RIP Bill Ogden

Artist Bill Ogden recently passed away. Even if you don’t recognize the name, Ogden’s artwork almost certainly looks familiar to anyone who’s picked up a surf magazine in the past couple of decades.

Ogden’s background is every bit as colorful as his artwork. Ogden was involved with Laguna Beach’s notorious Brotherhood of Eternal Love, and it’s not hard to see the psychedelic influence in his paintings.

Ogden also designed the very cool logo for Mickey Munoz’s Positive Force Model for Hobie Surfboards.

RIP Bill Ogden — thanks for creating images that captured the endless beauty of the ocean in unique and captivating ways.

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  1. Terry Lamb says:

    R. I. P. B I L L O G D E N

    Aloha, Bill~~

    It is with a heavy heart to be spending this Christmas Eve knowing that you’re not still on Planet Earth

    Your stunning sense of Magical Color,
    your Arabesque swirling

    ‘Walt Disney meets Art Nouveau meets Tolkien in Laguna Canyon on Psychedelics Style’;
    Like our buddy Rick Griffin you are (were) truly “One of a Kind”.
    Even with the more Naturalistic, “Plein Air” seasoning.
    There is~(Was) Only One Bill Ogden.

    The other day Greg, an old Laguna friend of ours,
    said something about “Bill Ogden had passed”
    when I searched the Internet and saw “Bill Ogden Obituary”
    my heart sank.
    then I saw this was somebody’s funeral back in the midwest
    The person seemed older than you
    I breathed a sigh of relief; I thought you were okay.

    I even wrote you a letter yesterday or the night before
    kidding around, calling you “Wild Bill”
    because with your mustache and beard
    you kinda DO look like Wild Bill Hickok;
    I wrote to say if you to come to Hawaii
    you could stay at my place on the West Side.

    It’s 6:30 AM here and now I’m realizing that
    it WAS you in the Obituary~~

    I haven’t heard how you died yet; I hope it was peaceful.
    It wasn’t like you to be some Hell-raiser,
    overdose on drugs or be an Alcoholic (like me).
    You were quiet, reserved; you seemed to be painting more
    Productive. Good support. The Star!
    Not out in the Desert like a Recluse,

    Back in Laguna Beach, getting the attention
    and hopefully the financial support you deserve.

    Shoots!
    Damn it.
    It’s sad for anyone to GO.
    I wanted you to sign your Book that Craig Lockwood wrote about YOU, ya lucky…it’s no time to be jealous.
    I’m going to buy it after I finish this letter. For some reason they were Rare from the first printing.

    This letter is like a Eulogy~~We never hung out that much.
    I’ll just recount something I remembered just the other day.

    It must have been the late 70s. Rick Griffin, Bill Ogden (You) and I were smoking a joint~~it was around the time we started ‘Artists-at-Large’.with R.Crumb and Jim Evans.

    We were getting a good buzz.
    Rick said “Funny how our names are like our styles:
    I’m like a Griffin/ all sharp and talons.”
    “Ogden, you’re like an Egg; all round”
    “And Lamb is all Soft n Spiritual like a ‘Lamb.'”

    I remember the time when you were doing the big ‘Merlin’ painting for Michael Caldwell and you came over to the A-Frame on the cliffs above the Beach in Northern Malibu.
    I had some ‘shrooms so we split them.
    We just started painting free-form You took left and I the right side; 50-50-on the big canvas; you painted an old galleon-type Ship,
    I think I started half of a woman’s face and you started your half and eventually it grew into a Painting~~

    That was fun.
    I wonder where it is now?
    You’re in the Spirit World.
    Maybe Robin has it?

    It’s just a shame you’re gone.
    You were getting more productive, it seemed that you’d found a good rhythm and turning out some real Masterpieces!!!

    I better go get your Book before the Last Copy sells out.
    Jack Nicholson–I used to do all these Logos for his Movies so Robin and Suzanne could make those silk jackets for him to give to the Director, Actresses, just an elite few would get them. Or the Lakers when it was Three-peat.
    So Jack had a nice Art Collection–Warhol, a Picasso lithograph, whatever and I’d been doing his Logos for maybe $500 each and a jacket for 12 years.

    So I said, “Jack, why don’t you buy one of my paintings? I’ll give you a good deal! I just want to say that I’m in your Collection!”

    Jack had plenty of money. He was making millions for playing the Joker in the first ‘Batman’. $
    1000 wasn’t a big deal.
    He was one of the earliest investors in Viagra.

    Jack said “I don’t buy Art until you’re DEAD.”

    Well, now You, Bill~~ are DEAD.
    And it hasn’t sunken in quite yet for me.

    The Sun is shining outside.
    Some waves have been rolling in all night
    The Beach where I live is near Makaha.
    It would be a great day to do some ‘Plein-Air’ paintings.
    We could sit right here, crack open some cold beers and paint.

    It’s such a Gift to be able to do what you LOVE.

    I’m going to miss you. Just like Rick. Chalie White III.

    You are (were) one of the Greatest Artists I’ve ever met.

    You ARE Laguna Beach back in the Golden Days~

    Brooks Street,
    Mystic Arts,
    Sound Spectrum.
    The Brotherhood of Eternal Love.
    “Love Animals, Don’t Eat them”.
    Sawdust Festival
    Smoothie Queens.
    Jimi Hendrix. Laguna Canyon Festival.
    Timothy Leary.
    Bill Ogden.
    My eyes are starting to tear up.

    I better get some work done.
    To feel Blessed to do ART on this
    Beautiful Day in Hawaii.
    On this Christmas Day.

    Thinking of Jesus.
    Feeling very Thankful.
    To still be Alive.

    Say Aloha to Rick,
    Charlie III.
    John Lennon.
    Jimi. Morrison.
    My first roommate, Art Brewer.
    It’s Christmas.
    Aloha, ‘Wild Bill’~~
    the greatest Draw(er) in the West~~

    “Artists-at-Large”!
    Onward & Upward~~

    Terry