May 30, 2008
Born in Detroit, Stanley Miller became known as "Mouse" after illustrating countless notebooks with his signature rodent sketch. After an episode of graffiti mischief got him expelled from high school, he enrolled in Detroit's School for the Society of Arts and Crafts but found the courses uninspiring. Miller found an outlet for his creativity in pin-striping cars and airbrushing designs on posters and t-shirts while he traveled around the country with the hot-rod circuit.
In 1963, he established his own corporation, Mouse Studios, producing a line of decals, posters and t-shirts. Mouse migrated to San Francisco in 1964, where he first met the artists associated with Family Dog, the organization producing dance concerts at the Avalon Ballroom. Mouse landed a job creating promotional posters for Family Dog. With collaborator Alton Kelley, Mouse experimented broadly with composition, lettering and imagery: Kelley came up with the ideas and Mouse executed the designs. Their work evolved into a characteristic style filled with visual puns that captured the playful, anything-goes spirit of Haight-Ashbury.
Mouse later replaced poster artist Wes Wilson at the Family Dog and, beginning in June of 1966 in collaboration with Alton Kelley, helped to establish the psychedelic style of expression under the name Mouse Studios. This creative team produced a number of striking concert posters over the next two years, incorporating human and commercial images that resonated in the hippie culture: one of the most famous featuring ZigZag cigarette rolling papers and another, the Grateful Dead skull and roses motif.
When the demand for rock posters dropped off in the 1970s, Mouse and Kelley moved on to design rock t-shirts and album covers. Their cover for Steve Miller's album, Book of Dreams, won a Grammy Award in 1977. Although production was limited, Mouse and Kelley's 1978 Blue Rose poster, created to commemorate the closing of the Winterland Arena, is considered a classic from this decade. Mouse currently lives with his wife in Sonoma, California. He has made a career licensing the commercial rights to his rock designs and is establishing his reputation as a fine arts painter.
Mouse's special visit and custom paint session at the Shoebiz Dino shop on San Francisco's Haight Street coincides with the Converse release of the Deadhead sneaker, which will be released by Mouse himself at the Haight Street Fair this June 8th.
Posted by Karen Erfe at 2:11 PM