If you were a groovy musician from the West Coast of America in the late 1960s and ’70s, chances are you called in the services of Victor Moscoso. The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, and The Doors all collaborated with the revolutionary Spanish-born artist, whose innovations in typography and graphics captured the psychedelic zeitgeist and would inspire generations of subsequent poster and album art practitioners.
Moscoso moved to Brooklyn in 1940 when he was four years old, but it is the “San Francisco look” with which he is most associated. Formal academic training in painting included a period of study under the modernist Josef Albers at Yale University in the late 1950s. His schooling prompted early forays into comics, with delineated layouts featuring surreal perspective and characters. Moscoso moved out west and became involved with the psychedelic rock music scene in the ’60s, producing posters for San Francisco gigs which, by 1967, used a unique and recognisable “vibrating” style using chromatically opposite colours and heavily stylised, hand-drawn typography emphasising negative space; the artist’s posters were also remarkable for their early use of collage and found imagery.
Robert Crumb invited Moscoso to join Zap Comix in ’67, beginning another hugely influential chapter in the artist’s professional life which would endure until the publication’s last hurrah in 2014. The exhibition Psychedelic Drawings 1967-1982 includes examples from both Moscoso’s great oeuvres, and is on show at Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, until 25 April.