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Dottie (Dottie H. Simmons)
Nationality: 
american
Gender: 
Female
Birth Date: 
1951
Birth Place: 
Kingston, Pa.
A distinctive poster featuring Alice in Wonderland was designed by teenaged artist named Dottie for an Avalon Ballroom rock concert during San Francisco’s psychedelic concert poster era. The artist, Dorothy Hochberg, was born in 1951 in Kingston, Pa. She probably inherited her artistic talent from her mother, an amateur artist who had once worked as a technical illustrator. The family moved to California around 1963, settling in Palo Alto. Hochberg went to Palo Alto High School, graduating with the class of 1969. While in school, she took drawing classes and frequently designed posters and other graphic works for friends from the Peninsula, San Francisco and Marin County. She aspired to be an illustrator of children’s books and admired the illustrations created by such artists as Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) and Sir John Tenniel (1820-1914). The latter is best known as the illustrator of Lewis Carroll's (Charles Dodgson, 1832-1898) "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland” (1865) and "Through The Looking Glass" (1872). From about age fifteen Hochberg hung out at the Avalon Ballroom on weekends where Chet Helms (1942-2005) and the Family Dog organization put on rock concerts She ran errands, helped at the concerts and got to know Helms. In an interview she recalled creating a portrait of Helms and giving it to him. In 1968 Helms asked her to do the design for a poster, which she did using the images of Alice watching The Griffin dance that had been created by Tenniel for “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Helms like the design and asked her to use it on a poster for a July 1968 concert featuring the bands Iron Butterfly and The Collectors (FD-126). At sixteen she was probably the youngest artist to create a poster for Helms. During this time she also became friends with the author Richard Brautigan (1935-1984). By 1969 Hochberg had moved to Humboldt County in Northern California as part of the “back to the land” movement. She was married to Gene Godard for about four years. In the early 1970s she met and married Dennis Simmons. They eventually settled on a homestead near Dinsmore, where they grew and preserved most of their own food, raised livestock, spun yarn for clothing, and lived off the grid. She published articles on “how to homestead” and food preservation. In 1979 Dottie started a soap company, Simmons Natural Bodycare, which she and Dennis ran profitably for several decades. She earned an Associate of Science degree in Graphic Communications in 1995 from College of the Redwoods. Having sold their soap company in 2015, the Simmonses still live on their homestead, growing and preserving their own food, while Dottie volunteers as a dispatcher for a local ambulance service. (TNB 2/2017) Selected bibliography: King, Eric. The Collector’s Guide to Psychedelic Rock Concert Posters, Postcards and Handbills 1966-1973. 10th ed., p. 176. Berkeley: Eric King, 2011. Stansberry, Linda. “Best of Staff Picks: Dottie Simmons,” North Coast Journal, 2016, http://www.northcoastjournal.com/humboldt/best-of-staff-picks/BestOf?oid=3937324