How did the Griffin Moscoso Collaborations come about?

There were many Griffin Moscoso collaborations.  Victor Moscoso ran into Rick Griffin for the first time in the Spring of 1967.  He saw what looked like “Jesus Christ with a portfolio in his lap” at The Family Dog offices where he was picking up a check that day.   Their first meeting was magical.

Griffin Moscoso Collaborations
1st Griffin Moscoso Collaborations

Griffin had come over to Moscoso’s house with a layout of lettering around an oval shape.  he needed collaboration on what would go inside the oval and how to finish the piece.  Moscoso traced and used Griffins face in the oval shape, but his features are made of butterflies, peacocks and stars.

Interesting footnote here: Rick Griffin’s lettering on this poster was a gag. It says absolutely nothing!  Most poster art lettering was intentionally made hard to read (thru creative graphic effects) in order to keep the viewers attention.  This was a main stay of Griffin Moscoso collaborations as well as other psychedelic poster artists.  You know, the harder to read…the better!  So, as a spoof Griffin did the poster you could never read – because there was nothing to read!  That was the poster for a Chuck Berry Concert at The Fillmore West Ballroom

griffin moscoso collaborations - iron butterfly
Iron Butterfly

According to Moscoso, he and Rick Griffin worked on six posters together and they were all good.  (I do not doubt that with the caliber of talent here).  They would do them all at the same time and the same place.  Many Griffin Moscoso collaborations would consist of  what they called “jams”.  This was taken from “jam sessions” where musicians trade licks with other musicians.  This seems to have been a very rewarding and fun partnership.  “Neither Rick nor I ever did anything that we didn’t want to do” – VM.

They often would be able to solve each others problems.  Working with complicated graphic processes with the printer (at least to this author), one of them would come up with something perfect to  complete the others creation.  “Not only is it a perfect solution, but it’s a surprise, because it’s coming from another mind.” says Moscoso.

I say it again, the Griffin Moscoso collaborations were phenominal. they carried this union  on into their work at Zap Comix.  But, I want to explore some of the creative process on their individual posters and also their work at Zap Comix…maybe in another post on underground cartoonist R. Crumb.






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