incomplet: a podcast about design history

a podcast about design history

Bonnie Maclean

    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


    Ankeny, J. (ND). “Bonne Maclean”. All Music.

    “Bonnie Maclean” (ND). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

    Doyle, M. (2002). “Staging the Revolution: Guerrilla Theater as a Countercultural Practice, 1965-1968”. The Digger Archives.

    Esmaili, T. (June 2017). “Obscenity”. Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School

    Grushkin, P. (2015). The Art of Rock: Posters from Presley to Punk. Abbeville Press. 

    Kamiya, G. (August 7, 2015). “How A Mime Troupe Arrest Sparked Bill Graham's Promoting Career”. The San Francisco Chronicle

    Marks, B. (February 12, 2020). “Bonnie MacLean, 1939-2020”. TRPS (The Rock Poster Society).

    Morley, M. (March 7, 2019) “The Cost of Free Love and the Designers Who Bore It—Meet the Women of Psychedelic Design”. AIGA Eye on Design.

    Vaziri, A.  (February 12, 2020). “Bonnie Maclean, pioneering rock poster artist and wife of Bill Graham, dies at 80“. Datebook, San Francisco Chronicle