Poster of the Week...

This week: TWELVE MONKEYS (1995)

Source: http://www.impawards.com/1995/twelve_monkeys_ver1.html

Designer: BLT & associates

Again simplicity has caught my eye, and been one of the main reasons behind my poster of the week. In a way this poster is not entirely effective as it doesn't convey much about the genre, story, characters, or idea of he film, however it is extremely intriguing. The scratched red illustration gives a gritty tone to the piece and the tilted, cracked title reinforces this. The tagline is brilliantly ambiguous. The clock-face image gives some insight into the time-traveling motif of the film.

Bill Gold...

Bill Gold is by no doubt one of the greatest film poster designers of all time. Gold has created posters across seven decades, many of them famous and iconic. It is hard to choose an era that houses his greatest pieces, right from Casablanca (1942) to Unforgiven (1992), so many of Gold’s posters stand out, however it seems the 1970’s contain the bulk of his best work.

During his 60-year career he worked with some of Hollywood's greatest filmmakers, including Clint Eastwood, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Elia Kazan, Ridley Scott, and many more. Among his most famous film posters are those for Casablanca, A Clockwork Orange, and The Sting. Furthermore, Bill Gold designed (and often photographed) posters for 35 consecutive Clint Eastwood films, from Dirty Harry (1971) to Mystic River (2004).

Bill Gold was born on January 3, 1921, in New York City. He studied illustration and design at Pratt Institute in New York. He began his professional design career in 1941, in the advertising department of Warner Bros. Bill Gold became head of poster design in 1947. In 1959 his brother Charlie joined him in the business and they formed BG Charles to do the film trailers. Charlie operated BG Charles in Los Angeles, while Bill operated in New York City. In 1987 Charlie left the business and retired to Vermont. Charlie Gold died on December 25, 2003 at the age of 75. Bill Gold lives in the New York region.

In 1962, Bill Gold created Bill Gold Advertising in New York City. In 1997 Bill moved the company to Stamford, CT. and continued his business, producing posters for every film Clint Eastwood produced, directed, and/or acted in, among others. In 1994 Bill was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Hollywood Reporter. Richard Benjamin was the MC for the ceremony at the Directors Guild, and Clint Eastwood presented the award to Bill Gold on behalf of The Hollywood Reporter.

Bill Gold is currently an active member of the Society of Illustrators, the Art Directors Club and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

All of Gold's posters have had a distinctive style. Each poster gave a film its unique identity, often creating the only lasting impression of a film that many would get. Gold's ever-changing style reflected a wide range of current tastes, trends, and approaches, yet never strayed from the tried-and-true basics of film promotion. Together, Bill Gold's poster art represents many of the most important American films since the advent of color photography. After his first film project Yankee Doodle Dandy, he collaborated with the American film industry's top film directors and film producers. Especially fruitful was Gold's relationship with the illustrator Bob Peak. Gold's work spanned seven decades and inspired numerous other designers.


Poster of the week...

This Week: CASABLANCA (1942)

Designer: Bill Gold

Source: http://www.impawards.com/1942/casablanca.html

I chose this piece because it's a great piece of artwork, a intricate sketch depicting the range of characters in the film. The image has a great sense of noir about it with the shadowy atmosphere it creates. I love the typography at the top of the poster: big bold surnames, and flowing first. The title is also a great typeface, stylistic of the era, the bright red, striking and bold in front of the sketches. The collection of images not only present the star power attraction, but also give hint towards the narrative of the film.


Reynold Brown...

Another artist from the 1950's, whose work I have looked at is Reynold Brown. He is noted for his poster artwork and has created a great number of pieces in the film industry. His realist artwork has been used in iconc sci-fi posters of the 50's, ('The Attack of the 5oft Woman' was my poster of the week a few days back), as well as some Hollywood blockbusters.


Reynold Brown was born in 1917 in Los Angeles. He drew continuously as a child and particularly liked telling stories by drawing, comic book style, for the neighborhood children. He got a well rounded art education in Alhambra High School in California under the stewardship of a World War I veteran and artist, Lester Bonar. His skills won him a scholarship to attend art school after graduation but due to the death of his father he had to begin working to care for his mother and two younger sisters.

About 1937, with the help of Bonar, he was able to get a job inking and then drawing the syndicated comic strip by Hal Forrest, "Tailspin Tommy." This strip told the story of a barnstorming pilot, Tailspin Tommy. Brown worked on the strip until 1941.

With the outbreak of World War II, Brown was able to use his aircraft rendering skills learned from working on Tailspin Tommy to land a job with North American Aviation in California. At first he did technical illustrations for service manuals. He soon devised what were to be called phantom drawings in which aircraft were drawn with a clear skin so that the internal structure of the aircraft was visible. Brown also listened to the stories of returning aviators and used these stories as the basis of a number of illustrations which appeared in the technical manuals, advertising, North American promotional literature and its in house publication, "Skyline."The phantom drawings also appeared in Popular Aviation and Flying Magazine.

In 1946, at war's end, Brown married Tejeda. They moved to New York so he could pursue a career in illustration. His illustrations appeared in magazines such as Boys' Life, Outdoor Life, Popular Science and Argosy. He also did some of the first paperback or pocketbook illustrations. His work appeared on the covers of books by Van Tilburg Clark, (The Ox Bow Incident), William Faulkner (Sanctuary) and Erle (SP) Stanley Gardner (Perry Mason mysteries).

Working first in Temple City and later La Verne, he continued to do illustration work. He also took a teaching position at Art Center College of Design. There he would teach figure and head drawing for 26 years. Among his many students were some of today's finest artists including sculptors Hollis Williford and Richard Mac Donald, painters Gordon Snidow and John Asaro, and Illustrators Robert Peak and Dru Struzan.

In 1951, while doing a show for Art Center, Brown met Misha Kallis, an Art Director for Universal Pictures. Brown soon completed his first movie poster for Universal, The World in His Arms, featuring Gregory Peck and Ann Blyth. That began a series of over 250 campaigns for Universal, MGM, Disney and American International Pictures (AIP). Brown's work was used to promote classics like Ben Hur and Spartacus, westerns such as The Alamo and Taza, Son of Cochise and drama, horror, monster and science fiction films. His science fiction works for such pieces as The Time Machine and This Island Earth, as well as his monsters like The Creature from the Black Lagoon have already become popular among collectors.

Brown's work featured many important stars including Elizabeth Taylor (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), John Wayne and Richard Widmark (The Alamo), Rod Steiger (Run of the Arrow, Al Capone), James Cagney (Man of a Thousand Faces), James Stewart (Shenandoah, The Rare Breed) and Fred MacMurray (Gun for a Coward).

While doing the movie posters Brown continued to do other illustration work for other media including a number of record jacket covers.

In the early seventies, Brown decided to take part in the developing market for fine art paintings on a western theme. Brown had always liked painting the west as a subject in his illustrations. He set aside illustration work, including poster art and concentrated on western paintings for the fine arts market. Brown's skills well developed through his many years of illustrating, made his work popular and he sold about 250 oil paintings. These covered not only the west; they included portraits, harbor scenes and landscapes. He also sold work in charcoal, pencil, pastel and watercolor.

Brown suffered a severe stroke in 1976. His left side was completely paralyzed. With the help of Mary Louise, he was able to retrain himself. Although unable to do the detailed and highly representational work of his pre-stroke years, he was none-the-less able to do produce some powerful drawings and beautiful landscape paintings of Nebraska, where he settled in 1983 and remained until his death in 1991.


Saul Bass...

The first artist I have chosen to research, is the one whose work I have found most interesting during this process: SAUL BASS.

Bass has a unique and interesting approach to design. His work really stands out from the crowd. He uses a great mix of shape and colour in his pieces, working jagged, black shapes, over bright backgrounds. The typography in his pieces is very similar, it has an awkward arty sense about it with its up-down alignment, bold shape, and use of capitals.


Born in the Bronx district of New York in 1920 to an emigré furrier and his wife, he was a creative child who drew constantly. Bass studied at the Art Students League in New York and Brooklyn College under Gyorgy Kepes, an Hungarian graphic designer who had worked with László Moholy-Nagy in 1930s Berlin and fled with him to the US. Kepes introduced Bass to Moholy’s Bauhaus style and to Russian Constructivism.

After apprenticeships with Manhattan design firms, Bass worked as a freelance graphic designer or "commercial artist" as they were called. Chafing at the creative constraints imposed on him in New York, he moved to Los Angeles in 1946. After freelancing, he opened his own studio in 1950 working mostly in advertising until Preminger invited him to design the poster for his 1954 movie, Carmen Jones. Impressed by the result, Preminger asked Bass to create the film’s title sequence too.

Now over-shadowed by Bass’ later work, Carmen Jones elicited commissions for titles for two 1955 movies: Robert Aldrich’s The Big Knife, and Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch. But it was his next Preminger project, The Man with the Golden Arm, which established Bass as the doyen of film title design.

Artist Profiles...

My research has been going well so far, I have some information for each decade, and a collection of great posters. My supervisor is pleased with what I have been up to, and made a great suggestion about how to move forward. The plan is to research into specific artists from each era also, and profile them. Then I can create a response specific to their work, rather than the work of a whole century, across different genres and styles.


Poster of the week...

This week: A Clockwork Orange

Designer: Bill Gold

Source: http://www.impawards.com/1971/clockwork_orange.html

This poster instantly conveys a dark feel to the film. I like the way the black and the sharp points draw your eye towards the center and Alex's sinister eyes. I believe it is a good composition, it flows nicely from top to bottom- the tagline, the image, the title.


Poster of the week...

This week: ATTACK OF THE 50ft WOMAN (1958)

Designer: Reynold Brown

Source: http://uk.movieposter.com/poster/b70-373/Attack_of_the_50_Foot_Woman.html

This is an iconic film poster of the late 50's. The artist, Reynold Brown, has a individual style which can be seen across a number of film posters that he has created. The design captures 50's sci-fi superbly, it is one of many creature features of the time. It is a detailed illustration bought out so well by the bold yellow background. I really like this piece as I feel it is a great representation of the artwork typical to the time and genre. This illustrative technique is not seen so often in film posters today, and hence the poster does not stand the test of time. It seems the piece mixes 1940's pinup with 1950's sci-fi, creating an all round intriguing (though slightly cheesy) poster.