Born in San Francisco, Tuten moved with his family to Los Angeles and grew into a rebellious teenager coming of age in the late fifties. Like Griffin, he was a self-taught artist who was into surfing and cartooning. In junior high, he could be found seated in the back of the room decorating classmates’ notebooks. The art teachers,who recognized his talent, cut deals with the other departments to give him passing grades in exchange for doing art work for their classrooms. While attending Los Angeles Valley Junior College, Tuten worked for the art department and regularly cut other classes in favor of hanging art exhibits in the college gallery.
In 1966,Tuten made a habit of hitchhiking back and forth between Los Angeles and San Francisco, soaking up everything that was happening musically at the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore Auditorium. Dropping acid became a highway ritual. “I literally road tested the stuff after I picked it up in San Francisco. Hitchhiking back to LA in the middle of the night, I’d encounter all kinds of animals – bears, owls, wolverines, cows. At the time I wasn’t sure if they were real or imagined. All I know is they were definitely amongst me.” During these visits to San Francisco, Tuten remembers catching a glimpse of Mouse and Kelley’s posters. “That’s what brought me to San Francisco for keeps.” He reveals that it was the posters of Mouse, Kelley and Griffin that fueled his imagination and influenced his approach. “I liked Mouse and Kelley’s posters because they were so friendly to the eye. But Griffin influenced me the most. Griffin still influences me.” Tuten madethe move to San Francisco in January 1967, making ends meet by freelancing as a graphic designer, until he got his break with Bill Graham in 1969.
Carol Thayer Smith says
Randy Tuten, I hope you are well.
An amazing artist I was priveleged to know.
Peter Linn says
Do you remember my brother, Ted linn?
Judy Cantu says
Randy this is Judy Cantu wanting to know how you are doing you can call at 415 240 xxxx it’s been a few decades I found a poster 2015 Kelly and Mouse made of city hall I work near there seeing mouse Signature with little mouse made me think of you over the years thought of you time to time but we lost touch a years ago