Tuesday, 13 December 2011


Creating movie poster magic is his speciality: Drew Struzan. Image: TITAN BOOKS


By Drew and Dylan Struzan

Published by TITAN BOOKS

Reviewed by Scott Weller

The power of the written word should never be underestimated, nor that of the intrinsic value of the artistic form, especially in the intriguing and diverse world of commercial entertainment. Within that realm one man reigns supreme in his artistic career as a top illustrator of movie posters and commercial art: Drew Struzan. 

It's rare that people can achieve personal, professional, artistic and commercial success all in one go within their continuing lifetime and experiences, but then Struzan is no ordinary talent, clearly enjoying the best of all worlds in the perfect job, and perfect life, he was meant to have, as shown in his latest compendium of iconic artwork- OEUVRE – DREW STRUZAN- written and compiled by both the artist and his wife Dylan, and which proves a fine and fitting testament to his incredible and well deserved achievements so far in the commercial illustration business, and whose beautiful and impressive work
past, present and future, before Photoshop sadly killed the fine art of movie conception and realisation, would create an important visual channel into the hearts and minds, young and old, of the general movie going public, especially in the all dominant American cinema-going market.

Struzan's iconic art for STAR WARS - EPISODE VI: REVENGE, later renamed RETURN, OF THE JEDI in 1982/83. Image: LUCASFILM.

Some readers may not necessarily know Struzan’s name but they will certainly recognise his incredible artistic skills as being amongst the forefront of some of the most evocative and beautiful movie poster art ever seen for some of the world and for some of Hollywood’s greatest films over the last forty years. From STAR WARS to INDIANA JONES, and other enduring cinematic masterpieces like BLADE RUNNER, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and E.T.: THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL, as well as populist hits like the early HARRY POTTER movies, etc., to right up to the present day, including promotional art for ambitious hit television series like the atmospheric new classic THE WALKING DEAD, Struzan’s work spans all genres and is much beloved and trusted by actors and film-makers: beloved by fellow visualists including pioneers like Frank Darabont, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and iconic actors like Harrison Ford-of whom Struzan is the only artist the film star likes handling his movie poster art, especially when it concerns the adventures of the legendary Indiana Jones. Struzan is certainly one of the most collectible artists of his generation, too; Darabont regards Struzan as one of the top three greatest movie illustrators of all time, whose gorgeous and involving work has in some places proved better than the film’s they’ve promoted!

The superb rendering of Harrison Ford and the cast of INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM. Image: LUCASFILM/PARAMOUNT.

From undeserved impoverished conditions and regular isolation as a child, Drew Struzan found his love of illustration a natural way of garnering life skills and worked hard to make ends meet. Soon finding his independent feet within the music industry at the right time and place, his career rainbow quickly blossomed into his love and natural flair for movie poster illustration, coming to the fore in the mid to late seventies, of which an artistic legend and integrity fuelled personality was born...

Eddie Murphy's grin captures New York in COMING TO AMERICA. Image: PARAMOUNT.

With the previous THE ART OF DREW STRUZAN collection having been such a critical and commercial success, this new selection contains his most defined and beloved work yet, OEUVRE shows us a wonderful world of love, colour, and excitement, youthful spirited innocence, mystery and danger, as you explore the books vast thematic range and cross a wide variety of genres: from comedy, to drama, to action and adventure. There’s a beautiful style and epic quality to Struzan’s work that captures the films so well and resonates strongly with the eye.

The fun and inventive poster art for the BACK TO THE FUTURE Trilogy. Image: UNIVERSAL.

Beyond the incredible poster work-containing many items/projects I wasn’t previously aware of his association to- there’s also a look at other areas of Struzan’s prolific and sumptuous artistic career: his work in books, trading cards, special comic book covers, stamps and plates devoted to classic inspirational heroes of celluloid music and real life, from film stars to royalty, alongside an intriguing look at the artists life and career so far, his thought processes and how he handles and enjoys his craft as an artist, alongside his loyal wife Dylan.

One of Struzan's commercial illustrations, featuring the immense movie career of the TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX film corporation.

There's also a personal look at the artist beyond the movies: his imagery and interpretation of the beauty of a life in all its facets. From the joy of being with his wife and family, to friends and children, and to the mystery and fulfilment of the human body, and the incredible wildlife of planet Earth. All of this proudly and justifiably part of the overall rich tapestry of a true one/off talent at the very top of his game...

The fun poster art for John Carpenter's comedy/action epic BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA. Image: UNIVERSAL.

The creative joy of all these pieces coming together will be shared by the reader as they peruse its nostalgic and celebratory image selections, where Struzan’s spirit, imagination and Joie de Vivre will continue to resonate wherever good art is appreciated…

Gruesome zombies on the loose in Struzan's TV poster work for the recent THE WALKING DEAD. Image: AMC.

The book may be called Oeuvre but Struzan is not saying goodbye with this volume. Think of it as the most ambitious of his collected works so far. The visual language of his stunning work, alongside his integrity, depth of humanity and emotional resonance, will continue to make its mark and flourish long after we’re gone…

Beautifully published by the UK’s TITAN BOOKS, OEUVRE – DREW STRUZAN is truly a coffee table book/portfolio to savour, as well as one that friends and family will surely be fighting over to look at and admire during the holiday season.

Drew Struzan: a self portrait.

KOOL TV RATING: 4 out of 5

Check out a gallery of classic Struzan work here: STAR WARS AFICIONADO MAGAZINE: DREW STRUZAN

Get hold of your copy of OEUVRE - DREW STRUZAN here: Drew Struzan: Oeuvre: Amazon.co.uk: Drew Struzan, Dylan Struzan: Books

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