Robert Rodriguez fineartprintsca

The art and interests of Robert Rodriguez

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MASTERS OF THE ILLUSTRATED FILM POSTER at SDCC

Some say the art of the illustrated movie poster is dead. They maintain that most major studios would rather have soulless floating heads jumbled together in a quick photoshop job than anything strikingly different. Others would say the illustrated movie poster is having a renaissance. With licensed screen-printed alternate posters from independent outfits like Mondo and Bottleneck Gallery, the art of the handmade movie poster has been flourishing outside of the Hollywood machine.

At San Diego Comic Con this year, ASIFA–Hollywood (International Animated Film Association) and an all-star panel of famed illustrators from the last 50 years of entertainment art came together to discuss their craft from the past, present, and future.

The panelists included Steve Chorney (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?), Robert Rodriguez (The Jewel of the Nile, City Slickers 2), James Goodridge (Deadpool), Matthew Joseph Peak (Nightmare on Elm Street films), William Stout (Life of Brian), Paul Shipper (Avengers: Infinity War, Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Akiko Stehrenberger (The One I Love, Kiss of the Damned), Rory Kurtz (Baby Driver; I, Tonya), and Jason Edmiston (Evil Dead 2, Texas Chainsaw Massacre).

The panel began with the moderator, Stephen Kramer Glickman, asking the group what the art of illustrated movie poster means to them. Steve Chorney broke the ice with a simple answer: “We get paid to do it.” Chorney always wanted to be an artist, and once he had a job in the animation industry, he saw a poster John Alvin did for Blazing Saddles. “That made me think I should be doing this, and I moved in that direction,” he said.

Artist James Goodridge recounted how as a child he would remember images that stuck with him over the years, like seeing Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits album cover in a store. Years later he saw a poster for the first Star Wars movie that stood out to him. At the time he didn’t know both pieces of art were done by world famous artist Drew Struzan. When he looks back, he can see little points in his life that were pulling him in a certain direction. “This means something. This pulls at my heart,” he told the crowd.

No matter what got them into the industry, all the artists agreed that what they do is important to keep the art form alive. Some, like Akiko Stehrenberger, spoke of seeing something new every time she looked at a classic illustrated movie poster, something you don’t often get with a photoshopped image. The idea inspired her to hide Easter eggs in her own work, or even references to plot points that fans wouldn’t notice or even understand until they saw the film themselves.

The group also commiserated about dealing with studio notes. Robert Rodriguez brought up an amusing anecdote regarding last minute changes. While working on a poster for Jewel of the Nile he was asked to make significant alterations to the size of the character’s heads in the piece. He complained to the art director, who told him, “Every time they want to make a change, you smile and say, ‘Of course we can do that, no problem, that’s just another $500 or $1000 dollars.’ In the end the $10,000 job ended up being $39,000. It was good advice.”

Before the panel wrapped, each artist discussed where their ideas came from. Both Akiko Stehrenberger and Rory Kurtz said that they liked to watch the films they were working on for inspiration. Sometimes a single powerful frame or image would jump out and inspire the poster. Stephen Kramer Glickman concurred and pointed out that sometimes, if done well, a movie’s poster is the one thing people will remember about a movie—sometimes, even more so than the film itself.

Posters and cards for sale too!

STAR TREK

A few of us have been invited by ASIFA-Hollywood to sell our posters and trading cards at their table on Saturday from 12:00pm-1:00pm, and possibly longer.  Not sure right now the exact times.

But I searched through what I had that might be of interest to ComicCon visitors, and came of with some pretty cool stuff.  I have posters for Star Trek and for The Day the Earth Stood Still.  I also have trading cards for Generation X, X-Men.  And a few for Spiderman.  And I have several of the original paintings for the X-Men characters.  And at the last minute I found some posters I had forgotten I even had.  They are mini-posters for The Jewel of the Nile about 17.5″ wide.

The-Day-The-Earth-Stood-Still-Movie-1951-Science-Fiction-Poster

The Star Trek poster was a promotional poster (1991) showing Kirk and the crew on the bridge being shaken up by some terrible assault on the Enterprise.  The poster for The Day the Earth Stood Still was to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the 1951 film.  And they are both large posters, approximately 27″ x 41″.

This is going to be a kick.   Maybe see you there?

ComicCon 2019!

My son has gone to this for years, and now that he isn’t going anymore, I get invited!  Very exciting, and I am looking forward to what I’ve heard described as crazier than Mardi Gras.

I’ll be there as part of a panel discussion titled Masters of the Illustrated Poster on Friday July 19th from 1:00pm to 2:00pm.  It is being presented by ASIFA-Hollywood and Paul Shipper Studio in Room 23ABC.

ASIFA–Hollywood and famed illustrators who have worked on entertainment art for the last 50 years will discuss their craft and what inspired them to pick up the baton and follow in the footsteps of their mentors. Moderator Stephen Kramer Glickman (actor, Big Time Rush, The Night Time Show) is joined by panelists Steve Chorney (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Quigley Down Under), Robert Rodriguez (The Jewel of the Nile, City Slickers 2), James Goodridge (Deadpool, Book of Henry), Matthew Joseph Peak (Nightmare on Elm Street films), William Stout (Life of Brian, Wizards), Paul Shipper (Avengers: Infinity War, Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Akiko Stehrenberger (Kiss of the Damned, The One I Love), Rory Kurtz (Baby Driver; I, Tonya), and Jason Edmiston (Evil Dead 2, Texas Chainsaw Massacre).

Hope I might see some folks I know….be sure to say hi!1B994D10-C55E-4475-A219-2F8ECB96C059

MOUNT VERNON…CINCO DE MAYO

MAY5

Mine is the one on the left.

No, not that Mount Vernon.  The town in Iowa.  They asked a few months ago if they could use my art I did for Cinco de Mayo for their Chalk the Walk festival on May 5.  It is a way for the town to raise a little money, and kick off their festival season.  I was really honored that they picked a piece of mine.  Especially since they used a Norman Rockwell painting, “The Dugout” last year.  I liked being considered along with Rockwell!

In Mount Vernon, they block off the main intersection in town for one block each direction, and everybody gets to do chalk paintings on their own patch of the street.  But on the intersection, they grid it off and have people do a square of the chosen theme painting.  This year it was mine.

They sell the chalk for $10.00 a box, and have about 374 squares, so they only raise about $3740.00 with it.  So, obviously my art was donated.  But it was great to be a small part of their day, in a town I’ve never been to.  Now I’ll have to go visit someday.  Cute old main street.

A rainstorm came through in the middle of it all, but it didn’t seem to affect the chalk at all.  I wonder how they remove it when the festival is over?

They have a drone fly overhead at the end, and all attendees wave at the camera.  Of course you have kids and parents, and non-artists doing the work, but the end results are really interesting.  I hope they had as much fun doing it, as I did seeing the outcome.

MT. VERNON, IOWA

The intersection.

There are lots of videos at:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/chalkthewalk/videos/?ref=page_internal

and the website itself has tons of photos of the artists at work:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/chalkthewalk/photos/

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Rubbing your fingers raw.

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Overall view.

 

 

Oops, I Forgot One

VAllegory

This is an older painting that I put in the show.  This is also the one that got the Nominee Ribbon.  It is my William-Adolphe Rodriguezeau style.

Pictures At An Exhibition

CUMULUS | EGYPTIAN COTTON copy

They had to drag me, kicking and screaming, into Fine Art. I’m an illustrator, and except for a short deluded period in art school, that’s what I’ve always wanted to be. But all my friends have left illustration for fine art, and keep telling me how wonderful it is to create your own imagery. But see, I often have that with illustration anyway.

I figured I’d give it a try. It was fun, and I will do it again. I learned a lot about what has to be different next time. Like, I will need a more prestigious show, with people with more money, of course. I guess the question is, will the more prestigious show want me.

There is a thing in California, or maybe everywhere, I’m not exactly sure….but everyone seems to do landscapes and animals. Incredibly beautifully painted landscapes, by incredibly gifted artists. I think landscapes must sell well. But I really don’t want to paint pretty pictures. I have to look around more and pay attention to people who do more idiosyncratic work to see if there is a spot for me somewhere. I’m thinking of people like Kenton Nelson and Steve Huston. There are many others that are doing well with their own personal imagery. Steve has probably never painted a landscape in his life.

I love Eric Bowman’s work, and he does paint landscapes, but in such a personally distinctive way, that somehow it takes it out of the realm of painters that I am struggling to come to terms with right now. So, I am very confused, and searching for answers. This is all so new.

WAVES AND WAVES AND FABRIC

Since back in the beginning of my career, I’ve always enjoyed painting billowing fabric around figures. Very dramatic, and I love the reflected light, and the abstracted shapes. I painted cloaks, dresses, curtains, sheets blowing in the wind. I think I was inspired by N. C. Wyeth in that, and it evolved. So when it came time for this show, I thought to leave out the figures and just do the fabric. We went down to the beach at sunset and tossed bolts of fabric up in the air and shot away. Someone asked if we were doing a commercial for a fabric store.

RAVEN AND ROSES copy

I sold a painting I did during the Quick Draw, where you have to paint it in one hour. At $350, that was pretty decent. But I figure you’d have to paint several a day to make a living. I did win a nominee ribbon for Best in Show for my San Gabriel VAllegory painting I did a few years ago. There were five of those ribbons. But for my first fine art show, I was happy with that.

It was definitely an interesting experience, and it gave me a lot to think about. But for now, look for me in the Workbook, not American Artist.

BOTH SIDES NOW | OVER THE ARROYO

AS TIME GOES BY

POP ART OF THE OLD WEST

Wyeth_scaled

Pop Art:  Art based on modern popular culture and the mass media, especially as a critical or ironic comment on traditional fine art values.

When Andy Warhol painted his Campbell’s Tomato Soup can, and his Brillo boxes, it was obvious where the imagery came from.  He was taking common, everyday objects that were universally recognized, and by enlarging them, he made them into fine art.  He took utilitarian products and gave them value by enshrining them in art museums, and basically taking away their useful purpose.  I get it.

I went to the Masters of the West 2018, and in the case of one painting, I think I missed the point.  It is Billy Schenck’s large painting of The Wild Bunch which sold for $45,000.  But I don’t think the N. C. Wyeth painting that it is based on, is quite as iconic as Campbell Soup cans.  I doubt that most people who see the show will realize that he is mocking, or as the August 2014 article in Southwest Art Magazine describes it, he is taking “a stance…a pendulum between the romantic and irreverent.”  I would imagine that most people would think he had designed the piece himself.

But maybe not.  Maybe it is just way over my head.  His work is in renowned art museums, and in private and corporate collections.  He has had over 100 solo shows in the U.S. and Europe.  I guess all those people know what makes something ART.  But maybe not.

MAKING A CASE FOR REINCARNATION?

doppelganger.jpg

A friend sent me this photo of Bouguereau’s model for the painting “The Broken Pitcher” which was created back in 1891.  A dopppelganger effect going on here, over a period of something like 126 years I suppose?  I even saw myself on the Lloyd Thaxton Show back around 1968, when I knew I had never been on TV before.  Very odd feeling.

IT’S ALL A MATTER OF HOW YOU LOOK AT THINGS

SERENE AND PEACEFUL.jpgI’ve seen this photo over the years, and always assumed it was shot in the 1990’s, thinking that waterproof cameras were probably not around too much earlier. But today I discovered that it was taken in 1947 by a woman named Toni Frissell. She was well known in her time, as a photographer for Vogue, and other fashion magazines, but also as the first female sports photographer for Sports Illustrated. She was known for her sense of composition and design, which is obvious in every image I have seen of hers. Miss Frissell was also noted for portrait photos of society people. One of her personal favorites was a shot she took of Winston Churchill at Blenheim Palace.

She was such an interesting woman.

The first time I saw this particular photograph, I saw it upside down. Before I realized what I was looking at, my gut reaction was, “OUCH!!!”

OUCH!

PAUL ROGERS AND JAZZFEST

 

jazzfest-posterjazz-fest-posternew-orleans-jazz-and-heritage-festival-presented-by-shellnew-orleans-jazz-heritage-festival-690ba4f9f876562a.jpegPaul has done some of my all-time favorite JazzFest posters. The first one Paul did was of Wynton Marsalis playing his trumpet inside an old French Quarter house. We view this scene through the open window, with the shutters folded back. Not an easy image to pull off, but he did it, and he made it moody and exciting.

The second was Harry Connick Jr. at the piano of a French Quarter apartment, looking through the open door onto the courtyard balcony. His handling of the scene was reminiscent of Matisse. I never particularly liked Matisse, except for his paper cut-outs, but this was a pretty nice poster. Harry Connick must have liked it well enough because at Irene’s Cuisine Restaurant in the French Quarter, they have an autographed poster hanging in their bar, signed to the owner in thanks for all the wonderful meals. Harry Connick is right, Irene’s is one of my “can’t miss” places to eat.

And his latest poster was for the 2016 JazzFest. He depicted the entire Marsalis Family inside the windows of a old Garden District home. One in each room. My neighbor said that she hadn’t bought a JazzFest poster for ten years, but this one was so great, she had to have it.

I love Paul’s work, so it is no surprise that I like his JazzFest posters so much. But the fact that two of them show musicians playing inside buildings, from the outside looking in, and that he manages to make the images work, is fascinating to me. I think this is a very difficult design problem to pull off. He manages to take the focus off the architecture, and still have it create the mood of New Orleans, while allowing the musicians to hold their own in the composition. I’m impressed.

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