I count myself among a strange breed of pale thirtysomethings – over exposed to TV, horror films, video games and all those other bad things supposed to rot our brains – but specifically amazing film poster art. Born of the home video generation, with daily life coloured by films such as Blade Runner, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Gremlins, and The Goonies, my creative spirit could only be encouraged by the beautiful posters from artists like Drew Struzan, John Alvin and Bob Peak. A bold group of artists and illustrators who can claim a direct influence on my career choice in art and design. My own contribution to Mathew Chojnacki’s Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art from the Underground joins countless others who, like me, choose to celebrate this golden-age in poster art with our own unique creations.
The popularity of today’s digital downloads and social media places less importance on eye-catching and thoughtfully designed posters. DVD and Blu-Ray packaging has long been reduced to poorly conceived and indistinguishable Photoshop ‘designs’ that either try to ape past glories or wrongly assumes that the general public are brain-dead supermarket shoppers. Since the 90’s film advertising has been a steeply declining art form and Chojnacki’s book proves that if you deny a passionate group of people that which they crave, they will inevitably create their own, and thus a highly varied and thriving underground poster scene is born.
Collecting over 200 examples from more than 100 artists, Alternative Movie Posters offers a definitive look at a worldwide and eclectic scene that boasts styles ranging from the intricate hand-drawn pen and ink illustrations, to the paperback inspired photographic designs. There may be a surplus of Saul Bass inspired, minimalist vector designs on show (popular I suspect for its ease in execution), but whatever the artist’s approach it’s always full of affection, fun and a creative energy sadly lacking today’s professional marketing companies. Each artist offers notes on their work and describes the route into making their own posters, along with favorite films, artistic influences and prefered mediums. In summary, it’s an enjoyable and well presented look at a new branch of pop-culture and a must for film and illustration fans alike.