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Rick Griffin: Aquatic Ascendance

Drawn on the walls of a bedroom in Palos Verdes when Rick Griffin was a young, aspiring artist, it’s a unique look at some of the iconic surf artist’s earliest works. Already brimming with talent, the pieces are a clear example of the art Griffin would soon create of his friends in the surf band The Challengers, big-wave legend Greg Noll and Surfer Magazine creator John Severson. A nod to what would become his famous Murphy character, these early pieces feature various high-energy, cartoon surf scenes and adventures in full, vivid color.

Preserved on the same bedroom walls in Palos Verdes all these years, recently, the house was being renovated and to save the artwork the walls were literally cut out and removed from the house—drywall, studs and all. It’s these panels that will be on display at SHACC, along with other early Griffin works created before turning his attention to San Francisco’s blossoming counterculture scene in the later 1960s.


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