An Interview With Peter Max – 1974 – Past Daily Weekend Pop Chronicles

Peter Max

Peter Max – Psychedelic art for everyone, everywhere.

Peter Max – interview with James Day – July 11, 1974 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Peter Max, a name practically embedded in the collective psyche of anyone who was around during the 60s. Peter Max took the free expression and loopy sentiment of Psychedelia via the pioneers of the art form, the group of artists in San Francisco known as The Family Dog, and turned it into a form associated with everything from Black Light posters to cereal boxes. It became Art on a mass scale and art which was instantly recognizable everywhere.

Admittedly, it was overkill because what Peter Max did was become the artistic direction and spokesperson for the Now Generation, the baby-boomers who needed something that screamed Youth and larger-than-life and out-of-body experiences.

And because Peter Max was initially a graphic artist, whose work was closely associated with the Advertising world, his stretch into Popular Culture wasn’t that much of a stretch at all. Ironically, another artist from earlier in the decade came from a similar background – Andy Warhol had established his reputation as an illustrator and graphic designer in the Advertising world of the 1950s. And like Warhol, Peter Max took the basic principles of advertising art and turned them into an artistic movement on a grand scale.

And of course, his work on The Beatles Yellow Submarine cemented that reputation and Peter Max became a household name all over the world and synonymous with the Youth Movement of the late 60s and early 70s.

This interview, conducted by James Day for the Day at Night program for NET (the precursor of PBS) is from 1974, a time where Peter Max artwork was everywhere.

It’s an interesting glimpse of the man and the artist; where he came from and what inspired him. At a time when his work had already achieved universal acclaim and recognition, it’s more of a look back than a look forward into the unknown.

If you’ve heard about Peter Max, but have never actually heard an interview with him, here’s a good place to start. And if, for some reason, you don’t know anything about his art work – take a look at the example below and it will all become crystal clear.

Peter Max Artwork

Ring any bells?

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2 Responses

  1. David Gofstein says:

    Hi Gordon,

    Thanks as always for all you do here! Just a quick note about Peter Max and Yellow Submarine. He had nothing to do with the production. It’s often assumed that he did because of the similar styles but in reality there is no actual connection.

    Thanks for the AMAZING site,

    dave g

    • gordonskene says:

      Hi David – you know, that’s interesting you say that. I ran across a lot photos of Peter Max with Ringo. So it’s a natural assumption – and also James Day during the intro says “Peter Max wants to do with art what The Beatles did for music”. But thanks for setting the record straight on that – by the way, who did the animation for Yellow Submarine? I forgot.

      Thanks again,

      Gordon