Jim Franklin was born in Galveston, Texas in 1943. He studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, which he left early to move to New York. Eventually he returned to Texas, where he met a group of musicians and artists who opened the Vulcan Gas Company, a psychedelic music hall in Austin, and were associated with the band Mother Earth, for which Gilbert Shelton drew posters, a task he later gave to Jim Franklin. In 1968, Jim drew his first armadillo, and it soon became not only his trademark but also the symbol of Texas Hipsters.
Franklin continues to paint and draw and do other art projects, like building curved and domed buildings and some performance art, in which he performs songs and paints on stage.
Micael Priest was one of the artist involved in the underground comic scene in Austin, Texas, which was mainly based around concert hall Armadillo World Headquarters.
Together with Jim Franklin and Guy Juke, Priest was the leading force behind creating the famous Austin Concert Hall’s artwork, and has drawn posters and album covers for the greatest names in music including the likes of Frank Zappa and The Grateful Dead.
I was born on February 21, 1945 in Dodge City, Kansas, I graduated with a BA in History from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches in 1966.
I arrived in Austin, Texas in the spring of 1970. I was one of the very lucky individuals that spent that wonderful decade in that incandescently wonderful city. This is also where and when I began to practice my art. Looking up Jim Franklin at Armadillo World Headquarters, I was given my first poster assignment, John Sebastian. From that spring until New Year’s Eve, 1979, I executed over a dozen AWHQ titles. I also did work for Castle Creek, Soap Creek Saloon, The Texas Opry House, The Austin Opera House, and many other Austin music venues. In 1976, I also began work for Antone’s, Austin’s Home of the Blues.
It is probably for my work at Antone’s, 1976 – 2005, for which I am best known in music art and ephemera. Clifford Antone created the best blues club in the world in the last quarter of the 20th Century and it was my great and enduring honor to have been a part of that. I had the privilege of meeting and promoting some of the greats of the Chicago blues scene – Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, B. B. King, Albert King, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy and James Cotton – just to name a few. It was also my great honor to hear and promote the blues from such young Texas artists like Jimmie Vaughan, Derek O’Brien, Denny Freeman, Paul Ray and Stevie Ray Vaughan – again, just to name a few.
Other musicians that I have had the honor of promoting include – but are not limited to – Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Ray Charles, Warren Zevon, and Eric Clapton.
Guy Juke was born in San Angelo Texas on September 4th, 1951. Juke’s father was a local architect who saw natural talent in his son and gave him encouragement and private art lessons at an early age. He began his career writing and illustrating underground comics. In late 1972, he moved to Austin, Texas.
While hanging around the local music scene, the Armadillo World Headquarters especially, Juke was exposed to the Austin music poster artists. It wasn’t long before he was producing concert posters for the likes of Frank Zappa, Ricky Lee Jones, Talking Heads, and too many more to mention. Numerous illustrations for local magazines and album covers were designed in years to come.
As a poster artist he has created memorable imagery for nightclubs such as the Armadillo along with Micael Priest and Jim Franklin and rest of the Armadillo Art Squad. His work is recognized for its darkly detailed, often shadowy and angular figures inspired by horror films, haunting western landscapes, and loopy cartoon characters. Performers such as Joe Ely, B-52s, Willie Nelson, Frank Zappa, Talking Heads, Pavarott, Asleep At The Wheel and Roy Buchanan are all immortalized via his graphic design. As a musician he has performed as a guitarist with Butch Hancock, Doak Snead, Ponty Bone and as Blackie White in the Cornell Hurd Band.
He recently designed the logos and posters for author and musician Kinky Friedman’s 2006 campaign for Texas Governor. Juke has won numerous awards for his designs, including one from AIGA. His classic series of silk-screened posters for local events such as Carnival and the Austin Chronicle Music Awards are still coveted collectors items proudly hanging in hipster’s homes the world over.
Born and raised on a farm in the Stephenville, Texas area, Yeates graduated from North Texas State University with a BFA in Drawing and Painting in 1974. After teaching at a private school in Dallas for about a year, Yeates moved to Austin and soon began working at the Armadillo World Headquarters, a music concert hall. Posters promoting shows followed and led to promotional art for Lone Star Beer during the 80’s. Through this medium, Yeates’ art traveled around the world. While teaching several years at Austin Community College, Yeates became serious about his fine art and began doing exhibits and showing his work in galleries. In the mid 90s he also became involved in the video game industry. For the past five years, he has been employed as a senior texture/environmental artist for Disney Interactive at Junction Point Studio in Austin Texas. Through all that, he has continued to paint for galleries and receive commissions.
Henry Gonzalez was born into a South Texas family of graphic artists and has studied art at some of the best state universities in Texas. Primarily known for his murals and outdoor art installations, since 1972 he was part of the Armadillo Art Squad at the legendary Armadillo World Headquarters- a group of young artists who created all the posters, handbills and print ads that promoted the performances at the club. After the club closed, Henry spent time as the stage manager for the Austin Opera House and for the AFM free concert series.
He continued to create artwork and worked in a production capacity on the road with touring bands until 2004 when the South Austin Popular Culture Center was founded. Since that time he has been the Facility Manager, overseeing the building, hanging the exhibits and acting as exhibit guide. His year-round project is the Memorial Wall that includes photographs of people who have had an impact on Austin culture and have passed away. The project culminates each October 30th with a Dia De Los Muertos celebration at the Center.
Many of our visitors have seen Kerry’s South Austin slideshow tour as part of an Esther’s Follies show at which he was a weekly performer for over 30 years until 2011, or heard his musical performances with the Uranium Savages.
During the 1970s he got involved with the Armadillo World Headquarters underground comix scene, and contributed comics to the magazine Austin Stone. He has become especially known for the posters he did at the Armadillo World Headquarters.
Kerry is an accomplished painter and his cowgirls, clear blue swimming pools, and vintage old motels, portray a time when Austin was truly the crown jewel of Texas. Shannon Sedwick, co founder of Esther’s Follies called him, “the personification of old Austin: rough, but accessible.” Awn is one of the three artists who painted the incredible murals at 23rd Street and Guadalupe; one depicting Austin on one side of the street, and one depicting the state of Texas on the other side. He is currently working on a mural at the Central Market in the Westgate Shopping Center celebrating local farming and produce.
From the decor in Kerry’s house, it is clear that he has spent many years right in the heart of Austin. Alongside his paintings are psychedelic posters from the Armadillo, Soap Creek and other venerated venues that gave Austin the mystique and charm it enjoys today.
Austin native, Bill Narum (narum) was at the forefront of nearly every advancement in the arts since he was born in the Texas state capital to two UT students who became professional artists.
narum’s began his professional career with sleek pen-and-inks of Houston’s sixties counterculture, where his album covers, poster art, T-shirts and political cartooning became synonymous with it’s counter culture movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He later co-founded radio station KLOL. narum’s trade mark signature is recognized world wide for the artwork and staging he created for “that little ol’ band from Texas” – ZZ Top.
In the early 1970s, narum returned to Austin to join with fellow Sheauxnough Studio artists in creating artwork for the underground press and various music venues, including the famous concert hall Armadillo World Headquarters. narum opened GOGO Studios in the 1980s to service Austin’s burgeoning music industry producing album covers, posters and logo designs for Stevie Ray Vaughan and many local musicians, clubs and record labels.
In 1988, narum was voted Austin Poster Artist of the Year in the Austin Chronicle’s People’s Choice Awards for his Continental Club poster series.
In 1993, narum was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Austin for providing a valued and distinguished service to the public through his artwork. narum’s artwork has been acquired by City and State historical preservation archives and private collectors world wide.
narum began experimenting with computer graphics in the mid-1980s and was also involved with several innovative multimedia and Internet related projects, as well as producing artwork for the music industry.
To everyone’s shock and sorrow, narum died on Wednesday, November 18, 2009. His passing leaves the art and music communities of Texas poorer, as the rich palette of his work that spanned decades and mediums is unparalleled.
Ken Featherston, born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, came to Austin as many young people do: to attend the University of Texas. He left the academic world to pursue his artwork in the rock n roll world centered around the Armadillo World Headquarters. There he became one of the main members of the Armadillo Art Squad. Incredibly talented, Ken’s fine pen and ink drawing was very compelling. His body of work always impresses. In 1974 Michael Martin commissioned a mural by Ken for his Burnet Road area home- this was Ken’s largest air brush project undertaken.
Ken was killed in November 1975. That tragedy still affects his friends and family.
When the Center was just getting set up and organized in 2004 the opportunity arose to acquire Ken’s mural Peyote Dreams. What an incredible situation! The sellers (they bought the Martin house only to decide they did not want the mural after all) had no idea of the connection between Center staff and Ken. Due to the very generous funding from Michael Kleinman, John McCall and Eddie Wilson the Center was able to successfully move the mural to its new home in South Austin. Between the expertise of the contractor, Ed Grounds, and the Center’s facility manager, Henry Gonzalez, the mural was moved intact.