Peter Max (born Peter Max Finkelstein; October 19, 1937) is a German-born American artist best known for his iconic art style in the 1960s. At first, his “Cosmic 60s” art, as it came to be known, appeared on posters and were seen on the walls of college dorms all across America. Max then became fascinated with new printing techniques that allowed for four-color reproduction on product merchandise. Following his success with a line of art clocks for General Electric, Max’s art was licensed by 72 corporations and he became a household name.
Pyschedelic Art is any kind of visual artwork inspired by psychedelic experiences induced by drugs such as LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin. The word “psychedelic” (coined by British psychologist Humphrey Osmond) means “mind manifesting”. By that definition all artistic efforts to depict the inner world of the psyche may be considered “psychedelic”. However, in common parlance “Psychedelic Art” refers above all to the art movement of the 1960s counterculture. Psychedelic visual arts were a counterpart to psychedelic rock music. Concert posters, album covers, lightshows, murals, comic books, underground newspapers and more reflected not only the kaleidoscopically swirling patterns of LSD hallucinations, but also revolutionary political, social and spiritual sentiments inspired by insights derived from these psychedelic states of consciousness.
Max’s art work was a part of the psychedelic movement in graphic design. His work was much imitated in commercial illustration in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He works in multiple media, including oil, acrylics, water colors, fingerpaints, dyes, pastels, charcoal, pen, multi-colored pencils, etchings, engravings, animation cels, lithographs, serigraphs, ceramics, sculpture, collage, video, xerox, fax, and computer graphics. He also includes mass media as a “canvas” for his creative expression.
Max often uses American symbols in his artwork and has done paintings and projects for Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush. Recently he created his 100 Clintons, a multiple portrait installation whose images were used through the four days of the Presidential inauguration. More recently, Max completed his fourth Grammy-Award poster, redesigned NBC television’s symbolic peacock, was appointed as the official artist for the World Cup USA 1994 and created a “Peace Accord” painting for the White House to commemorate a historic signing.