I know what you’re thinking – not another Top Ten list. And yes, I know how you feel. I’ve been looking at all these Top Ten lists everywhere, and as an alternative movie poster connoisseur – not in the pretentious way, mind you – I have been wondering to myself if anyone shared my opinion having seen this year’s expansive list of prints. This year alone has been insane as far as silkscreen movie poster releases have gone. Mondo has put out more prints than ever (just compare this with this), Gallery 1988 started stepping it up a bit once they saw how many new prints were being released, new movie poster galleries are getting into the game, and then you have private commissions.
Private commissions are a somewhat new thing. Groups of collectors form up, pool their cash together, email an artist, and then see what they can do. Some of the prints that come out of the private commissions are good, and, to be blunt, most are bad. But the ones that do work out are amazing. As such, a few are in my Top Ten list. I’ve had a finger on the pulse of the alternate movie poster world, and I will share with you what I have found. After the jump, check out the Top Ten alternative movie posters of 2013.
10. The Exorcist by N.E. – Variant
The Exorcist movie posters are notoriously difficult to get approved by the director William Friedkin. What makes this print particularly special is the paper it is printed on – 100% cotton Arches art paper (not to mention the artist NE creates these prints by hand, pulling each screen). The variant print is also signed by the director, cementing his approval. Only 25 of these puppies exist in the world. I won’t give you my personal opinion of the meaning but will let NE describe it with his own words:
Note from the Artist N.E.
“About a year ago I was commissioned to create a poster to commemorate the movie The Exorcist. The 40th anniversary was coming up and it was going to be a nice thing to celebrate the film. The Exorcist, while being one of the scariest films of all time, is ultimately about a priest’s crisis of faith, guilt, and ability to fight a very personal spiritual battle. I tried to convey this emotion and intensity with contrast and oppressive shadows in the illustration. By using a more stark composition, I hope to achieve a singular or at least striking image.The finished art was shown to the film’s director William Friedkin,who not only gave his approval for it to be printed but generously offered to sign the 25 Variant run.”
9. Shaun of the Dead by Tyler Stout – Regular
The most brilliant aspect of this particular print is the title. The various pint glasses in front of the title skew it in different directions. If you were lucky enough and attended the Edgar Wright trilogy screening in Austin, you would have been able to pick up a version signed by the cast (unfortunately, in sharpie…all over the image).
Stout also hid a lot of cool stuff in this print (one reason why I love his prints). For instance, if you look close enough, you can see the dart in Shaun’s head. Bet you didn’t see that at first glance. Another thing if you are into it – way in the background, you can see various easter eggs like the Robocop villains and the Mondo crew. This print is quite a treat.
8. Metropolis by Ken Taylor – Variant (Gold)
In person, the variant of Ken Taylor’s Metropolis looks unreal. The gold is printed so crazily that the black paper has tiny specs of gold interlaced over it giving the whole print a nice metallic sheen. The composition of the piece is a slight nod to the original movie poster while giving its own spin on the movie. When Ken Taylor knocks it out of the park, he really knocks it out of the park.
7. Predator by Gabz – Thermal Variant
This Gabz guy came out of nowhere with linework that reminds me of a cross between Ken Taylor and Martin Ansin. Gabz uses some gradients and also breaks it up with smooth lines to ease the eye of the viewer. A group of private commissioners asked Gabz to do the print and presumably directed his art accordingly. Prior to Predator, Gabz’s last release was Taxi Driver which did not seem to have the charisma or smooth linework that Predator has.
Style aside, the composition of the print is masterful. You’ve got the thermal look as seen in the original Predator movie poster, but when you turn out the lights, bam, there’s Predator looking at you, stalking you. An epic piece, indeed.
6. Attack the Block by Tyler Stout
Here’s one you can get for cost any day of the week despite it being a Tyler Stout movie poster. If you haven’t seen Attack the Block, it is a fun movie that is like a mix between Gremlins and Goonies. From looking at this print, you can tell artist Tyler Stout really loved the movie.
What I love particularly about this print is that it is a classic Tyler Stout composition. It just fits in the perfect mould of what you would expect from one of his prints which isn’t a bad thing at all. It is just perfect.
5. Lost in Translation by Matt Taylor
Another private commission from a small group of collectors, Matt Taylor’s Lost in Translation was the surprise print of the year for me. Even though I despise the movie, the print makes me want to see it again to see if I will change my mind. What a perfect print with lush colors – talk about a home run.
4. Jaws by Laurent Durieux
I can’t think of any other print with such a bright color palette and composition with such depth in it perspective-wise. I also didn’t notice the shark fin in the middle until after I got the print and someone pointed it out. All in all, this one is an excellent representation of the Jaws film that doesn’t spoil anything.
3. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by Aaron Horkey
The detail in this print is astounding. Horkey is just getting better and better. What is super impressive is that, while the print is larger at 28×40, the original from which the piece came is probably half as large. With that in mind, you can tell Horkey has an astounding eye for intricate linework.
2. Taxi Driver by Martin Ansin
Other than Jaws, I can’t really think of a print that has such depth in it. It really does feel like you are on a city street just looking at the character. Also of note is Ansin’s older line work (2012 era) which I absolutely love. 2012 was around the time Ansin was experimenting a bit with a mixture between his older smoother line work and the use of gradients – he seems to have found a perfect balance here. Rumor has it that this particular piece of art work was completed in 2012 for a Mondo Mystery Movie in New York. The mystery movie never panned out, so they later had a screening in Austin in 2013.
1. There Will Be Blood by Aaron Horkey – Blinging Dollar Variant
Back in early 2013, I kept hearing rumors of a 100 hour project Horkey had completed. The instant the image popped up, I knew that is what this was, and it literally took my breath away. I had to have it. I instantly framed it up. It’s the perfect marriage between the art and the movie, both classics. The green dollar variant just seals the deal even more fitting in line with one of the main themes of the film.