I recognize the art: Images from classic movies. Poster art that manages to capture the essence of a story with both realism and an unidentifiable element of magic. I never thought much about who created this artwork. It just existed In a Wizard Of Oz, behind-the-curtain sort of way.
It never occurred to me that someone had once started from scratch. Someone had stared at a blank canvas, conceived of a concept, and with one stroke of a paintbrush, begun to create a movie poster by hand. And they did it with skilled mastery again and and again over years and years. Who was this person?
Then, I happened to see a documentary that raised the curtain and identified the creator of some of the most iconic movie poster images of all time. His name is Drew Struzan. The documentary?
It’s simply called: DREW The Man Behind The Poster.
The Man Behind The Poster delves into the mystery behind Drew Struzan. Like many most artists, he struggled in the beginning. And Drew got taken advantage of by at least one person who recognized that he had talent– well before Drew was making any kind of real money.
He persevered anyway and one day, someone asked Drew if he’d ever done movie poster art. Drew hadn’t. But he was willing to give it a shot. This led to him creating artwork for the likes of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, among many, many others. This also led to the creation of the poster images we all know from Star Wars and Indiana Jones and even Harry Potter.
Drew’s poster art doesn’t merely sell movies, it captures the magic of them, etches them into the collective consciousness.
He captures the likenesses of people so incredibly that his paintings look like photographs. Every line has a purpose. Every brush stroke creates meaning. He understands light and shadow and he’s able to recreate it in a way that no other artist I’ve seen can do.
It’s hard to truly appreciate art unless you see it in person. Recently, I was lucky enough to see some of Drew ‘s artwork on exhibit. I sensed it was a rare opportunity. In fact, I knew it was. The exhibit isn’t held in a traditional art gallery, but a gallery within a cemetery.
Thru late May, Forest Lawn (1712 S. Glendale Ave) in Glendale, CA is displaying an impressive number of Drew’s most famous works. The exhibit, Masters Of Movie Art also showcases the artwork of Bob Peak. Did I mention, it’s totally FREE!
This coming Saturday May 10, Forest Lawn is hosting a special event screening of the doc, DREW The Man Behind The Poster, with an appearance by Drew Struzan.
This event is also free, but an RSVP is required.
Call Forest Lawn (323-340-4792) for more information.
For more about the artist: