Stanley "Mouse" Miller (born in 1940) is an American artist best known for his psychedelic art designs for 1960s rock concert posters, as well as Grateful Dead album cover art.
Along with artists Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso, and Wes Wilson, Mouse founded the Berkeley Bonaparte distribution agency in order to produce and sell psychedelic poster art. Mouse and Kelley also worked together from 1971 as lead artists of Mouse Studios and the Monster Company, which produced album cover art for the rock bands Journey and Grateful Dead and hot rod memorabilia respectively. Since 1983 Mouse has been a painter working in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area.
Stanley Miller was born in Fresno, California in 1940, but grew up in Detroit, Michigan where he was given the nickname "Mouse" in high school. Miller was expelled from Mackenzie High School for vandalism in 1956; he had mischievously repainted the facade at "The Box" - a popular teen hangout across the street from Mackenzie. "Stanley Mouse" completed his formal education at the Art School of The Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit.
By 1958 Mouse had become fascinated by the "Weirdo Hot Rod Art" movement that had begun in California a decade earlier. Having developed skills using an airbrush he began producing art t-shirts at custom car shows. There he met and worked with Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. Mouse was also particularly influenced by the art of Rick Griffin, with whom he would later collaborate on posters and album covers. In 1959 Mouse and his family founded Mouse Studios, a mail-order company, which sold his products.
In 1965 Mouse traveled to San Francisco, California with a group of art school friends. Settling initially in Oakland, Mouse met Alton Kelley. Kelley, a self-taught artist, had recently arrived from Virginia City, Nevada, where he had joined a group of hippies who called themselves the Red Dog Saloon gang. Upon arrival in San Francisco Kelley and other veterans of the gang renamed themselves The Family Dog, and began producing rock music dances. In 1966, when Chet Helms assumed leadership of the group and began promoting the dances at the Avalon Ballroom, Mouse and Kelley began working together to produce posters for the events. Later the pair also produced posters for promoter Bill Graham and for other events in the psychedelic community.
The psychedelic posters Mouse and Kelley produced were heavily influenced by Art Nouveau graphics, particularly the work of Alfons Mucha. Material associated with psychedelics, such as Zig-Zag rolling papers, were also referenced. Producing posters advertising for such musical groups as Big Brother and the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Grateful Dead led to meeting the musicians and making contacts that were later to prove fruitful.
In 1968 Helms and Graham began turning to other artists for their poster work, and Mouse's career languished. After brief periods in London, Massachusetts, and Canada, Mouse returned to California to live in Marin County near Kelley. The pair resumed their partnership in 1971, producing commercial artwork related to the San Francisco Bay area band, Grateful Dead and later the rock band Journey. The pair are credited with creating the skeleton and roses image that became the Grateful Dead's archetypal iconography and Journey's wings and beetles on covers from 1977 to 1980. Mouse and Kelley continued to work together on rock memorabilia until 1980.
Mouse continued to produce album cover art and other music-related graphics through the 1980s. However early in the decade he moved to New Mexico where he began producing fine art in a variety of media. In 1993 Mouse required a liver transplant, which the Grateful Dead raised money to pay for. Stanley Mouse now lives in Sonoma where he continues to paint.