“Unbelievable, inspiring, grounding, and very exciting.”
That’s how artist Roy Henry Vickers described the experience of creating cover art for some of the Grateful Dead’s newest collections.
The 72-year-old from Hazelton said he has been working as an artist for 44 years. For the past year-and-a-half he has been collaborating with Rhino Records on the album covers for the rock band.
“My biographer, [Robert (Lucky) Budd], is an archivist; he used to work for the B.C. Provincial Museum, and his buddy is the archivist for The Grateful Dead. So when I met him the idea began to form, and I suppose that’s how I got to be the artist,” he said.
“I used the electronic medium. I draw in a Macromedia freehand program on my computer, so all of the images are drawn by hand on the computer. Those images then were sent off to Rhino Records, and we’ve been doing this back and forth for almost a year-and-a-half.”
“It’s been very difficult. I’ve had to sit on this for a year and not say anything to anybody, so I’m glad the press release is out and I can start talking about this,” Vickers confessed.
To purchase the collections, he recommends visiting the band’s official website at dead.net.
Vickers is now continuing work on some of his other projects. He said he is currently working on “the biggest project of [his] life”.
“If you go to [the ‘Hosumdas – Documentary Project’ page on Facebook] you will see the story unfolding of this massive totem that I’m doing. It’s being done very traditionally in that I am paying and working with other carvers to get this totem done, and then giving it to my family. It’s one of those traditional pieces that people don’t get to do very often.”
He also said he and biographer Robert (Lucky) Budd are working on a set of books featuring “stories from the Skeena River and the north country”.
“There’s always something going,” he said.
To view some of his recent artwork, visit royhenryvickers.com, or stop by the Roy Henry Vickers Gallery next the time you’re in Tofino.
“I would just like to say to any of the artists out there that talent is wonderful,” Vickers added, “but without hard work talent is just talent. It just sits there. What you can do with creativity is just work hard, and the harder you work the better things are.”