Hapshash and the Coloured Coat

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Hapshash and the Coloured Coat
Origin London, England
Genres Psychedelic rock, psychedelic folk, underground music
Years active1967 (1967)–1969
Labels Minit, Liberty
Associated acts Art, Spooky Tooth
Past members Michael English
Nigel Waymouth
Guy Stevens
Amanda Lear
Brian Jones
Mike Harrison
Greg Ridley
Mike Kellie
Luther Grosvenor
Tony McPhee
Mike Batt
Mickey Finn
Andy Renton
Tim Renton
Michael Mayhew
Eddie Tripp
Freddie Ballerini
Michael Ramsden
Barry Husband
John Carr

Hapshash and the Coloured Coat was an influential British graphic design and avant-garde musical partnership in the late 1960s, consisting of Michael English and Nigel Waymouth. It produced popular psychedelic posters, and two albums of underground music. [1] [2] [3]

Graphic design the visual design of content in different media

Graphic design is the process of visual communication and problem-solving through the use of typography, photography and illustration. The field is considered a subset of visual communication and communication design, but sometimes the term "graphic design" is used synonymously. Graphic designers create and combine symbols, images and text to form visual representations of ideas and messages. They use typography, visual arts and page layout techniques to create visual compositions. Common uses of graphic design include corporate design, editorial design, wayfinding or environmental design, advertising, web design, communication design, product packaging and signage.

Avant-garde music is music that is considered to be at the forefront of experimentation or innovation in its field, with the term "avant-garde" implying a critique of existing aesthetic conventions, rejection of the status quo in favor of unique or original elements, and the idea of deliberately challenging or alienating audiences.

Michael English was a British artist known for poster designs he created in the 1960s for musicians such as Jimi Hendrix in collaboration with Nigel Waymouth and the design company they established, Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, and for several series of hyper realist paintings in the 1970s and 1980s.


The silkscreen printed posters created by the pair advertised underground "happenings", clubs and concerts in London, and became so popular at the time that they helped launch the commercial sale of posters as art, initially in fashionable stores such as the Indica Bookshop and Carnaby Street boutiques. Their first album of psychedelic music, produced by a collective in early 1967 and including many famous names, is now seen as being influential on the early works of Amon Düül and other pioneers of German Krautrock, as well as inspiring sections of the Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request album. [4] [5] [6]

Indica Gallery

Indica Gallery was a counterculture art gallery in Mason's Yard, St. James's, London, England during the late 1960s, in the basement of the Indica Bookshop co-owned by John Dunbar, Peter Asher and Barry Miles. It was supported by Paul McCartney and hosted a show of Yoko Ono's work in November 1966 at which Ono first met John Lennon.

Carnaby Street street in London

Carnaby Street is a pedestrianised shopping street in Soho in the City of Westminster, Central London. Close to Oxford Street and Regent Street, it is home to fashion and lifestyle retailers, including a large number of independent fashion boutiques.

Amon Düül was a German political art commune formed out of the student movement of the 1960s that became well known for its free-form musical improvisations. This spawned two rock groups, Amon Düül and the more famous Amon Düül II. After both groups disbanded in the 1970s, some of the original members reunited in the 1980s under the name Amon Düül again, though this incarnation is commonly referred to as Amon Düül (UK) to avoid confusion with the original one.

Their posters remain highly sought after. The original artwork for a poster advertising Jimi Hendrix's 1967 concert at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco – depicting the guitarist as a psychedelic Native American chief with a hunting bow in one hand and a peace pipe in the other – was sold in 2008 by Bonhams for $72,000. [7] Between October 2000 and January 2001, the Victoria and Albert Museum, which owns the originals of many of their posters in its permanent collection, mounted a retrospective exhibition of their work titled "Cosmic VisionsPsychedelic Posters from the 1960s".

Jimi Hendrix American guitarist, singer and songwriter

James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music".

Fillmore West historic rock and roll music venue in San Francisco, California, USA

The Fillmore West was a historic rock and roll music venue in San Francisco, California, which became famous under the direction of concert promoter Bill Graham from 1968 to 1971. Named after The Fillmore at the intersection of Fillmore Street and Geary Boulevard, it stood at the southwest corner of Market Street and South Van Ness Avenue in the Civic Center district. There is now a Honda automobile dealership at that location. In June 2018, the top two floors of the building reopened as SVN West, a new concert and corporate event venue managed by Non Plus Ultra.

San Francisco Consolidated city-county in California, United States

San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th-most populous city in the United States, and the fourth-most populous in California, with 884,363 residents as of 2017. It covers an area of about 46.89 square miles (121.4 km2), mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second-most densely populated large US city, and the fifth-most densely populated U.S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is also part of the fifth-most populous primary statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area.


Michael English had studied art under Roy Ascott at Ealing Art College in West London between 1963 and 1966. [6] [8] [9] [10] He took part in Ascott's revolutionary Groundcourse, the first year of which focused on changing preconceptions and involved exercises such as students being subjected to continuous pulses of light and darkness in the lecture theatre before being asked to walk over a floor covered with glass marbles. Ascott later recalled that one of the aims was to create disorientation "within an environment that is sometimes unexpectedly confusing, where [the artist] is faced with problems that seem absurd, aimless or terrifying … Pete Townshend sat on a trolley for three weeks, because he wasn't allowed to use his legs and [Brian] Eno went around with a bag on his head." [11] [12]

Roy Ascott is a British artist, who works with cybernetics and telematics, on an art which is technoetic, focusing on the impact of digital and telecommunications networks on consciousness.

Ealing Art College

Ealing Art College was a further education institution on St Mary's Road, Ealing, London, England. The site today is the Ealing campus of University of West London. In the early 1960s the School of Art was composed of Fashion, Graphics, Industrial Design, Photography and Fine Art Departments, and the college was attended by notable musicians Freddie Mercury, Ronnie Wood and Pete Townshend.

Marble (toy) small spherical toy

A marble is a small spherical toy often made from glass, clay, steel, plastic or agate. These balls vary in size. Most commonly, they are about 1 cm in diameter, but they may range from less than 1 mm to over 8 cm (3 in), while some art glass marbles for display purposes are over 30 cm (12 in) wide. Marbles can be used for a variety of games called marbles. They are often collected, both for nostalgia and for their aesthetic colors. In the North of England the objects and the game are called "taws", with larger taws being called bottle washers after the use of a marble in Codd-neck bottles, which were often collected for play.

After graduating, English briefly worked for an advertising agency. Having become "captivated by the pop movement", however, he was soon selling his pop art designs described as "a potent mix of art nouveau with hard-edge sci-fi applied to disposable items such as union flag sunglasses" direct to London's trendy boutiques, including Gear on Carnaby Street. [6] [8] [9] [10] [13] As a freelance graphic artist he was also producing artwork for the counterculture newspaper International Times . [14]

An advertising agency, often referred to as a creative agency, is a business dedicated to creating, planning, and handling advertising and sometimes other forms of promotion and marketing for its clients. An ad agency is generally independent from the client; it may be an internal department or agency that provides an outside point of view to the effort of selling the client's products or services, or an outside firm. An agency can also handle overall marketing and branding strategies promotions for its clients, which may include sales as well.

Pop art Art movement

Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the United Kingdom and the United States during the mid- to late-1950s. The movement presented a challenge to traditions of fine art by including imagery from popular and mass culture, such as advertising, comic books and mundane cultural objects. One of its aims is to use images of popular culture in art, emphasizing the banal or kitschy elements of any culture, most often through the use of irony. It is also associated with the artists' use of mechanical means of reproduction or rendering techniques. In pop art, material is sometimes visually removed from its known context, isolated, or combined with unrelated material.

Art Nouveau Style of art & architecture about 1890 to 1910

Art Nouveau is an international style of art, architecture and applied art, especially the decorative arts, that was most popular between 1890 and 1910. A reaction to the academic art of the 19th century, it was inspired by natural forms and structures, particularly the curved lines of plants and flowers.

Nigel Waymouth had graduated from University College London, where he studied Economic History, and had also studied art at several London colleges. [15] Following a period working as a freelance journalist, he opened a boutique at 488 King's Road, Chelsea, in partnership with his girlfriend Sheila Cohen and John Pearse, a Savile Row trained tailor. They acquired the premises in December 1965 and opened as Granny Takes a Trip (GTT) in February 1966, initially selling Edwardian and antique clothes with what author Paul Gorman describes as "an up-to-date feel that appealed to the young hippie denizens of what was becoming known as Swinging London". [16] [17] They also sold their own designs "very decadent, flowery and over the top, but without being totally tasteless" which were soon in demand with bands such as the Beatles (photographed wearing GTT clothes on the back cover of Revolver ), the Rolling Stones (front cover of Between the Buttons ), Cream, The Animals and Pink Floyd. [18]

University College London, which has operated under the official name of UCL since 2005, is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom. It is a constituent college of the federal University of London, and is the third largest university in the United Kingdom by total enrolment, and the largest by postgraduate enrolment.

Kings Road major street stretching through Chelsea and Fulham in west London, England

King's Road or Kings Road, is a major street stretching through Chelsea and Fulham, both in west London. It is associated with 1960s style and with fashion figures such as Mary Quant and Vivienne Westwood. Sir Oswald Mosley's Blackshirt movement had a barracks on the street in the 1930s.

Chelsea, London area of central London, England

Chelsea is an affluent area of West London, bounded to the south by the River Thames. Its frontage runs from Chelsea Bridge along the Chelsea Embankment, Cheyne Walk, Lots Road and Chelsea Harbour. Its eastern boundary was once defined by the River Westbourne, which is now in a pipe above Sloane Square Underground station. The modern eastern boundary is Chelsea Bridge Road and the lower half of Sloane Street, including Sloane Square. To the north and northwest, the area fades into Knightsbridge and Brompton, but it is considered that the area north of King's Road as far northwest as Fulham Road is part of Chelsea.

In December 1966 English and Waymouth were introduced to one another by Joe Boyd and John "Hoppy" Hopkins, co-founders of the UFO Club on Tottenham Court Road, who asked them to collaborate on posters advertising the club. [18] Waymouth said: "They wanted a distinctive style. The idea was to pair us off and see what happened." [14] The pair worked well together, with Waymouth saying "The chemistry between us was brilliant", and English describing how their combined talents "created a very interesting melange of visual delights". [6] [18] At first they operated under the name Cosmic Colors, but only produced one poster before changing the name to Jacob and the Coloured Coat, producing two more works. In March 1967 they chose the name Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, which suggested both hashish and psychedelic patterning (Joseph's "coat of many colors"). [19] [20] They set up a small studio on Princedale Road in Holland Park, close to the Oz offices, and where, according to the magazine's editor Richard Neville, "their sole inspiration was LSD and their regular 'tripping partner' was Pete Townshend." [14] [21] The posters were then printed and distributed by Osiris Visions, owned by the International Times, in the basement of the Indica Bookshop in Mason's Yard (off Duke Street), St. James's. [18]


The posters they designed for the UFO Club and Oz magazine drew on elements of Mucha, Ernst, Magritte, Bosch, Blake and Dulac, pulling them together in a style that art critic George Melly called "Nouveau Art Nouveau" and Time was beginning to call "Nouveau Frisco". [22] [23] They also designed posters for the Middle Earth club, Pink Floyd (who were the resident band at the UFO), The 5th Dimension, The Move, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Soft Machine and the Incredible String Band.

While other designers at the time opted for "an indiscriminate use of rainbows and any clashing colour combination, [Hapshash] strived for maximum colour effect without sacrificing balance or harmony", and frequently used expensive gold and silver metallic inks, which previously were rarely seen on advertising posters. They also introduced a new technique to screen-printing which allowed them to "graduate from one colour to another on a single separation". [15]

Poster for Pink Floyd at the CIA-UFO club, 28 July 1967, by Hapshash and the Coloured Coat Hapshash-UFO.jpg
Poster for Pink Floyd at the CIA-UFO club, 28 July 1967, by Hapshash and the Coloured Coat

Their work has been cited as an inspiration by surrealistic artist Mark Wilkinson, known for his designs for bands such as Marillion, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. [24]


They also released two albums, Featuring the Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids (Minit: MLS 40001) in 1967, and Western Flier (Liberty: LBS 83212) in 1969. By this time English had left, and Waymouth strangely is mentioned in the liner notes as having decided to "record" the album, but not listed as one of the musicians. Mike Batt, who produced 'Western Flier" while an A&R man at Liberty,- and who joined the band as its "third member" for the one album, recalls that English was never present but that Michael Mayhew - wo had some facility as a guitarist (but did not play on the album) was Weymouth's new collaborator as part of Hapshash and that he was as central to the recording as Weymouth. Neither played on the album or professed to be more than muses, front men and contributors of conceptual ideas, the lyrics and some chord patterns. The music for the songs was mostly composed and arranged by Batt. All the songs were credited Weymouth/English/Batt. The basic rhythm tracks for the album were recorded at Marquee Studios in Soho, using an industry-standard four track machine. Musicians were Eddie Tripp (Bass), Mike Batt (Piano) Andy Renton (Drums) and Tony (TS) McPhee) Guitar. The tracks were then copied to the new and then rare 8 track facility at Trident Studios, just after the Beatles had made "Hey Jude" at that studio, popularising it. Batt presided over the layering of vocals by singer Michael Ramsden and hippy friends of Mayhew and Weymouth including three girls later dubbed "The rock 'n' roll women, and Mickey Finn (of T Rex) on bongos. The overdubs at Trident were performed in a dark, candle-lit studio as audio "happenings" organised by Batt, with Ramsdan performing lead vocals in the centre of the studio and the other contributors moving around at Batt's random direction, singing and playing percussion "toys" including wind chimes, in order constantly to change their position in the stereo image, creating a trippy, psychedelic atmosphere.




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