Tom Wilkes was an art director, album cover designer, and photographer who blazed a graphic trail throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s, creating high concept visual statements that have become iconic cultural artifacts. A graduate of Art Center, he got his start pinstriping hot rods and motorcycles in the 50s before opening his own design studio in Long Beach and moving into record company work with an album for The Coasters. His coversinclude “Flowers” and “Beggars’ Banquet” for the Stones, the stairwell albums for the Beatles, “All Things Must Pass” and “Living In The Material World” for George Harrison, “Harvest” and “Decade” for Neil Young, the whiteface album for Ike & Tina Turner, and many, many more.
In 1967, as art director for the Monterey Pop Festival, Tom was given a painting by The Beatles, a work that has since become known as “The Dead Sea Scroll Of Rock And Roll.” In the late-70s, he became friends with John and Toni Lilly who introduced him to the concept of dolphin intelligence. After several profound encounters, Tom created Project Interspeak and spent the rest of his life trying to mount a global concert on behalf of the dolphin nation…with the Beatles’ artwork a possible funding source.
He lived a highly adventurous life filled with wild times and beautiful women, and is celebrated in the memory of those who knew him as one of the great rebellious spirits, and artists, of his time.