AN ICON FROM THE SIXTIES
by Bob Muson
I first published “Big Sur, Land of the Sun and the Moon” in 1961 as a silk-screened limited edition of 110 copies that were 16” wide by 21” tall. I printed this edition by hand in a large, one-room redwood cabin tucked away under a tall grove of redwood trees in Partington Canyon, 40 miles south of Monterey, California, on the Big Sur coast.
I moved into the cabin with my wife and 2 year old daughter in 1959. Big Sur hadn’t been “discovered” yet. The two lane winding highway that edged the coastline high above the Pacific Ocean was used mostly by local residents. Tourists were a rare sight. The Big Sur community, scattered as it was throughout the mountains and canyons, was very tight knit. Everyone knew everyone else, and we frequently got together for potlucks, birthdays and holidays. Many of us lived without electricity and telephones. We used propane gas for cooking and wood stoves for heating. It was a moment in time of exquisite freedom, the freedom that came with living in the peaceful majestic beauty of the Big Sur coast while it still brimmed with wildlife and untouched landscapes.
One day, my daughter asked me to buy her a coloring book. Given that I was a professional artist, I decided I would draw images for her to color that were alive in her everyday experience: images of our lifestyle and the creatures living around us, frogs, deer, wild boar, owls, fish, etc. She was delighted!
Soon her friends started asking for drawings to color. I promised I’d deliver a drawing to each of them weekly. So, once a week I drove up and down the coast slipping drawings into their mailboxes.
Finally, unable to keep up with their requests for drawings, I announced to the children that I would make an official Big Sur coloring book, and that would be that!
The images of people in the book are depictions of actual people who lived in Big Sur at that time. I included images of elephants, hippopotamuses and dragons at the children’s request. After all, what would a book for children be without them!
When the book was finished, I realized that I’d created a one-of-a-kind piece of folk art inspired by life in Big Sur during that time.
It was the early sixties, a unique moment in time, a time like no other. This book is an icon from that time.
Happy Days Press * www.BobMusonFineArt.com * 831-394-2602
Limited Edition 1961, First Printing 1976, Second Printing 2007, Third Printing 2014
Copyright 2014 by Bob Muson * All rights reserved * ISBN 978-1-935530-92-3
Printed in the USA by Community Printers in Santa Cruz, California