« back to article: Victor Moscoso

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“Although I went to the events, I didn’t think much of the posters,” Moscoso said.  “I saw a poster by Wes Wilson, where there is Paul Butterfield (being advertised) and I learned that Chet Helms had picked it out of the back of a magazine. It was originally from an ad for headaches.  There’s this guy and he’s got his hands over his head, ya know, sideview, as if he’s in pain.  It was very interesting lettering, and I saw it in the doorway of a coffeeshop.  That one caught my attention for graphic and design reasons.  I looked at it and I said, “hmm how crude, but interesting.” That was my response to Wes Wilson’s poster, which I forget, it is maybe number 5, I forget… So I went to Chet Helms.  I went down to the Avalon Ballroom, and showed him my portfolio - and I had an excellent, a real slick portfolio, and so I did Family Dog number 11.  That’s how I was going to become, or do a real good poster, ya know, and it stunk.  The reason it stunk was because I was trying to make the lettering legible, see, and for all the wrong reasons.  Which was what I was taught in school.  And um, I was crushed.  Here’s this guy, who is self taught, and he did a much better poster than I did.  That really bothered me.  And not only that, but within a couple of weeks (Stanley) Mouse and (Alton) Kelley, Mouse Studios, came out with the Zig Zag poster.  You know, the Zig Zag rolling posters, they made it into a poster with Big Brother (Janis Joplin) headlining and it knocked my socks off.  It was obvious to me that something was going on and I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t do another poster for about five months. I thought I was gonna miss the bus.”

The time off gave Moscoso the opportunity to sit back and watch a bourgeoning movement grow.

“Fortunately however, by looking at the work of Wes Wilson, Mouse and Kelley, and they were trucking, they really were you know… Each poster would be better than the previous poster.  The nice thing about the posters is you get it, it takes a couple of days to do it, and another couple of days to print it, and then its up and you can see it - and you’d get feedback.  The feedback then you can put into your next poster. I had never had a situation where I had gotten the job and the public would see it within a week.  That was very, very valuable.  Still, like I say, it took me five months till I did another poster, and that one was alright.  It was chickens on a unicycle. It’s alright, it wasn’t a total failure.”

Moscoso had a ways to go.

“It wasn’t what I wanted to do yet.  It wasn’t what Mouse, Kelley and Wes Wilson were doing.  Then I did another one with flowers on it that I got off of music sheets. Like in the old days before phonographs they sold sheet music and sheet music had covers on it… It was usually a couple of pages, and that was a little better.  But still, it did not please me very much, and then finally I did the Family Dog logo Indian with swirling eyes. He’s got eyeglasses on and the eyeglasses are swirling, red and blue.”