A TRIBUTE TO DR. HUNTER S.THOMPSON
On the Road to Woody Creek
When the Baby Boomers emerged from the 1960s, they entered a New World with a belly full of hate, a bad case of heartburn and hemorrhoids. We had been lied to by Richard Nixon, outright deceived by Washington and raped by an endless line of corrupt politicians and greedy capitalists.
As we entered the 70s, along with us came a voice of dissent and reason. From the ashes of Woodstock and Haight-Ashbury came the words and wisdom of Hunter S. Thompson whose writing began to gather a nationwide fan base through the pages of Rolling Stone, and later in a series of modern literary classics ranging from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to The Great Shark Hunt.
Fueled by massive quantities of drugs and alcohol, Thompson delivered wisdom in buckets of poetic insanity with equal measures of mind-altered reason. But the Good Doctor not roam alone. He had many partners in crime through the years; the most notable an Englishman named Ralph Steadman who provided the visuals for Thompson’s twisted version of reality.
On the Road to Woody Creek
Binge, Binge, Binge 16 X 20
A Crime In Progress 20 X 30
Website Design by Ferne O'Quinn Photography by Don Burk
.Their collaboration began in 1970 when Steadman was asked to illustrate an article for Thompson called “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved,” which most now consider the official birth of Gonzo Journalism.
Like Jekyll and Hyde, the partnership between Thompson and Steadman became inexorably linked over the next 35 years.
While Thompson inspired a new way of thinking for a generation, Steadman’s role in the journey also inspired a form of art that found fertile soil in the underground artistic community. Among its many dedicated followers was a Florida artist named Chris Armstrong who gradually began incorporating Steadman’s radically different art style.
For the past decade, Armstrong has quietly been producing a comprehensive series of Gonzo Art. Outside of a few close friends and colleagues, Armstrong’s work has never been seen by the general public until now.
Although most die-hard followers of Gonzo could probably not afford one of Ralph Steadman’s originals or prints, the opposite is true of Armstrong’s underground Gonzo Gallery. The prints and originals you see on this page are destined to become collector’s items.
When Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide in 2005, news of his death spread like a timber fire down the Roaring Fork Valley. An entire generation of Americans mourned the end of the Steadman-Thompson Era.
But when the Associated Press reported that Thompson’s ashes would be launched from a giant cannon into the nighttime sky behind his home near Aspen, Colo., up the road from Thompson’s sanctuary in Woody Creek, thousands of fans began making plans to attend the historic event.
Those who made the sojourn to celebrate the Life and Times of an Original American Hero represented all stripes of the modern social fabric.
Former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern headed to Woody Creek, as did Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. Hollywood turned out, too; among the stars that night in Colorado were Johnny Depp, Sean Penn and Jack Nicholson. And from America’s Heartland came thousands of others, throngs of social misfits, bikers, old hippies and young yuppies — all headed to Woody Creek to pay homage to the Death of the American Dream.
Once upon a time on a hot summer day in 2005, the pilgrimage began.
With the gas pedal mashed hard against the firewall of a 1974 lime-green El Dorado Cadillac, Chris Armstrong and Matt Vincent headed west up I-70 toward Independence Pass … “On the Road to Woody Creek.”
And so a new chapter began. Enjoy the art!