Stanley Mouse was born in California on October 10, 1940. His father was an animator with Disney Studios who worked on Snow White. Stanley grew up in Detroit where Motown music and the city’s obsession with motor cars combined with his genius at drawing and made Stanleys life path clear at an early age. Quiet and always drawing in class, Stanley earned his pen name, Mouse in the seventh grade. He’d become known for his sketches of monster-driven muscle cars and as soon as he began signing with his pen name, he became instantly famous at thirteen.
Stanley found a niche in the Detroit hot rod culture by detailing extraordinary paint jobs on vehicles until no quality hot rod in town could be seen without a Mouse pin-striping job. Soon after, he began applying his favorite subjects to T-shirts with an airbrush. In the tenth grade, Stanley did some graffiti on the high school hang out and was expelled from high school, the silver lining being that he then enrolled in art school.
Stanley received his formal training at Detroit’s School for the Society of Arts and Crafts which was connected to the Detroit art museum. He dropped out to follow a higher calling to do rock posters in San Francisco during the sixties wartime era of social revolution, political passion and musical innovation. History was made when Stanley met Alton Kelley – they collaborated for over 15 years and changed the course of advertising art forever. Two of their most famous images, one featuring ZigZag cigarette rolling papers and another, the Grateful Dead skeleton and roses motif, became symbols of a generation. Kelley and Mouse were innovators of the most important art movement of the latter part of the twentieth century. They captured the passion and excitement of the times with their distinctive styles. In 1970 Stanley returned to Detroit and was given a one man show at the Detroit Institute of Art. –[source: Mouse Studios]
Growing up in Detroit, it’s no surprise that Stanley Mouse had a thing for cars. As a teenager, he made a name for himself on the state fair circuit painting hot rods on t-shirts. His unique style and imaginative designs fueled a lucrative family business, but Mouse was eager to expand his horizons.
He headed for San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, arriving in late 1965, the eve of the summer of love. It was a time of untamed passion, peace and love amidst war. Somewhere between these extremities, a new, groundbreaking style of art was born – and Mouse was at the epicenter.
Mouse immersed himself in the free-flowing culture and music of the times. He visualized psychedelic images and transcended them into art. Together with fellow artist and longtime collaborator, Alton Kelley, he was commissioned to create many of the now classic posters for rock shows at the Avalon and Fillmore.
He dreamed up and designed iconic imagery for the Grateful Dead, Big Brother & the Holding Co., Steve Miller Band, Jefferson Airplane, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Journey among many others, expressing in each of his paintings the hope and magic of the Sixties. His art was an attribution to the period, a symbol of the absorbing and exciting subculture that was forming.
“ If I were to pick half a dozen of the definitive 1960’s people, Stanley Mouse would be one of them” – Bill Graham
During a prolific career that has spanned over forty years, Mouse has created a visual arsenal of popular images, still important to both those who remember the originals and a younger generation of fans. His legacy continues to grow.
Today, Mouse’s art has been exhibited in the following prestigious museums:
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
The Denver Art Museum
The Tokyo Museum of Modern Art
The Detroit Institute of Art
The Boston Museum
The Smithsonian Institute
The New York Museum of Modern Art
Moore Galleries, San Francisco
The Oakland Museum
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland
Source: Family Dog.com