Ian McCausland - An Introduction
by Ian McFarlane (Author of The Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop - Allen & Unwin Publishers, 1999)
The best graphic designers and illustrators present a unique and easily recognisable style. Melbourne-based illustrator Ian McCausland is one such individual. His illustrations and designs for albums by Little River Band, the Aztecs, Spectrum, Daddy Cool, Chain, Skyhooks, Company Caine, Matt Taylor and Carson plus his work as Art Director for the Mushroom label (in particular the triple LP gatefold release of The Great Australian Rock Festival Sunbury 1973) kept him at the forefront of the Australian rock music industry throughout the 1970s. In the days of the LP sleeve, essentially he was the designer of choice when you wanted a quality product.
It was that talent which the Rolling Stones were also able to tap into. Ian had been designing posters for local bands and gigs since the late 1960s, and when the Stones announced an Australian tour for early 1973, promoter Paul Dainty commissioned him to do the poster. The iconic image of a jet airplane winging its way into the open lips and massive tongue of the famous Rolling Stones logo over a stylised relief map of Australia captured the sense of the tour's importance with absolute perfection. Dainty, the Stones' manager Peter Rudge and their stage designer Chip Monck were impressed, immediately asking Ian to do one for the New Zealand leg of the tour. The Australian tour poster is Ian's most important claim to international fame and original copies are among the most sought-after items by Stones fans and rock'n'roll memorabilia collectors alike.
Ian may have rubbed shoulders with rock'n'roll royalty, yet he remains one of life's gentlemen and a true music fan. His career started in the early 1960s when he sang with Melbourne groups the Strangers and Little Gulliver & the Children (for whom he also played guitar). He was also a back-up vocalist and featured artist on Melbourne TV pop series The Go! Show. All the same, design and illustration were his forte and he applied his music knowledge to his role as Art Director for seminal music paper Go-Set. He actually won a Who/Small Faces poster competition in order to get the gig. Subsequently, his work for early '70s underground papers Digger and Planet (in addition to his famous series of dope comix) led to his role as Art Director at Mushroom.
Ian is quoted in Under the Covers: "I was very influenced by San Francisco's psychedelic Fillmore posters, Robert Crumb, and Kelly of Mouse Studios". Ian's work retains that same timeless sense of rock history, of capturing the essence of the performer's music in his imagery and style. This is Ian McCausland's life's pursuit - embrace it as part of Australia's rock'n'roll heritage.
Grants & Awards
Exhibitions & Festivals
2002 Home Grown Exhibit
1972 - The Wild & Woolley Comix Book edited by Pat Woolley
1989 - Design World Number 17 1989
1998 - Under The Covers by Ed. Nimmervoll
2005 - Plastered by Murray Walding
2010 - The Mushroom Music Song Book
2013 - Music, Melbourne + Me by RMIT gallery and Mushroom Group
2018 - Daddy, Who? by Craig Horne