01/10/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
The Art Of Drew Struzan by Drew Struzan and Davd J. Schow. pub: Titan Books. 160 page illustrated large hardback. Price: GBP24.99 (UK), $39.95 (US), $47.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-84856-619-4.
check out websites: www.titanbooks.com and www.drewstruzan.com
Unless you’re deeply into collecting movie posters then you probably won’t connect the name of Drew Struzan with them, mostly cos so few of them are signed but I bet over the past thirty years you’ve probably not only seen them but have them on the covers of the bought DVDs in your collection. Running through the list of films we have the likes of the Indiana Jones films, John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’, the ‘Back To The Future’ trilogy, the film version of ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’, the Harry Potter films, the recent ‘Star Wars’ trilogy, both ‘Hell Boy’ films, ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and the recent ‘Blade Runner’ DVD re-issue. Also included here are a stack of other films making a great total of forty. Each chapter has anything up to six pages. If you thought that artists do only one picture for a poster then this book will amaze you as Struzan shows a lot of the compositions he does before the final one is decided upon, often incorporating bits from all of them to get what is wanted.
Throughout the text, Struzan goes through his involvement in the film industry explaining how it used to be done with a handshake to a thirty-five page contract as to what was required. I loved the bit where he explains that it was contractual for the stars of some films to have equally sized heads in the advertising.
One thing his art does show is how good he is at getting likenesses of the casts so they are instantly recognisable, even in the early compositions. You can also see him wryly grinning that often for the body pose it might be him or people he knows because the cast wouldn’t be available to him which brings a whole new dimension to body double.
Sadly, Struzan has gone into retirement as the suits at the studios with no art background are failing to see the value of artists such as him and relying far too much on using computers to compose from stills from the films and thus wiping out his industry. When you consider that the likes of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Guillermo del Toro are ardent fans and own and display his originals, it’s a sad state of affairs when the value of the artist to create the key poster is being relegated out of existence. This is one book I really wish the people at the studios get, read and digest and realise just what they are ignoring. Like book covers that help us decide to sample the contents, the cinema poster does a similar thing to raising our expectations of the films we go and see. If the film does not live up to the poster then it’s clear just how strong the art was in the first place.
This is a magnificent art book that you will be delighted to own and even better, you’re seeing the art without its text copy. A real joy.
Art is © Copyright Drew Struzan 2010. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
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