Ralph Steadman Originals

While many of you may have imagined us indolently laying about in our opulent new gallery in Aspen for the last month, we were in fact on the other side of the world harassing Ralph Steadman at his studio in Kent. We hung around his farm, looking over his shoulder until he couldn't take it any longer and finally created some drawings for us on several unfinished Hunter Thompson for Sheriff silkscreens and old photographs of Hunter by David Hiser. Not only did he draw on the photographs and prints, he signed and titled them with names such as "Only When You're Sheriff" and "Hmm?!...Maybe You Should Stick To Plumbing!" 

When he'd finished his lascivious drawings and scurrilous titles, we wrapped the drawings up, brought them back to Aspen and decided that we had better have a party to celebrate getting our hands on some nearly impossible to obtain Steadman originals. So on December 26th at 7pm if you're in Fat City drop by the gallery at 625 E. Hyman Ave and we'll raise a toast to lewd art and political maleficence, or, if you want to hear from the artist himself, stop in at 12pm on January 2nd for a live telecast with Steadman. 


Freak Power - Hunter S. Thompson's Campaign for Sheriff

Though many of you may think we are mere dilettantes peddling art to women in fur coats in a town where the beer flows like wine, we have actually been working in secret on our newest act of insurrection, Freak Power, a history of Hunter Thompson's campaign for sheriff. After twisting the arms of several Korean mafioso types, we have managed to get a limited number of copies of the book from the shores of Asia to the Rocky Mountains in a shockingly short amount of time.

Reviews of Freak Power

  For those of you unfamiliar with this particular episode in Thompson's history, the good doctor ran for sheriff of Pitkin County, the territory where Fat City is located, in 1970. Inevitably, things got weird. Freak Power, chronicles the hippies, dropouts, artists, greedheads, and landrapers as Thompson led them into a fray that would make international news, begin Thompson's career with Rolling Stone and change Aspen politics forever. 

  We dug up as much original material as we could beg, borrow or steal to put into the book, put a gun to former sheriff Bob Braudis's head until he wrote not only the foreword but the afterword too and finally chained ourselves to a table in the bar at the hotel Jerome until this book was written and sent to the press. So, you might be asking, where can you buy this brilliant new tome? Of course, it's on the Freak Power website or you can come and have a totally analog experience in the Gonzo Gallery at 625 E. Hyman in the heart of the glitter gulch. 

 

Freaks Retake Aspen

Like a certain wooden horse entering Troy, we have managed to set up a respectable front in the cushiest digs in Aspen and will soon be creating mayhem in the heart of the glitter gulch. While many thought it might be impossible for anything as radical as the Gonzo Gallery to flourish in the increasingly rarified Aspen air, it turns out that there are still enough weirdos and malcontents left in town to transform even the posh address of 625 E. Hyman Ave, next door to the new Aspen Art Museum, into a hotbed of insurrection. 

gallery 8.jpg

   As soon as we've broken all the red tape between us and legal authorities, freak headquarters will officially be open tonight. Once the Gonzo Gallery is officially on the books again, we'll gather the troops for a council of war which will go by the undercover name of "gallery party." Expect more of these sorts of events in the coming months as well as liberty salons and whatever acts of creative disobedience we can muster. 


The Aspen Wall Posters

The wallposter is a bi-weekly publication of the Aspen Wallposter Corporation, Box 1561, Aspen, Colorado.   Subscription rates will be announced in issue No. 2.  A very limited amount of advertising will be accepted as of issue No. 3  The Wallposter is not a newspaper – at least not for now.   But the sneaky demise of the Illusrated News leaves Aspen with only one editorial voice (in print & on the air) and politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum.   We intend to fill that vacuum.   We also intend to make some people wish that wolves had stolen them from their cradles.   The only criteria for art and editorial content will be quality- Any nazi greedhead with the money to hire a good ghostwriter is welcome to submit his screeds for publication.   Dull, and/or illiterate bullshit will be rejected out of hand.   Our space is limited and we have no rewrite staff to cope with gibberish or garbled swill.   We’ll make every effort, however, to publish any relevant, coherent and even outrageous counterpoint to our own clearly biased opinions. So – in the now-famous words of Spiro T. Agnew – “Let the Hundred Flowers Bloom”  -The Editors (Tom Benton and Hunter Thompson) 

Hunter S. Thompson, with elixir in hand, and Tom Benton behind their convenient disguise, await public reaction to the first issue of the Aspen Wall Poster

Hunter S. Thompson, with elixir in hand, and Tom Benton behind their convenient disguise, await public reaction to the first issue of the Aspen Wall Poster

The following article appeared in the Aspen Times on March 5, 1970.   Page C-1

Scurilous Sheet hits the streets.

A new way to open your eyes, fill your mind or line your waste basket was introduced to Aspen this week with publication of the first issue of The Aspen Wall Poster.

Designed as a bi-monthly output of graphics and opinion printed in a poster format, the new publication is the result of efforts by Tom Benton and Hunter S. Thompson to fill the editorial void created by the recent close of the Aspen Illustrated News.

The opening article by Thompson had been accepted by the News for publication before the abrupt end game of the paper.   Looking for a forum that would be free of the financial and editorial limitations of a newspaper, Thompson created the Wall Poster with Benton.

Denying the idea that they are looking for a personal soapbox, Benton and Thompson said in a statement on intent in the first issue they will accept any “relevant, coherent, and even outrageous counterpoint to our clearly biased opinions.

“The only criteria for art and editorial content will be quality.   Any Nazi greedhead with the money to hire a good ghostwriter is welcome to submit his screeds for publication.”

When asked by an Aspen Times reporter in an exclusive newspaper interview (easy when you’re the only paper in town), who would be their principle targets in the promised bi-monthly “heavy shot on local things,”  Thompson and Benton replied, “the greedheads, the land-rapers and the Nazis.”

A quick perusal of their first number gives some indication exactly who they consider in those categories.

Much like Consumer Reports which promise to “call spades spades, names, names, and let the chips fall where they may,”  the Wall Poster will hopefully provide a forum in which consumer of the much abused “quality of life” in Aspen can report.

The Graphics on the first issue are a re-working of the Joe Edwards campaign poster and it is backed by a bit of prickly invective about city and county cracker barrel politics.   But then it is the only way you can get a Benton poster for a dollar and if mounted with epoxy your children will never read the back.

Speaking of the format, Benton said that next time they would switch the invective and people would put the poster up against the wall.   Thompson said that personally he would like to see the graphics get into the erotic.   Nothing but dirty old logic, that, considering the way veritable mounds of Playboy are sold in Aspen.

The Wall Poster will also accept ads, but they must be interesting and will naturally be subject to editorial comment.   Thompson remarked that advertisers could buy equal time in the issues that blasted them.

Thompson, swaggering around the clandestine press room of the sheet in jack boots, Same Browne belt and campaign metal denied rumors that he coveted the Pitkin County Sheriff’s job, “although he said he was growing a beard to better represent Aspen at law enforcement conferences.

He noted that pressure for a draft is strong among his east coast financial backers and a posse will be formed soon.   Cowboy boots, side burns, and Basalt residency will not be mandatory, but useful.

The only member of the shadow organization that seems to surround the new sheet with a title is Circulation Manager Gene Johnston.

If warranted, he will make deliveries with a fierce dog in one hand, a large gun in the other and the posters flashing between.

Thompson said that “just because some of the writing may be a little heavy, it doesn’t mean it’s not serious.”

Remarking that the momentum for local reform had dropped since the election, the editors said that it was a mistake to only get excited two weeks out of the year.

Valley exploiters count on just such apathy and it would be a shame to let them have the whole game the rest of the year.

Although they claim to be entirely free of outside group influence, Benton noted that if you burn a candle under the poster, the word “revolution” appears.   Thompson said that if you urinated on it, secret messages would come out in the margins, but he didn’t recommend doing it when you were holding the candle under.

Shotgun Artwork by Hunter S. Thompson

"Subtlety is really the hallmark of my art" - Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson created works of shotgun art by shooting carefully placed bottles of paint in front of canvases, photographs, or posters.   This piece was created with the musician Warren Zevon in 1993.  

Learning to Flinch, 1993

Learning to Flinch, 1993