I Don’t Remember 1969

From my copy of "Peace" by Peter Max

1969 was an amazing year for creativity, the arts and science. In music there was Woodstock, David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s “Give Peace A Chance”. In film “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid”, “Easy Rider” and “Midnight Cowboy” were released, and the novels “Slaughterhouse–Five” and “The Godfather” were published. Rowan and Martin’s “Laugh-In”, “The Brady Bunch” and “Monty Python’s Flying Circus" premiered on TV. 40 years ago today Apollo 11 landed on the moon. I don’t remember any of it. I was six.

Portrait of the artist, 1971

While 1969 for me was more about play dates, TV dinners and Saturday morning cartoons, the counter culture finally hit me in 1971, when I bought my first book, a breathtakingly colorful explosion of 5 ¾” square format design entitled “Peace” by Peter Max. As I soaked in New York City in the early 70’s, I began digging the groovy vibe. I drew peace signs and smiley faces and begged my mother for a zip front mini and a suede fringed vest. I knew every lyric from "Hair" by heart, and saw it in 1972. By the late 70’s I had reached the pinnacle of retro-hippie style, drew psychedelic art, made beaded jewelry, worshipped Jefferson Airplane and had some mind expanding experiences.

James and Cynthia Rybakoff, East Hampton, 1970

I often look back to the post-1969 era with fond memories of that great incubator of a time, which shaped me as the artist and designer I am today. I have probably not yet seen all the avant garde art, heard every influential song, seen every important film or read every seminal novel from back then, but I definitely intend to.

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