The iconic psychedelic Hapshash and the Coloured Coat were an artistic duo consisting of Michael English (1941-2009) and Nigel Waymouth (b.1941). In 1966 Waymouth, a graphic artist, launched the now legendary King’s Road boutique Granny Takes a Trip, for which he designed clothes as well as the regularly changing shopfronts that were its signature feature. At this time, Michael English's epiphany was a moment in the King's Road when he chanced upon Waymouth painting the facade of Granny Takes a Trip, which became London's first psychedelic boutique. Together they became a graphics team doubling up as a rock group called Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, whose iconic psychedelic posters helped to define the aesthetic of the era.
Whereas many designers of the 1960's tended to throw together psychedelic iconography without a second thought, Waymouth and English both had artistic careers prior to their involvement with the UFO club and brought their combined expertise to their new screen prints. Both had designed posters and graphics for high street boutiques and storefronts and knew how to use few, carefully chosen colours to arresting effect. Combined with gold reflective paper, which was a rare sight on advertising posters of their day and a unique printing method which allowed for smooth gradients, the posters elevated the position of printed artwork in stores.
Many of the posters they designed were for the UFO Club (pronounced 'you-foe') - a famous but short lived underground London club in the late 60s. It was established by Joe Boyd and John Hopkins and featured well-known rock acts such as Jimi Hendrix, as well as light shows, poetry readings, avant-garde art by Yoko Ono and local bands like Pink Floyd and Soft Machine. Many of the bands that played there went on to become icons of the industry, and the projections, light shows and installations were precursors to what we would now typically class as contemporary art. The multifaceted mix of visual art, music and psychedelia was captured in the promotional artwork of Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, whose art posters produced for the club are sought-after collector's items to this day.
The Hapshash posters, in addition to their promotional duties were initially sold at Carnaby Street stores and fashionable boutiques of the day. They went beyond promotional artwork and became staples of 60's psychedelia and hippy mentalities. Today, posters that still exist in good condition are collector's items, fetching high prices at the most prestigious auctions. The V&A currently holds an excellent selection of the posters in one of their permanent collections focusing on the art of the 1960s.
We also represent licensing rights for Nigel Waymouth. See more artwork from his career on his artist page.
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