John Van Hamersveld

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John Van Hamersveld (born 1941, Baltimore, Maryland, United States) is an American graphic artist and illustrator who designed record jackets for pop and psychedelic bands from the 1960s onward.[1] Among the 300 albums[2] are the covers of Magical Mystery Tour by the Beatles, Crown of Creation by Jefferson Airplane, Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones, and Hotter Than Hell by Kiss. His first major assignment, in 1963, was designing the poster for the surf film The Endless Summer, after which he served as Capitol Records' head of design from 1965 to 1968. During that time, he worked on the artwork for albums by Capitol artists such as the Beatles and the Beach Boys.[3] He also oversaw the design of the psychedelic posters for the Pinnacle Shrine exposition.[4]

Album covers[edit]

Among his most notable album covers are:

Film posters[edit]

The Endless Summer one-sheet film poster, 1964

Van Hamersveld designed the iconic Endless Summer film poster using a photograph. He arranged the shoot in January 1964, after filmmaker Bruce Brown showed him the film's opening scene. He positioned Brown in the foreground with his surfboard on his head and the film's two stars between Brown and the setting sun. He had learned this technique at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena where he took night classes, graduating later that year. He converted the photo into an abstract design by reducing each color to a single tone and giving each image a single, hard edge.[7]

Other work[edit]

He designed an official poster and 360-foot-long mural for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games; illustrations for Esquire, Rolling Stone, Billboard; and branding and logos for Fatburger, Contempo Casuals, and Broadway Deli. He also designed the rear cover collage and inside sleeve of Billy Squier's 1984 album Signs of Life.

Later projects[edit]

In 1997 Van Hamersveld started his own line of products revisiting his work from 1964 to 1974, which he calls "Post-Future". With the printmaking of a fine art edition of the Endless Summer poster, he moved his design work into his Coolhous studio in Santa Monica and between analog and digital environments managed to create works such as the posters for the 2005 Cream reunion concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

In 2013 he celebrated 50 years in graphic design by producing a vinyl EP sleeve for Liverpool-based blues-rockers Sankofa, in addition to publishing the book John Van Hamersveld—Coolhaus Studio: 50 Years of Graphic Design. He continued that line of work in 2014 with two more artworks for records by Asher Roth and the Gaslight Anthem.

In April 2018 Van Hamersveld completed a mural on a storage tank near Grand Avenue in El Segundo, California. "El Segundo is where my career started, as a surfer and an artist," he told the Los Angeles Times.[8]


  1. ^ "'Endless Summer' poster guy makes digital waves" Archived 2009-06-03 at the Wayback Machine, by Tom Berg, The Orange County Register, January 14, 2009. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  2. ^ Kubernik, Harvey (2014). It Was Fifty Years Ago Today: The Beatles Invade America and Hollywood. Los Angeles, CA: Otherworld Cottage Industries. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-9898936-8-8.
  3. ^ a b c d Kubernik 2014, p. 127.
  4. ^ Kubernik 2014, p. 129.
  5. ^ "Imaging The Stones: John Van Hamersveld". Rock's Backpages. 11 August 2001. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Preserver of the past". Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  7. ^ "Orange County Register : The poster that changed Orange County". Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  8. ^ Abcarian, Robin (17 April 2018). "Sleepy little El Segundo is suddenly on the radar and fighting to keep its small-town identity". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 April 2018.

External links[edit]