Neil Passey was one of the most prolific artists in Salt Lake City from the late 1960s and ’70s. He created hundreds of music concert posters from Frank Zappa to The Doors, along with an enormous body of posters, ads and art for hip and counterculture establishments of the day.
Born in Ogden in 1950, Neil wrote and illustrated his first book Crusher The Whale at age six. He was a Sterling Scholar in art at Cypress High and attended the University of Utah and Utah State University. Neil was employed as an artist by the Salt Lake Tribune 1969-78 and as artist/art director for the Hansen Planetarium, 1978-85. He co-wrote and illustrated Utah, Gateway To Nevada! Neil subsequently relocated to California where he worked at the Griffith Observatory in L.A. He died in 1995.
Steve Jones, Cosmic Aeroplane founder, recollects this story of the image appearing on our cover: “‘Blue Lady’ was originally commissioned by Corky Ra, founder of Summum, around 1976. As I recall, the painting featured a bald woman and a spaceship hovering
over a pyramid on the horizon.
“But Corky and Neil had a falling-out, and the painting was never delivered. Passey altered the painting, giving the woman hair and transforming the spaceship into a little Greek Temple.” This is the version that appeared on the 1978 Cosmic Aeroplane calendar, of which 10,000 copies were distributed to customers and which you see on our cover.
A new version of this poster should be available by the winter solstice through Ken Sanders Rare Books.