Selected Sci-Fi & Fantasy Book Covers Part 1

'Nightmare Blue' Art by Justin Todd 1975

Zipping up my moonboots and going back to the roots here with a varied selection of retro SF and Fantasy book art. Sci-Fi-O-Rama was pretty much built upon the back of posting forgotten book and games art, so with a renaissance in blog activity what better than to revisit the archives and excerpt another sampler.

What’s most fascinating with each of these examples is though the whole might not always fully hit the mark there’s always something of interest or worthy for reference. This then might be a style of colouring, a technique in rendering, the choice and application of a typeface, or even something as obscure as the design of a motif. In short even the most subtle fragment of detailing can flick a creative switch, it’s all about your own imagination. That isn’t however to say that every Sci-Fi book cover has merit – au contraire – they most certainly do not. But that’s what we’re here for, to filter and serve only the very finest…

In putting this (abridged) selection together we’re go revisit several of the artists featured at Sci-Fi-O-Rama before, people who defined and shaped the genre such as David Pelham, Dean Ellis, Ian Miller and others perhaps slightly less well known such Adrian Chesterman or Peter Tybus. The majority of covers here have come via my Flickr favourites feed and prior to that a Flickr group I’ve mentioned before, the simply titled ‘Sci-Fi Books‘ pool. Of course these days with tumblr and pinterest and the ever evolving Google image search theres a multitude of ways to sophistically search for this kind of art, but I would say the crowd sourced ‘Sci-Fi Books’ collection still represents the best entry point. As such I recommend that as the first stop on the road for further research.

Lets begin with the art and notes, starting with the header image….


‘Nightmare Blue’ Art by Justin Todd 1975 (top of post)

As is customary I always load the post head with the most arresting image of the pack, so what to say about this one? Hmmm… Well how about for starters it’s bloody mental. Supremely sinister and rendered in an unusual very idiosyncratic style, this is the work of British Artist Justin Todd. Something about it is strangely very contemporary, but in fact it dates from 1975 and so is actually slightly older than your site author.

Todd, an artist I’ve only just come across, is a classically trained illustrator he lectured Illustration at Brighton University in the 1960′s along side Raymond Briggs (The Snow Man, When The Wind Blows). Someone I’ve earmarked to revisit, for now you can read a little more on him here at

The story by the way revolves around a highly addictive drug ‘Nightmare Blue’ whose users die without another hit… I’ll just point out I haven’t actually read any of the books featured here, so I’ll add a little snippet like this with each cover.

'Cinnabar' Peter Goodfellow 1978

‘Cinnabar’ Peter Goodfellow 1978

This is one of those slightly abstract airbrush type covers so popular in the 70′s,  the indeterminable sense of scale and swathes of cobalt blues lend an appropriate otherworldly theme. This is English artist Peter Goodfellow’s depiction of Cinnabar, a city at the centre of’ time.

The book is actually collection of short stories based around this would be futuristic utopia, I believe some which may of been printed in the legendary OMNI magazine which I’ve posted about way back when. Interestingly after forging a career Illustrating book covers, Goodfellow would move to become a highly regarded landscape painter in Scotland, that future path perhaps hinted at here by the covers distant snowcapped mountains.

Read a little more about Peter Goodfellow here.

'Frankenstein Unbound'  Art by Paul Bacon 1975

‘Frankenstein Unbound’  Art by Paul Bacon 1975

The cover of Brian Aldiss’s ‘Frankenstein Unbound’ comes complete with an appended $1 mark scrawled on the monsters temple. Ignoring the graffiti then, and this slick inked illustration is the work of American graphic designer and Illustrator Paul Bacon. Love the subtle shift in hues and the way the grained texture of the heavy watercolour paper comes though. This style is in fact very reminiscent of Micheal Foreman, who illustrated the original Erik the Viking book, that was featured here a little while back.

Again somewhat embarrassingly this was the first I’d actually heard of Paul Bacon, although I’m not entirely sure how as I am familiar with some of his work. Perhaps you are too? Bacon created the iconic first edition covers for some of the 20th century’s most important novels including Ken Kesey’s ‘One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest‘, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s ‘Slaughterhouse-Five‘ and the legendary ‘Catch 22‘ by Joseph Heller (love that book). Read a little more about Paul Bacon at Wikipedia.

A quick story synopsis: Time traveling 21st American Joe Bodenland finds himself with Byron and Shelley in the famous villa on the shore of Lake Geneva. More fantastically, he finds himself face to face with a real Frankenstein. Sounds pretty good, and indeed in 1990 was adapted to the big screen with no other than Roger Corman at the helm, the undisputed heavyweight champ of cult cinema. Frankenstein Unbound stars staring John Hurt, Bridget Fonda and Raul Julia check it at IMDB.

' The Incandescent Ones' - Adrian Chesterman

‘ The Incandescent Ones’ – Adrian Chesterman

This sinister looking chromed robotic figure is the work of Adrian Chesterman another artist who’s popped up here before. Chesterman, an American artist produced a series of these somewhat warped airbrushed covers for Penguin Science Fiction during the late 70′s and Early 80′s. It’s a look that’s quite distinguishable being characterised by exceptional costume styling and rendered with just the right amount of highlighting sheen. Above is a fine demonstration of these traits, and as with all Chesterman’s covers is underpinned by a deep love for the subject matter.

Also of note is that despite being a (one assumes) being from the future, it’s also impossible to escape the influence of the present or what is now the past. As such Chesterman’s work contains subtle visual clues that reflect the times; a touch of Disco here, a splash of ‘Simon Says’ and of course the inevitable Starwars references.

Definitely a favourite of mine, check out the complete set of Adrian Chesterman cover’s over at the excellent Penguin Science Fiction website.

A quick note the on the book itself and this one sounds perhaps targeted towards a younger adult demographic. A young art student receives a cryptic message that is to lead him on to a series of startling adventures…

'Times Last Gift'  Art by Peter Tybus  1975

‘Times Last Gift’  Art by Peter Tybus  1975

A rainbow coloured somewhat fauvist cover from Peter Tybus this one dating from 1975. The story, if you hadn’t of guessed revolves around time travel.

Tybus is something of a Sci-Fi-O-Rama enigma, and there is little or no digital footprint of him beyond a series of magazine and book illustrations dating from the 1970s. Indeed the top search result listed by google is in fact a Sci-Fi-O-Rama’s past feature on him. Anyway there’s always alot of love here for his iridescent style that’s also reminiscent of the work of  David Pelham, of course, also a Penguin Sci-Fi Cover illustrator.

If you do have more info on Peter Tybus do let us know, it’d be great to one day run an expanded feature…

'R is for Rocket' cover art by Ian Miller

‘R is for Rocket’ cover art by Ian Miller

A collection of Short Stories penned by Ray Bradbury. This cover is the unmistakable work of British illustrator and blog favourite Ian Miller, featured a good few times before. Millers work is a demonstration in ornate crafting finished with laser guided precision and is juxtaposed into chaotic compositions swathed with wild gothic stylings. This is the definition of frenetic, never a moment will your eye rest upon Ian’s work, such is demonstrated above. Also take note of a hawk-eyed passion for architectural and geometric detailing.

Miller doesn’t really do Sci-fi or Fantasy, the work is simultaneously both and neither, and of course is all the better for it. If you are unfamiliar with his work and intrigued (you should be) why not have a browse back through past entries or check his official website

'The Menzentian Gate' cover art Barbara Remmington

‘The Menzentian Gate’ (Year Unknown)

The Menzentian Gate is a fantasy novel, penned in 1958 and is part of whats known as the Zimiamvian Trilogy. The saga fact loosely linked to Eddison’s more famous work ‘ The Worm Ouroborosfeatured here way back in 2008.

The cover is by Barbara Remmington an American artist and Illustrator most famous for her Ballatine Books first edition covers for Lord of the Rings. It’s a colourful style of work reminiscent perhaps of that Bayeux tapestry  mode of visual story telling, and busy composition loaded with clues and character. Certainly captures the ethos of what a fantasy book should like, and the Dragon/Serpent looks fantastic.

Der Himmel uber Pern Cover

Der Himmel über Pern

From the dragon that devours its own tail to one thats shrouds an astronaut. Lets not beat about the bush here, this cover is tarnished by some feeble typesetting. But lets clone stamp that out of the way and concentrate on the artwork. Judging by the creatures sinister almost demonic appearance I’m guessing this could be the work of Wayne Barlowe or possibly Chris Achilleos, both masters in the art of fashioning evil looking winged reptilian beasts. It may well be however that it’s the work of someone else entirely, please post if you know. Aslo are dragons actually reptilian?  If I ever see one I’ll be sure to ask.

The German title translates as ‘The Skies of Pern’ a science fiction novel by the American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey. The story is just one of a series set on the mythical world of Pern and the concept of Dragon Rider’s, hence the cover art.

Farmer Giles of Ham (Swedish Cover)

‘Gillis Bonde från Ham’ (Farmer Giles of Ham) – 1970 by Rolf Lagerson

Another Dragon here, and a swerve towards decidedly lighter material. This is cover for a 1970 Swedish edition of the  J. R. R. Tolkien children’s book ‘Farmer Giles of Ham’. Tolkien originally wrote the story of Farmer Giles and his encounters with the wily Dragon Chrysophylax (great name) back in 1939 but it wasn’t to be published until 1949.

Lovely illustration from Rolf Lagerson which I came across by chance whilst pin-balling around various Pinterest boards. Drilling through to source to uncover ‘s wonderful Illustration blog ‘Animalarium‘. Animalarium put simply is a a vast resource of illustrated animal imagery, best summarised by it’s own simple strapline: “Animals as an endless source of creative inspiration”.

Check it out: Also worth a look a collection of Rolf Largerson’s Illustration at Flickr.

Dean Ellis - The Tar-Aiym Krang

‘The Tar-Aiym Krang’ art by Dean Ellis 1972

Back up to Sci-Fi and here’s another taster from a prolific genre Illustrator, the late Dean Ellis. I believe this is the seventh appearance on Sci-Fi-O-Rama of an Ellis Illustration, all are characterised with a highly distinctive almost classical style, similar in many ways to the work of space art pioneer Chesley Bonestell. Beautiful renderings of distant worlds and the inky black star-fields the lay within, Ellis’s work is a wash with soft hues and subtle shading.

If it’s your first time viewing a Dean Ellis cover I certainly recommend taking the time to study more

The book itself; ‘The Tar-Aiym Krang’ sounds like your classic space opera fare, and centres on young orphan and thief  known as ‘Flinx ‘ who comes cross a fabled star map…

Empire Of The Atom

‘Empire of The Atom’ 1974 (Designer Unknown)

An interesting typographic solution with a smart colour schemes forms the cover for a 70′s edition of Van Vogt’s 1957 novel. Empire of the Atom caused something of a stir at the time due to similarities with Robert Graves’s Claudius stories. Having read neither, I couldn’t possibly pass judgement! Slick graphics though proving minimal jacket sleeves such as these can have just as much impact…


Well once again, what started out as mini post idea and a brief scan through Flickr has completely snowballed out of control into another creaking behemoth type article. This one is playing out like a Sci-Fi-O-Rama Who’s Who, and there’s of course many more artists I can and will feature. However, I’m slightly conscious of post length and attention spans, not least of which my own! so I’m going to sever the post here and conclude with a Part 2…

In the Meantime, be sure to check out the following resources….

The Art of Penguin Science Fiction

Sci-Fi-O-Rama Flickr Favourites

Flickr Sci-Fi Books Pool

Back soon….


New Poster Art

Alejandro Magallanes - Behind The American Dream

‘Behind The American Dream’ Alejandro Magallanes (Mexico 2001)

This mini post marks the start of a new Sci-Fi-O-Rama strategic initiative designed to increase the general yield of blog output. In english then what that means is we’re going to mix up the larger articles with smaller more image focused selections, tactical posts if you will.

This first selection is a book sampler ‘New Poster Art’ published by Thames & Hudson in 2008. I picked up a copy after spying a fellow commuter thumbing through it on my regular morning train journey. As the title suggests Its a fairly weighty compendium of selected poster Design, Typography and Illustration pulling in artists from across the planet…

The books global nature makes it interesting by default, encompassing an extremely varied selection of art and applied graphical technique. Here’s a taster with a few notes…

'Unknown Land' AGI Poster

‘Unknown Land’ AGI Poster (Netherlands 2007) Bob van Dijk
An interesting abstract blend of bold primary colours and grungy line work, lovely stuff.

Dieter Feseke - Maria Stuart by Friedrich Schiller

 ‘Maria Stuart by Friedrich Schiller’ - Dieter Feseke, Theatre Poster (Germany 2002-3)

As the above example demonstrates ‘New Post Art’ is full of examples of Silkscreen printed work, and thus many excellent references for contrasting, complimenting or accented colour swatches.

'Manascreen' Shinnoske Sugisaki (Japan 2004)

‘Manascreen’ Shinnoske Sugisaki (Japan 2004)|
25th Anniverary, poster a silkscreen company

This is one of those scans that no matter how long you try to tweak it’s never going to look a patch on the original, though I hope this gives an indication. A wonderful abstract piece of minimalism.

'Printed Matter No.1' Russell Warren-Fisher

‘Printed Matter No.1′ (The Life and Death Issue) promotional poster.
Russell Warren-Fisher (UK 2002)

Again this is another thats subtle details have been lost a little in the translation back to screen. Lovely soft texturing and considered layering of warm grey hues underpin an image thats though stunning creates quite a feeling of discomfort.

'All One' - Reza Abedini 2006

‘AllOne’ Exhibition Poster, Reza Abedini (Iran, 2006)

As mentioned in the intro the ‘New Poster Art’  features global poster design, particularly interesting from the collection is the work of  Iranian Graphic Artist Reza Abedini and his take on modern Persian Typography. He’s produced some really jaw dropping poster art, see more at

'100 Best Posters 02' Dieter Fiedler

’100 Best Posters 02′ Dieter Fiedler, Cyan (Germany 2003)

Finish up with another bold coloured typographical selection from Dieter Fiedler, a pretty cool demonstration of  the use of positive and negative space.


New Poster Art

So then, that pretty much wraps things up. A book I’d heartily recommend to any Graphic Designer or Artist, particularly so if you have an interest in silkscreen printing or similar.

‘New Poster Art’  was published in 2008 by Thames Hudson and is the work of authors Cees W. de Jong and  Stefanie Burger. I picked up my copy via Amazon, here’s a link: New Post Art

Normally (Sci-Fi) service will resume shortly…



Electrical Banana – Masters of Psychedelic Art

Heinz Edelmann - Lord Of The Rings

‘Lord of the Rings’ (German Book Cover) – 1970

Once again please forgive the slight delay in posing new material. The blame lays solely with Supercell’s ‘Clash of Clans’ of which I was introduced through work. What started out as a study of the UI has since evolved into spending almost £30 on in app purchases! Digital crack it most certainly is… So then pithy excuses aside lets begin the post.

Sci-Fi-O-Rama is proud to present a selection of ‘far out’ imagery sequestered from the fantastically titled ‘Electrical Banana’ Psychedelic art book – and yes that title is indeed derived from a reference to a certain type of ladies sex toy.

This article was originally planned as a feature on 60′s Psychedelic Music Posters by artists such as Bonnie MacleanVictor Moscoso and Wes Wilson and you may well have spotted samples appearing in the Sci-Fi Overflow . Upon searching for an appropriate book to feature I came across Electrical Banana and a selection of artists I was less familiar with so I thought I’d give it punt. Here’s the blurb:

Electrical Banana is the first definitive examination of the international language of psychedelia, focusing on the most important practitioners in their respective fields with a deft combination of hundreds of unseen images and exclusive interviews and essays, Electrical Banana aims to revise the common perception of psychedelic art, showing it to be more innovative, compelling, and revolutionary than was ever thought before.

The artists include: Marijke Kroger, a Dutch artist responsible for dressing the Beatles; Mati Klarwein, who painted the cover for Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew; Keiichi Taanami, the Japanese master of psychedelic posters; Heinz Edelmann, the German illustrator and designer of the Yellow Submarine animated film; Tadanori Yokoo, whose prints and books, defined the ’6os in Japan; Dudley Edwards, a painter, car designer, and graphic embellisher for the London rock scene, and the enigmatic Australian Martin Sharp, whose work for Cream and underground magazines made him a ‘hippie household name in Europe.

As you can imagine the book is impeccably researched and is laced with some excellent, fairly unique content. What I’ll do here then is run through each of the artists and add a couple of samples. Before starting I’ll stress that this barely skims the surface, and if your even the slightest bit interesting in the swinging 60′s and psychedelia in general Electrical Banana is an absolute must have.

Lets begin then…

Heinz Edelmann - Yellow Submarine Stills

‘Yellow Submarine Stills’

Heinz Edelmann (20 June 1934 – 21 July 2009) was a German illustrator and designer, most famous for his art direction and character designs for the 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine. An immensely talented individual  Edelmann’s career spanned four decades, and utilised many styles. It is however the playful and gloriously vividly coloured work with The Beatles that will remain his most famous work.

As with all featured artists, Electrical Banana includes an extensive interview with the artist, in his Edelmann explains he had little love for the Psychedelic scene and his work of the period. As the compiling authors Norman Hathaway & Dan Nadel note “Never of the scene, Edelmann instead invented it, imparting his visual language to a culture he was barely interested in”. It’s a fascinating read and you can’t help but wonder why the disdain for something so wonderful, of course though the strive for perfectionism and purity of ones artistic vision are crosses all artists half to bare – who are we to judge.

It feels a little strange too then to underline this fact by choosing two more illustrations from another project Edelmann reflects upon with unfond feelings. ‘Andromeda SR1′ was illustrated children’s book about a voyage to Mars, again featuring the dynamic iridescent and totally unmistakable style. I love the way the Ink bleeds and blooms, this effect was achieved apparently by using Dr. Ph Martins Dyes.

Heinz Edelmann - Andromedar SR1

Heinz Edelmann - Andromedar SR1

‘Andromedar SR1′ Book Illustrations – 1970.

Moving on from Andromedar SR1, a quick mention with regards to this articles header image. This is Edelmanns Book jacket for a German edition of Tolkiens legendary ‘Lord of the Rings’ which gained traction and was popularised by the hippy movement. The publishers thus wanted psychedelic styled Illustrations, and approached Edelmann who was by this point  “Fed up of this entire flower power thing”.  Persevering anyway he states that for the book jacket (which I love) he “unforgivably parodied” Milton Glaser’s famous Dylan Poster.

There’s no doubt then that Heinz Edelmann was supremely talented if slightly hesitant individual, (with regards to Psychedelia) and I’d love to write and research more but that’ll be the subject of a future post….

For further artwork try this tumblr selection and for wider overview check the Wikipedia article.


Martin Sharp

The books next selected artist is Australian Martin Sharp (born 1942), these days considered one of the finest Antipodeans Pop Artists. As opposed to Edelmann Sharp was very much part of the scene, becoming roomates with Eric Claption during his swinging London years.

As is demonstrated below, Sharp was capable of extremely trippy draughtsmanship and Electrical Banana compiles a varied selection of his portfolio including work from his long dedication to Oz Magazine, the infamous counter culture magazine that ran (in it’s 2nd guise) from 1967 to 1973.

Interesting to note that apparently Sharp did not apparently plan nor pencil his hyper-detailed drawings and would rather populate a page with just the right amount of line and the fill out the composition.

Martin Sharp - London Oz

‘London Oz’ – Offset Promotional Poster 1967

Here’s a perfect demonstration of Martin’s playful, swooping linework and zealful hand cut typography, the above image was designed for the first edition of London Oz, but however was not released at the time.

Martin Sharp

‘Dantalians Chariot’ - Silkscreen poster on foil 1967

On this poster Sharp notes “It was an image Inspired by Syd Barret and Pink Floyd and my experiences at the U.F.O Club. Mark Boyle did wonderful lightshows there over Floyd’s music. The Speakeasy, for example, was a typical night club where musicians met and played. The U.F.O Club was a weekly event and total psychedelic experience. Pink Floyd always amazed me”….. 

Martin Sharp - Float

‘Float’ - Offset/silkscreen poster 1969

With far more than one string to his metaphorical bow the above bold and vivid abstract print serves as a fine example of Sharp’s more Pop Art slanted minimalism.

For more on Martin check his either his Facebook Page, or shy of purchasing a copy of Electrical Banana read more via his Wiki page.


Dudley Edwards 

West Yorkshire’s Dudley Edwards (born 1944) first came to prominence as co-founder of the ground-breaking ‘Pop’ design collective with fellow artists Douglas Binder and David Vaughan (Binder, Edwards & Vaughan).

To quote from Electrical Banana: “Binder, Edwards & Vaughan exploded into the creative carnival that was 1960′s London with it’s brightly coloured and electrified take on traditional fairground painting. Applying the awe-inspiring hand skills onto heretofore unvisited areas of applied art such as pianos, shop fronts and automobiles”

In layman’s terms Binder, Edwards & Vaughan perhaps defined the look of swinging 60′s London more than any other.  And though their collaborative time together was short their work would propel them to the lofty heights of collaborating with The Beatles. It’s also doubtful (for better or for worse) that Austin Powers would ever of come to conception for it not for the craftsmanship of the trio.

Dudley Edwards - Carnaby Street

‘Carnaby Street’ - Mural 1967

Dudley Edwards - Dragon Cafe

‘Dragon Cafe’ - [With Mike McInnery] Mural 1968

Dudley Edwards - Book Cover

‘Cosmicomics’ - Book Jacket 1968

Edwards also went on to a stint in Record Sleeve and Book Jacket Design of which the interesting above Graphic illustration is a sample.

Read more about Dudley Edwards at Godfrey Townsend Music.


Marijke Koger

Marijke Koger (Born 1943) was the primary visual artist behind the four-person art group ‘The Fool’ a Dutch design collective (and later band) who rose to prominence in late 1960′s London. Alongside Koger ‘The Fool’ consisted of fellow artist Simon Posthuma, Fashion Designer Yosha Leeger and Barry Finch, the groups name being derived as a reference to the Tarot Card. The Fool made a tremendous impact at the time via there work for the Beatles, Cream and The Move to name but a few. In fact such was the popularity of the group that despite having few musical inclinations they record a Psych-Folk album produced by Graham Nash – I’ve got to track that one down!

Electrical Banana contains many of Koger’s rainbow coloured illustrations, murals designs and more, carefully documenting the huge influence she had on defining the Technicolor hippy look. Here’s a pretty cool quote from the book when describing her style:

“She did not engage with modernism or pop art, preferring a more accessible, almost colloquial approach to art-making. This is not psychedelic art made by a designer or psychedelic designs made by an illustrator, but rather full-blown psychedelic visuals made by a woman who inhabited that space in her mind’

Marike Koger

‘Love Life’ - Offset poster 1966

Marike Koger

‘Tiger Man’ - Offset poster 1970

Read more about ‘The Fool‘ collective or visit Marike’s official site


Keiichi Tanaami

Next up is the first of two Japanese Designer / Illustrators featured in Electrical Banana, and all seven artists featured here I’d have to say that Keeichi Tanaami (born 1932) is definitely my favourite.  Tanaami’s style, characterised by beautiful and distinctive line work was to continually evolve and adapt throughout the 60′s becoming increasingly fluid and hedonistically playful thus mirroring the mood of the subcultures he was so fascinated with at the time. Today Tanaami is considered one of Japans leading pop artists, with back catalogue of work that’s meandered between a variety of mediums, following the doctrine of Andy Warhol whom he met and became fascinated with in 1968.

As with Heinz Edelmann, Taanami’s definitely an artist I’ll be revisiting this year, for now here’s a small taster of his wonderfully kitsch draughtmanship.

Keiichi Tanaami

‘Happening’ [projection on models and car] 1966

A projected coloured transparency, essentially a Tanaami piece wrapped over models and car and captured again on film. I have to say I loved this kind of Photograph Installation, a really interesting way to extend an Illustration. The style of work is very similar to ‘After Bathing At Baxter’s’ a Jefferson Airplane cover that you can see below.

Keiichi Tanaami

‘After Bathing At Baxter’s’ Jefferson Airplane Record Sleeve – 1967

Keiichi Tanaami

’1967 Tokyo: C’  Silkscreen edition – 1967

Keiichi Tanaami

’1967 Tokyo: C’  Silkscreen edition – 1967

The Tokyo series give you a good sense of the flavour of Tanaami’s pop art sensibilities.  These are strikingly printed pieces of art, with a almost viscous contrasting colour palette, stare longer and pick out the subtle texturing and gradient fills, instilling a level of depth and movement.

Keiichi Tanaami

‘The Savage Eye: A’ Silkscreen edition – 1966

Keiichi Tanaami

‘The Savage Eye: B’Silkscreen edition – 1966

With an extremely obvious sexual theme ‘The Savage Eyes’ builds upon techniques applied in in the prior ‘Tokyo’ set, but the volume here is now cranked up to 11. Fantastic stuff.

Read more about Keiichi Tanaami in an extensive article on him over at Wikipedia or check this tumblr tag search for more imagery.


Mati Klarwein

Abdul Mati Klarwein (April 9, 1932 – March 7, 2002) was a painter best know for his many  album covers of the 60′s and 70′s. As you can see below, Klarwein’s work has a strong surrealist curve, in fact the samples I’ve selected from Electrical Banana probably owe more to that genre than Psychedelia, though lets face it the two are closely intertwined. It’s no surprise then to learn that Klarwein actually studied with Salvador Dali at Viennese Fantastic Realist Ernst Fuchs.

Whilst much of Klarwein’s famous work is inspired by Surrealism and Pop Culture, it’s also catagorised and reflected by  his interest in non-Western deities, symbolism, and landscapes. Klarwein was also friends of LSD Guru and prophet of counter culture Timothy Leary and of the artist Leary stated that based on the character of his paintings, that Klarwein “didn’t need psychedelics”.

Once again really just a taster of some of the super-far-out work, if you’d like to read more on Mati Klarwien check his wikipedia article  or visit his nicely designed official site

Mati Kalarwien

‘Bitches Brew’ (commissioned by Miles Davis for his album Bitches Brew) 1970

Mati Kalarwien

‘Jimi Hendrix’ (commissioned by Hendrix for incomplete Gil Evans collaboration album) 1970


Tadanori Yokoo

And so we come to the final of Electrical Banana’s featured artists, Japanese  graphic designer, illustrator, printmaker and painter Tadanori Yokoo (born 27 June 1936).

Yokoo is interesting and similar to Heinz Edelmann in that he was not absorbed by psychedelia but rather was influenced strongly by the zeitgeist. This is typified in an extensive body of work typified by the use of searing colors, off-kilter contrasts and optical illusions. Yokoo is also something of a chameleon of style, seemingly able to turn his hand to different disciplines with consumate ease. He’s has produced some stunning work through the years, and you can see much more at his official Japanese site

Tadanori Yokoo

‘A Ballad Dedicated to the Little Finger Cutting Ceremony’ Silkscreen poster – 1966 

Tadanori Yokoo

‘Sho wp Suteyo e Deyo [Throw Away Your Books, Rally in The Street]‘
Shuji Terayama, Book Jacket Design – 1967



So then lets draw to a close this special feature, with a couple of notes for further reading / viewing.

Firstly of course a big shout out to author Norman Hathaway and Dan Nadel. Electrical Banana is a fascinating book and impeccably researched. If your even the slightest bit interested in Psychedelia, the swinging 60′s or just graphical history in general you need to own a copy of this book! As usual I’d recommend Amazon to pick up a copy though I actually picked mine up via an independent online store.

Finally here’s the youtube movie of  the Electrical Banana book launch seminar at MoMA PS1.