A chance encounter led to a New Paltz student's dream job of creating works of art for the Grateful Dead and other rock and roll icons.

Peter Forsythe was attending SUNY New Paltz in the 1980s when his homemade Grateful Dead t-shirt changed the trajectory of his life forever. According to an interview with tetongravity.com, the young rock and roll fan began making his own concert shirts after attending a Dead show in high school. The shirts soon became so popular that Forsythe began creating them in his garage and selling them to other students.

With no formal training or knowledge of silk screen printing, Forsythe enrolled at SUNY New Paltz to realize the potential of his talent for graphic design. It was there that he began taking courses on printmaking and perfected his technique.

Peter Forsythe
Peter Forsythe

One fateful day while walking through the Village of New Paltz, Forsythe was stopped by someone who admired his shirt and just had to ask where he got it. It turns out, the man was the owner Not Fade Away, a local store with a contract to create T-Shirts for the Grateful Dead's concert tours. After finding out that Forsythe designed and created the shirt himself, the SUNY New Paltz student was hired on the spot.

Forsythe spent the next decade creating some of the most iconic t-shirt designs for the Grateful Dead. After Jerry Garcia's death, the artist formed his own company and began creating shirts for other artists. The Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, ACDC, The Black Crows, Levon Helm and The Band, Blues Traveler, Pink Floyd all have had shirts designed by Forsythe. But it's those legendary Grateful Dead shirts that he's been creating for over 30 years that continue to remain his most popular.

Peter Forsythe's shirts are on display at the Facebook page for his custom screen printing company, Wintermoon Studios in Accord.

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