on the Gospel of John for a Christian music company.
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