Thursday, September 1, 2011

Victor Moscoso

VICTOR MOSCOSO is one of the central figures of 1960s counterculture underground art revolution. Born 1936 in Oleiros Spain, Moscoso is an artist best known for producing psychedelic rock posters for the Fillmore and Avalon dance halls and hallucinatory artwork for Zap Comix in San Francisco during the 1960s and '70s.

Along with Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Wes Wilson and the late Rick Griffin, Moscoso holds a place in art history as one of "the big five" San Francisco psychedelic poster artists.

Moscoso was the first of the rock poster artists of the 1960s era with formal academic training and experience. After moving to Brooklyn and studying art at Cooper Union in New York City and at Yale University, he headed to San Francisco in 1959. There, he attended the San Francisco Art Institute, where he eventually became an instructor.

Moscoso's use of vibrating colors was influenced by painter Josef Albers, one of his teachers at Yale. He was the first of the rock poster artists to use photographic collage in many of his posters. He started finding his visual style when he began designing posters for the big ballrooms of San Francisco, advertising such bands as Big Brother & The Holding Company, The Grateful Dead and Steve Miller band. Moscoso's posters for the Family Dog dance-concerts at the Avalon Ballroom and his Neon Rose posters for the Matrix were to bring his work international attention in the so-called 1967 Summer of Love.

In 1968, he met Robert Crumb, who had published Zap #1 not long before. Crumb invited Moscoso and Griffin to join the Zap collective as one of the Zap Comix artists, Moscoso's work once again received international attention. Moscoso's comix and poster work has continued up to the present and includes album covers for musicians such as Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Herbie Hancock, and David Grisman. Moscoso also created art for use on t-shirts, billboards, animated commercials for radio stations (for which he received 2 Clio awards) and more.

Moscoso still lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"Sex, Rock & Optical Illusions", by Victor Moscoso, Pantagraphics, $34.95. To order books or posters or other art, go online at

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