This week on the brand new episode of our design podcast The Poster Boys, Brandon and I discuss the work of one of our very favorite poster artists, German designer Hans Hillmann. I first posted some of Hillmann's posters a while back (see those here), and this week we've been loading up the Poster Boys site with all of our favorite Hillmann designs (see those here). But here I wanted to post a few of Hillmann's early posters, where he enjoyed rendering his subjects in black painted illustrations on bold colorful backgrounds-- a trick for cost saving during the silkscreen process back in the early days working with film distributor Neue Filmkunst. Later, his work evolved to display a masterful mixture and back-and-forth between illustrative and photographic styles; Look for another post of more of my favorite designs this week.
In catching up on blog updates, I realized I hadn't yet announced the start of my new design podcast with my colleague Brandon Schaefer, The Poster Boys. We're four episodes into a series of long and casual conversations about important poster artists, designers, and movements in graphic design history. The hub for The Poster Boys is our Tumblr page, theposterboys.tumblr.com, where we attempt to solve the problem of making a visual topic aurally stimulating by showing you the images and posters we're talking about, all in one tidy and chronological spot. Check it out and follow us.
Posters by Brandon Schaefer
As Brandon and I both design movie posters, our conversations naturally veer into this area as we discuss the challenges and rewards of working in that particular industry. Brandon and I met designing movie posters online for fun and have remained friends since as we both moved into the world of professional design. You can see his great work at seekandspeak.com.
Our first topic was an obvious choice: Saul Bass, legendary designer of movie posters, title sequences, and short films. Such a towering figure of design that we had to take two full episodes to stretch out the conversation (hear Part One here, and Part Two here). We discuss his work with logos and corporate branding, his film icons and posters, his industrial films, his artistic collaborators, and his philosophy about what makes good design.
Episode Three looked at a different kind of movie poster legend: painter Drew Struzan. Anyone of my generation knows Struzan's work from a variety of 80's and 90's adventure posters that adorned the theater halls of their childhood, including his iconic work on the Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars films (we saved Star Wars for a special "galaxy far far away" episode coming later this year).
In Episode Four, we switched gears to less of a household name, but one that we hope will be known by all budding designers: Bob Gill. Gill outlines a concise, refreshing, and potentially game-changing philosophy of design problem solving in his various books and talks, and we celebrate his rules and vocabulary in this episode. Each episode we also open up "The Flat File" to look at the posters for a particular film that were produced by different designers and artists around the world for various purposes, and here we have a particularly interesting and sobering example of the artist's eternal struggle with the marketing machine.
Which brings us to Episode Five, coming later this month, on the Polish Poster School. It's a mammoth topic, and I'm sure we'll only just scratch the surface of this influential movement in design, where Polish artists and designers of the 40's and 50's worked through the post-war social realist era and gave birth to an entirely new and daring language of film poster design. I'll be sure to post again when this episode is up, and you can click around on my blog here (or use the Categories section on the right) to find a whole slew of Polish poster posts.
To keep up with what we're doing, subscribe here on iTunes, and if you can, leave a rating and/or review to help us reach a wider audience. And keep your browser aimed at theposterboys.tumblr.com where you can listen to episodes and view all relevant and related visual materials for the episodes. We're also on Twitter at @PosterBoysShow and on Facebook as well. Have a listen, stay in touch, and let us know what you think.
An art book devoted to the pages of Polish magazine Ty i Ja would make for an interesting look at Polish culture in the 60's, and a companion to the newfound micro-academia surrounding the poster art of the Polish poster school. Founded in 1959, the monthly magazine celebrated all facets of culture from poetry and literature to theatre and film. Legendary poster designers like Roman Cieslewicz and Eryk Lipinski contributed cover and interior designs regularly, and Cieslewicz served as art director there for its first three years.
This month, my new design podcast with Brandon Schaefer, The Poster Boys, will dig into the art and politics of the Polish poster school. Until we record, I'm basking in as much research as possible, and couldn't forget to share these Ty i Ja covers, several of which come respectfully from Savanah Design.
Pictogram also shows off a remarkable collection of advertisements from Ty i Ja here that are must-sees.
While I'm at it, I'll go ahead and collect here all of my other posts on Polish graphic design. Check them out if interested:
I'm very proud to share the art and announcement of Joe Pisapia's new record Nightvision, the follow-up to the Nashville producer/songwriter/musician's 2000 record Daydreams. I co-produced the album with Joe and will also be playing with the Pisapia band every Thursday evening this month at the Pisapia Love-In. Beginning March 19th, CDs will be available at the Love-In through joepisapia.bandcamp.com, where you can also stream, download, and pay what you want for the album. There you will also find three singles Joe has released from Nightvision.
Nashvillians know Joe as the bandleader of Joe, Marc's Brother; others know him as the producer and collaborator for Guster, k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang, and Ben Folds Five. Joe's music has always meant so much to me, and it was an honor to collaborate on this project which I believe is the culmination of his musical life and work thus far. Have a listen to the singles and please enjoy Nightvision from this March 19th!
UPDATE: This is now available as a signed and numbered 24x36", 10 color screenprint produced by Burlesque of North America. Wow! For sale now at Posteritati.
Also: Japanese magazine Gigan featured the poster and a short interview with me about the design, which you can check out here.
Nashville music lovers: The Pisapia Love-In continues each Thursday in March at the 5 Spot. Featuring the music of Joe Pisapia and Joe, Marc's Brother. In addition to providing the poster art, I'll be playing some percussion and singing in the Pisapia band which features some of the town's finest musicians. As part of the residency, Joe will release his new solo record "Nightvision" on Thursday March 19th (see the link for more on the album and its artwork). Come on out and feel the love vibration.
Some of my first poster designs were created for the halls of USN, my former high school. 15 years later things have come full circle and I'm back on their walls again with this poster for USN Movie Night, an evening of alumni film work. 18x24" limited edition screenprints will be available at this event at the Belcourt Theatre (rescheduled for April 21st). It's always a pleasure to be part of the USN family, and I thank them for this fun opportunity to celebrate their 100th birthday!
Copies of my DVD package design for LOW DOWN just came in. I did a one-sheet for Oscilloscope Laboratories last year, and got to play around with a more jazz-inspired look for this release. Check out this beautiful film about pianist Joe Albany if you have the chance.
Founding member of Tangerine Dream, Edgar Froese, passed away this week. As a lover of ambient and electronic music, I have spent some time over the past few years digging through the vast Tangerine Dream catalog and picking out what I consider to be the peak moments in Froese's career, mostly falling during the early-to-middle era of the Dream, of which Froese has been the only consistent member through the years. A primer, if you will. Download and listen here.
Sunrise in the Third System (TANGERINE DREAM - Alpha Centauri, 1971)
Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares (TANGERINE DREAM - Phaedra, 1973)
Panorphelia (EDGAR FROESE - Aqua, 1974)
Epsilon in Malaysian Pale (excerpt) (EDGAR FROESE - Epsilon in Malaysian Pale, 1975)
Ricochet, Pt. 2 (excerpt) (TANGERINE DREAM - Ricochet, 1975)
Betrayal / Sorcerer Theme (TANGERINE DREAM - Sorcerer OST, 1977)
Nights of Automatic Women (EDGAR FROESE - Ages, 1978)
Scarlet Score for Mescalero (EDGAR FROESE - Stuntman, 1979)
Thru Metamorphic Rocks (excerpt) (TANGERINE DREAM - Force Majeure, 1979)
Logos (excerpt) (TANGERINE DREAM - Logos Live, 1982)
Snake Bath (EDGAR FROESE - Kamikaze 1989 OST, 1982)
Pinnacles (EDGAR FROESE - Pinnacles, 1983)
Ancient Powerplant (Jacul) (TANGERINE DREAM - The Keep OST, 1983)
Mojave End Title Reprise (TANGERINE DREAM - Wavelength OST, 1983)
Love on a Real Train (TANGERINE DREAM - Risky Business OST, 1984)
Crystal Voice (TANGERINE DREAM - Firestarter OST, 1984)
In addition to Tangerine Dream's well-known film scores for SORCERER, THE KEEP, and many other films, Froese composed perhaps his finest soundtrack for the obscure German cyberpunk thriller KAMIKAZE 89, which I will link to in full below. Also below for further viewing: Tangerine Dream live at Coventry Cathedral in 1975, and a video of Froese doing his thing on a garden patio for German television in 1981.
"There is no death. Just a change of cosmic address." - Edgar Froese (1944-2015)
at 10:41 AM
Of all the weird ways that I've processed and revealed my favorite films of the year, this one has perhaps been the most unexpected; While exploring a new character illustration style, I needed some subjects, and decided to take a crack at the heroes of my Top Ten Movies of 2014. I illustrated characters from 9 out of my 10 (shown above), and even put prints of them up in my shop if you're crazy enough to want one or more.
As for the ranked list, here it is.
2. UNDER THE SKIN
3. GONE GIRL
4. THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA
7. THE ZERO THEOREM
8. MOOD INDIGO
8. MOOD INDIGO
10. THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
It was a year in which I loved far fewer movies than in years past. I can't even say I truly loved all ten of the above choices. Even still, I must give a few honorable mentions to FORCE MAJEURE, THE KINGDOM OF DREAMS AND MADNESS, SELMA, THE CONGRESS, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, NIGHT MOVES, A MOST WANTED MAN, 20000 DAYS ON EARTH, MISTAKEN FOR STRANGERS, and THE STRANGE COLOR OF YOUR BODY'S TEARS.
(I'll take my top five to the grave however. Especially the top three.)
at 8:17 AM