Spanish-American artist Victor Moscoso didn’t invent the psychedelic poster. By the time Moscoso entered the San Francisco underground scene in the 1960s, rock and roll music was already latching onto psychedelic visuals like lipstick on a special cigarette. However, Moscoso had something the other DIY Bay Area artists didn’t necessary have—serious professional training and a mind for money.
Moscoso studied art and photographic collage at Cooper Union, Yale and the San Francisco Art Institute, eventually becoming an instructor. He first began designing his soon-to-be iconic posters for the Avalon Ballroom in 1966, and then for the Matrix, a popular San Francisco nightclub. He started producing under his imprint, Neon Rose, to great success. After the Summer of Love hit in 1967, Moscoso gained an international reputation for his visual intensity and strategic use of optical illusions. His training in photographic collage and color theory comes through in vibrantly contrasting and overlapping images.
Moscoso (who, by the way, is still alive at the age of 81, and has his own website) later went on to work as a Zap Comix artist. He also sunk his feet deep into the advertising industry, and produced animated commercials and campaigns that eventually earned him two Clio awards. But in our opinion, his greatest artistic feat was back in San Francisco, in the later years of 1960. Back in those Bay Area nightclubs, making posters for the bands of the moment—that was Moscoso’s moment. Check out 25 of his best psychedelic posters from that era in the gallery above.
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Peacock Ball - 1967
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The Youngbloods, Siegel-Schwall Band — 1967
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Country Joe & The Fish, Sparrow, Kaleidoscope — 1967
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Blue Cheer, Lee Michaels, Clifton Chenier —1967
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Neon Rose #25: Joint Show — 1967
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Quicksilver Messenger Show, John Lee Hooker, The Steve Miller Blues Band — 1967
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Moby Grape, Canned Heat, Vanilla Fudge — 1967
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The Chambers Brothers, Iron Butterfly — 1967
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Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Steve Miller Blues Band, The Other Half — 1967
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God's Eye — 1967