Now this is exciting! Masters of the Illustrated Film Poster...
With the current trend for 'secret' extra scenes, I imagine we have all sat through the credits to a recent movie.
“Starring…” Check. “Directed by…“ Check. “Executive Producer…” Check.
“Grip...” “Gaffer...” Haven’t got a clue.
“Best Boy...” “Focus Puller...” and “Python Wrangler...”… Nope. No idea.
Page after scrolling page. Everyone and anyone who has contributed to the film, in any small way. Even the team of accountants get a nod.
Ever seen “Movie Poster Artist” in there?
No, neither have we and that is a real shame.
It is about time that changed and these incredible designers and illustrators received the recognition and the credit they deserve.
So, we were excited to see that this year's San Diego Comic-Con (the most significant annual comic and pop culture festival in the world and celebrating its 50th year) includes a special panel entitled “Masters of the Illustrated Film Poster”. We reached out to Paul Shipper of Paul Shipper Studio to find out more…
Art of the Movies: Thanks so much for finding the time to have a chat about the panel. Why did you choose the Comic-Con to launch something like this?
Paul: My good friend David Derks, who works for ASIFA-Hollywood, pitched an idea which I thought was really good - to have film poster artists on stage talking about where they see the illustrated poster today, to discuss its journey, especially over the last 50 years, and, where it is going during the current resurgence.
Comic-Con is huge and has grown to be about more than just comics; it covers pop culture in general. Movie studios have been using it as a place to shout about their projects to a big audience and get people excited, so it makes sense to do something related to entertainment advertising there. Movies are about as pop-culture as you can get and comics are art books in their own right. Comic-Con combines art, comics and film rolled into one, so, it is ideal for us and also a great platform to talk to people and give some insight into what we do.
Art of the Movies: It is a fantastic opportunity to get to know the artists behind the posters we all know and love...
Paul: Knowing who is involved in the making of the movies has always been important to me. Seeing a movie poster for the first time was a way to get more knowledge about the upcoming film. The poster can tell you a lot about a movie - it gives you a certain feeling upon first look, an emotional response, explains the genre, mood and style and in an instant set up a certain anticipation.
I have always been very interested in knowing who created the poster artwork. It's important to many of us to see who is involved in the making of the movies we watch. The many talented people who help bring the movies to life are incredibly important components that total the film-making process, which also includes the advertising, the movie poster art. Every choice that is made moulds the film in the hopes of creating an everlasting piece of cinema. The poster art lives alongside the film, servicing it for a long time and often becoming an indelible image in association with the film itself.
This panel is a celebration of the illustrated movie poster and the people behind the poster, the artists that help make it happen.
Art of the Movies: And what a panel!
Paul: Thank you. I am very proud to be a part of this and to have assisted in bringing together some wonderful artists, some of whom have been working in the industry for decades. William Stout has mostly worked in film pre-production and concept art, effectively defining how films look and feel, but he has also contributed to many film poster campaigns, including "Monty Python's Life of Brian" and "Wizards". Robert' Bob' Rodriguez has created some fantastic poster art such as "The Jewel of the Nile" and "City Slickers 2".
Steve Chorney has been working on poster campaigns since the 1980s and recently illustrated the poster for "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood", Quentin Tarantino's latest film.
Some of the artists on the panel started working in film posters more recently. I first came across the art of Rory Kurtz with his poster for "Baby Driver".
Contacting all of the artists has been an absolute pleasure. Unfortunately, some couldn't make it this time around (maybe next year?), but that said, putting this panel together has been a wonderful experience. We all share a common passion. We're celebrating movie posters, and, bringing it to an audience that shares that passion at this year's Comic-Con.
Art of the Movies: It sounds like you treat each other as ‘a family’ rather than ‘competition’!
Paul: I agree, we all work in a relatively small field and would say we look at each other with mutual respect. Even though some of us may draw inspiration from similar sources, we all have our own style. Sometimes we will recommend each other. The panel will help show the person behind some of the artwork that people already know and love. Many poster artists are film fans, just like many film-makers. That love for the medium can add something special to poster design.
Art of the Movies: With so many fantastic artists passionate about the medium, it must be time for a new era of illustrated movie posters?
Paul: It certainly feels like the entertainment industry is beginning to embrace illustrated posters once again. I have always been of a mind that there's room for illustration in entertainment advertising, even when it became seldom used and I think people are beginning to relish it's value once again, which is wonderful.
Art of the Movies: So, it’s Comic-Con’s fiftieth anniversary and you have assembled a phenomenal panel. What do you hope to talk about?
Paul: The hope is we get to talk a little about the history of movie posters from the panellists' perspective, their experiences, what it's like working today, and where it might be going next? I am particularly interested in how the panellists see the future of advertising in the movies.
Art of the Movies: Do you think the industry appreciates how much the fans love an iconic illustrated poster? Do they make the most of it?
Paul: The poster is one of the critical elements for the promotion of a film. I think it gets utilised quite well. Sometimes the number of different posters for a film can be a little overwhelming, and a campaign can have over 20 different posters. I know that sometimes less is more. That said, there are often many demographics to be addressed - different countries, different cultures - it is crucial to reach a global audience for a lot of these projects, and understandably, a single poster image can't always speak to everyone globally; when it does - it is a sign of genuinely incredible visual communication.
Art of the Movies: Yes, I couldn't agree more. Some of us fans won’t be able to make it over to San Diego, will you be able to do something for us?
Paul: Yes, we are looking to record the panel with audio and perhaps video too. After the panel session, we may be doing a Podcast follow up with our panel host Stephen Glickman, where we can talk more about things following the one hour we have on stage.
If it goes well, maybe we will get the opportunity to do it again, perhaps we could do something similar in the UK too. I think film posters and entertainment advertising is an art form that deserves celebrating. It spoke to me as a child, which was far from just making me want to see a movie and still affects me to this very day. Perhaps this could be the start of something focused on celebrating the art of the movie poster annually.
Art of the Movies: That would be great. We’re sure there will be a big buzz around this first event.
Paul: I'm excited about it too, especially with everyone we have on board! As film poster artists, I believe we all share a passion. There is something extraordinary that comes about via the composition and finish of an illustrated movie poster in particular, which is what we are focusing on with this panel. It definitely has a kind of magic!
Our role as movie poster illustrators is about delivering that magic and making our clients happy. In the hope that when the public sees it, they will love it, and it will get them excited. It's that excitement that drives us to do the best we can.
It will be great to talk about it.
Art of the Movies: And we can’t wait to listen. Thanks Paul.
“Masters of the illustrated Film Poster” in conjunction with ASIFA Hollywood and the Paul Shipper Studio, is at 13:00 – 14:00 on Friday 19th July.
If you are planning to be at Comic-Con, don’t miss it.
For the rest of us, we’ll let you know when material is available on-line.
Adam and the Art of the Movies team