Hapshash Takes a Trip: the psychedelic world of Nigel Waymouth at Idea Generation Gallery

By Nick Owen | 06 September 2011
© Hapshash and the Coloured Coat
Exhibition: Hapshash Takes a Trip: The Sixties Work of Nigel Waymouth, Idea Generation Gallery, London, September 9 - October 2 2011

Though the name Hapshash and the Coloured Coat may not be as recognisable today as the Beatles or Mary Quant, the design duo played just as big a part in forging the zeitgeist of swinging 1960s London.

In celebration of this legacy, Idea Generation is presenting a major retrospective on Nigel Waymouth, one half of the Hapshash collective.

Under the Hapshash moniker, Nigel Waymouth and Michael English visually defined psychedelia, combining a subversive mixture of avant-garde and art nouveau.

Waymouth met English in 1966 while designing the shop front of Granny Takes a Trip, his radical vintage boutique on the Kings Road.

Though Granny... was a part of the boutique phenomenon sweeping London since the beginning of the 1960s, the shop was the first to truly instil the free-spirited values of the generation into fashion.

While Waymouth worked on the ever-changing facades of the shop – with its Wildean motto of “one should either be a work of art or wear a work of art” – the duo soon got to work on their first collaborative piece.

The promotional poster commissioned by co-founder of the radical underground UFO Club, Joe Boyd, set the bar for the collective’s 18-month career. 

Boyd said of the duo: “At UFO, we wanted to follow the San Francisco example and create our own posters.

Save Earth Now
Save Earth Now, 1967
© Hapshash and the Coloured Coat
“Thanks to Nigel Waymouth and Michael English, I think its fair to say we surpassed the Californians. History has spoken”.

Their signature style not only delivered some of the most memorable pieces of 1960s art, but also launched an entirely new art market: the sale of commercial posters.

Kept privately for decades and rarely seen since their first creation in the late 1960s, works from Waymouth’s private collection play a major part in the retrospective.
As well as pieces from the Hapshash period and his designs for Granny Takes a Trip, the gallery will display Waymouth’s album covers, photographs, press clippings and magazines.

The gallery will also endeavour to recreate the psychedelic experience to the full, with poetry readings, light shows, DJ sets and live music.

To replicate how collectors took the original Hapshash posters, a special closing event invites visitors to take a reproduction print from the gallery wall.

“This was the most important creative time of my career as an artist," says Waymouth.

“We worked hard and played hard. We were young.”

More posters from the exhibition:

Granny Takes a Trip Poster
Granny Takes a Trip poster
© Hapshash and the Coloured Coat
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, 1967
© Hapshash and the Coloured Coat
The Who
The Who - I Can See For Miles
© Hapshash and the Coloured Coat
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