Bonnie Maclean’s story has rather humble beginnings. She was largely a self taught artist and graphic designer. Originally from Philadelphia, she relocated to San Francisco in 1963, during a pivotal time in US history. Maclean started her career as an assistant to Bill Graham before he began working as a concert promoter for the Filmore. She would eventually take over as the in-house poster designer from Wes Wilson, who is often cited as a strong influence on MacLean’s work. Her previous design experience included chalkboard announcements and evening lineups for the concert hall. Today her work for the Filmore is considered an important contribution to the psychedelic music scene of the 1960s. However, despite her contributions, the history of graphic design largely recognizes the “Big Five'' as the most important or iconic figures contributing to the music poster scene of this era. It shouldn’t be surprising that the “Big Five'' doesn't include Maclean. However, her psychedelic posters for the Filmore have been collected and exhibited by museums and galleries and recognized for their impact on the music poster scene of 1960s San Francisco.
1939 – b Philadelphia
1961 – graduated from Penn State university with a degree in French
1961 – Moved to New York city, took drawing classes at night at Pratt Institute where she was working
1963 – Moved to San Francisco and began work with Bill Graham
1967 – Married concert promoter Bill Graham
1967 – Wes Wilson left the Filmore and Bonnie became the primary poster designer in his stead.
1968 – gave birth to son David
1975 – Divorced Bill Graham
1981 – married second husband Jacques Fabert (artist)
2005 – work was featured at the Tate Liverpool in a show called “The Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic era”
2013 – Jacques Fabert dies
2014 – headliner at the TRPS Festival of Rock Posters in San Francisco
2015 – designs commemorative poster for Hall & Oates to mark the grand opening of the Philadelphia Fillmore
2020 – died in Pennsylvania
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Vaziri, A. (February 12, 2020). “Bonnie Maclean, pioneering rock poster artist and wife of Bill Graham, dies at 80“. Datebook, San Francisco Chronicle. https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/art-exhibits/bonnie-maclean-pioneering-rock-poster-artist-and-wife-of-bill-graham-dies-at-80