Film posters have become something of a cult art form in recent times, with places like Mondo and Printclub London releasing film-related screenprint editions and exhibitions. It’s easy to forget how important a role they had to play in the pre-digital era, as they had to capture not only people’s imaginations, but the entire vibe of the film in one single image. There was also the added pressure that the work created will forever be associated with that film.
It is Struzan’s ability to understand the subject matter and capture the mood of a film in his work that makes it so ‘iconic’ for me. His excellent draftsmanship, and life-like portraiture, coupled with his distinctive compositions, are what I think has allowed his work to reach beyond the commercial world of illustration – his work is exhibited in galleries and purchased by art collectors all over the world.
Struzan started out as a staff artist for Pacific Eye & Ear, a design studio based in California, where for fifteen years he painted iconic album covers such as Black Sabbath’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973) and Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare (1975). While his work was being circulated into the mainstream through his album covers, executives in the film industry began to take notice and he was soon being asked to work on film posters.