« back to article: Victor Moscoso

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I own the poster he was describing, but it is not in the Tweed show as it is in somewhat poor condition.  A young hippie wrote in pencil at the bottom of mine the Beatle’s lyrics, “Help, I need somebody.”

“That is what I consider my first successful psychedelic poster,” Moscoso said. “At this point now, ya know, I’m in the ballgame.  I got a lot of feedback on that one. Which was good because it coincided with how I felt about it, so I knew I was on the right track.  Pretty soon after that I started my own poster company so I wouldn’t have to be dependent on Chet Helms or Bill Graham, a fellow Brooklynite, who I knew was a crook.  An asshole, but he liked my work.  He liked my work, but he didn’t give me any royalties and he only gave you $50 bucks. I figured hell, at least I was getting royalties from the Avalon.  So I just kept doing Avalon posters and my Neon Rose posters, which I did at one point, and I was doing two or three posters a week in the winter/spring of 1966 - 67’.”

I told Moscoso I admired that piece.

“Thank you, so here I’m really getting it.  The reason I got it was pretty simple, I realized that since the other guys didn’t go to art school, Mouse had gone to art school, but fortunately it didn’t screw him up.  I was a good student. So I learned all my lessons well.  And all the lessons that I learned in school, like lettering should always be legible, do not use vibrating colors they’re irritating to the eyes, ya know, and stuff like that, was wrong. It was absolutely wrong for these kind of posters.  So by reversing everything that I had learned in school, I got it. So on the Big Brother one I’m using a variation of playbill, but I still have to develop my own lettering style. For my next poster, “The Dance of the Five Moons,” I used a lettering I got from a shoe ad called “Smoke.”  I’ve seen it in typebooks now that they have, but they call it “Moscoso Psychedelic.”  I just copied something and now I get credit for it,” Moscoso said.

The Sparrow was featured in a few of Moscoso’s posters on display in the exhibit at the Tweed.  They are much better known by another name that came shortly after those shows.

“The Sparrow became Steppenwolf,” Moscoso said.  “I wish it said Steppenwolf then because people don’t know that.  That’s John Kay’s group, he was the leader of the band.  He then changed it to Steppenwolf, signed a recording contract, and came out with some of the best music of that time, you know.  To come out of the area, you know.”

One poster not in the Tweed show by Moscoso that features The Doors and Sparrow had an unplanned visual effect occur when he was told that it flew.