Moctezuma: James Brown

Posted by Scott
It really doesn’t get much better than this poster by Tribal DDB Senior Art Director Sergio Moctezuma (Gigposters User: Moctezuma). I am having  a tough time figuring out whether the type on the face is done by hand or if there is some complex type on path / warping being done in illustrator.  Any ideas? Via FFFFOUND via Panopticist.

Seeing such talented artists spending most of their time working at massive corporate ad agencies always makes me wonder what could have been.  What if a guy like this had spent the past 10 years creating posters and honing his craft, what sort of incredible art would have been contributed to the medium?  That’s not to say people like Sergio aren’t contributing to our world doing what they do at the agencies, I just happen to enjoy this sort of work more so in my own selfish way I wish they spent more time on this sort of thing.

31 Comments Leave A Comment


Kelly says:

May 2, 2008 at 12:09 pm

It it a font. I think he did the basic type path and used the warping tool to push the letters around and squeeze them as he needed.
That’s what I would have done anyways.

I love this poster as I’m from Augusta, GA.. home of the Godfather of Soul Himself.


Andrew Hearst says:

May 2, 2008 at 2:03 pm

It’s my favorite poster ever. I corresponded a bit with Sergio via email and he confirmed that the type was all done with vectors in Illustrator.


Jillian Davis says:

May 2, 2008 at 3:40 pm

WOW.. for a second I thought you were going to say that you made this poster. I wouldn’t believe it anyhow.. You’re no where THIS good.


Bobby Ewing says:

May 8, 2008 at 9:00 am

I’ll tell ya – James Brown was just a huge talent and the music world changed when he 1st came on the scene and will never be the same since his death. One of the most memorable performances before he passed was the day he met Luciano Pavarotti. If you haven’t seen this, you can’t miss it – what an incredible performance!


Designer says:

May 8, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Silly comment about “what he could have been”…

I mean, the guy is at the top of the game, at a top agency working for great clients, getting paid very well, and managing to create fantastic work too.

That’s the holy grail for a serious designer.

Of course there is the art of it all, but rather than dribble over photoshop eyecandy as most young designers do, if you are a true designer then you will know that showing that you can design with purpose and with solid thinking, is the test of true creative ability.


Scott says:

May 8, 2008 at 2:40 pm

you’ve conveniently added the word “he” to my statement, giving it a totally different connotation. I didn’t ask what he could have been, I am sure he’s doing just fine. I asked what could have been, as in what work could have been produced. I know it’s a matter or preference, but I would rather see a poster of James Brown than a well executed ad for Pepsi with “purpose”. I get where you are coming from and it’s a valid point, but you seem to be making it to counter an argument I never made. Yes, working at a high level at a major ad agency is a huge accomplishment and the fulfillment of the dream of many designers, I just don’t happen to appreciate the fruits of this dream as much as the fruits of an artist creating art for the sake of art.


Designer says:

May 11, 2008 at 5:29 am

Fair enough, I did add ‘he’ and you did refer to the work rather than the person, however I did that because normally the work someone creates is more than often taken as a reflection on their talent by most people, so when you refer to what someone’s work could have been, you can understand why I would comment.

I then was trying to make comment that most people are not as design minded as others and can only appreciate eyecandy rather than knowing what would have gone really into creating something or the true value of the creative. If there work created ‘with purpose’ it refers to the thinking behind the work.

You mention for the sake of art – well if you think about it most of the greatest artists over past centuries, wether they be renaissance painters, or deconstructionists or impressionists or whatever, they all did indeed create visually stunning peices of art in one way or other, but they were never appreciated and treasured because of how they looked, they were praised for the inventiveness, or their wit, or the the artisits situation, or for the stories their works told, or the secrets they held.

So, I felt it important to point this out.

As for working for massive corporates, yes I agree that creativity can be stifled due to the nature of agencies, but then again it is this stifeling or limiting that often provides the perfect situation to create works of genius.
If you see corporates as today’s churches then you can see where the parallels comes in.

Who knows, perhaps one day it will be corporate deisgn that becomes the future’s art!?



Kirk Wicks says:

May 13, 2008 at 11:52 am

Anyone know where this poster can be purchased? Would love to see it on my wall.


Moctezuma says:

May 29, 2008 at 7:59 am

This is the response I got from Russell Tate.

Sorry you feel that way.
I hate to tread on the toes of a fellow designer.

The long and short of it is, somebody turned up asking for a James
Brown image drawn in a particular style and had a print out of your

I have a business to run and 3 kids to feed so I said I’d have a go
(even though it is not my regular style) and accepted the devils gold

As I mentioned I don’t anticipate doing any more of these style if
illustrations as they are very labour intensive.

I hope you can accept my explanation and that it may soothe some of
the anger you have towards me



Sundar says:

May 30, 2008 at 7:51 am

Image by Moctezuma is ace—I’d buy this if it were for sale. The copy by RT is nowhere near as good as the original


tasha says:

October 26, 2008 at 8:57 am

i’m trying to get information on the artist of this poster, was it scott hansen? i can’t find anything about him! help me! x.