Startling Art! A Conversation with Dennis Larkins on Circus Posterus

Tangling With the Sands of Time by Dennis Larkins

Circus Posterus recently sat down with artist Dennis Larkins, who has designed 8 posters in the Moonalice Poster Series, for a conversation. Here is part of that interview…

I’d be willing to bet that most of you know Dennis Larkins’ work and don’t even know it. Despite his expansive, 40-year-plus art career as a 3D painter and being one of the major players in LA’s Lowbrow movement in the ’80s and ’90s, Larkins is probably best known for his rock art, having created some of the Grateful Dead’s most famous gig posters for their now legendary stints at the Warfield in San Fran and NYC’s Radio City Music Hall in October 1980.

Grateful Dead Radio City poster by Dennis Larkins

Like many artists, Larkins was well accustomed to having parallel careers, working as a scenic artist, set designer and rock n’ roll art director, while still actively pursuing his own artistic exploits. In the late ’80s, he went from Dead artist to Disney Imagineer, designing exhibits and attractions for Disneyland and Disney World.

But then there was the other side of Larkins’ work: the sci-fi nerdery, the dark humor, the sculpted dimensional relief … this is where it gets particularly interesting, at least from a designer toy standpoint.

Let me put it this way: the whole premise behind the toy movement was to redefine the canvas; to take characters from a 2 dimensional world and reimagine them in 3D. To make them tangible, ‘real’, and in a form that is more interactive for the collector. Well, Larkins had a similar idea about 30 years prior, but did it without abandoning the canvas. Instead, he started building upon it. Using foam, rubber and various plastics, Larkins pioneered a whole new chapter of conceptual realism. By applying a combination of low- and high-relief sculpture right onto the canvas, he’s able to create the illusion of an entire scene popping out at us. Some paintings have many layers, some only a few, but even his ‘deepest’, most complex pieces never exceed five inches. This was entirely new to the art scene in the 70s and transformed the canvas’ expressivity.

I recently caught up with Larkins to discuss his work, his plans with Stranger Factory and his move back to Santa Fe, NM, from LA after a 20 year absence.

Who or what first inspired you to make art? When was this?

I have been creating art of various kinds from a very young age. My first memory is of copying Disney comic book covers at age 5. Many years later, as an adult in the 1980s, it was very ironically satisfying to become a theme park designer for Walt Disney Imagineering in Burbank, California.

Read the full interview on CircusPosterus.com

see all Moonalice posters by Dennis Larkins

An Overriding Misunderstanding by Dennis Larkins

Roger McNamee’s interview with WGDR

3/31/12 Moonalice poster by Lee Conklin

3/31/12 Moonalice poster by Lee Conklin

Jeff Lindholm of WGDR/WGDH, Goddard College community radio in central Vermont interviewed Roger McNamee, aka Chubby Wombat Moonalice, of the band Moonalice, in advance of the band’s show at Nectar’s in Burlington, Vermont tonight!

Roger talks about supporting the Occupy Movement, the free upcoming Art of Moonalice Poster Exhibition, and why they hire artists (including veterans from the ’60s San Francisco scene) to make posters for EVERY show, their chosen tribe, and much more.

The interview was recorded for the Geezer Rock show

Moonalice Valentine’s Day Fun

Moonalice Valentine's Day Fun - Love & Win

Love & Win!

According to Moonalice legend, roses are red, violets are blue and we made this Valentine’s Day game just for you!

Click to Pick!

♥ Pick the posters from 2011 that you love the most, and one of them, or another great prize, could be on its way to you in the post!

♥ The fine print

  • Prizes are by lucky draw and include Posters, T-Shirts, and for one lucky winner, the Moonalice Legend Posters & Words Book vol. III.
  • Winners will be announced on Moonalice.com, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ at 4:20 Howling Monkey time, on Valentine’s Day.
  • Judges decision is final.

420 Tribal Pow Wow Poster Set

According to Moonalice legend, poster art is fine art. Seriously fine art. On April 20 of this year, Moonalice held it’s Tribal Pow-Wow Celebration. Many Moonalice posters were created for the event.

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by John Seabury

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by John Seabury

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Carolyn Ferris

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Carolyn Ferris

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by David Singer

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by David Singer

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Dennis Loren

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Dennis Loren

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Chris Shaw

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Chris Shaw

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Dennis Larkins

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Dennis Larkins

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Dave Hunter

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Dave Hunter

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Lee Conklin

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Lee Conklin

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Wes Wilson

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Wes Wilson

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Alexandra Fischer

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Alexandra Fischer

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Stanley Mouse

4/20/11 Moonalice poster by Stanley Mouse

 

Moonalice poster artists from this set include: Carolyn Ferris, John Seabury, Dennis Loren, Dave Hunter, Lee Conklin, Wes Wilson, Stanley Mouse, Alexandra Fischer, David Singer, Dennis Larkins & Chris Shaw.

The Moonalice Store is releasing this 11 poster set on Cyber Monday. Only for a limited time.

 

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