For now, all is quiet in Poster World (“…not a gallery was stirring…”), but the year ain’t over yet, folks! Is a mind-blower of a poster drop lurking somewhere between now and January 1st? If so, will it be the poster we’re all hoping it’ll be, or something else entirely (our money’s still on a Martin Ansin Parental Guidance)? Eh, who knows? Speculation like this only drives everyone crazy, and after we all just spent a week being driven nuts by our families, who needs that? Instead, let’s focus on wrapping up our Top 20 Greatest Posters of 2012 list.
Confused? Everyone who missed Part One can get caught up on the back half of our list here. Once you’ve done that, check out our next round of picks (some of which might surprise you) by clicking the link below. Who made the cut? And who’s probably gonna end up being named Poster MVP, 2012? Meet me after the jump to find out more, Princess.
Let me assure you: putting together a list of the year’sTop 20 Greatest Posters was no easy task. First, Limited Paper had to track down half a dozen hardcore collectors, artists, and/or poster-industry “professionals” who would be willing to weigh in on this admittedly silly matter. We then looked at work from just about every artist and gallery we could think of, from our friends at Spoke Art, Mondo, Bottleneck Gallery, and Gallery1988 to relative newcomers like the UK’s LtDEdition Art and Austin’s own Guzu Gallery. And then–over a grueling five-hour period—many Top 20 lists were made and amended, scrapped and rewritten, Bedazzled and annotated, some of them dozens of times over. We eventually found a lineup we could agree on, yes, but not every person on our panel survived those discussions.
Part One ran earlier this week (see link above), and originally we planned on finishing out the list with a 10-poster Part Two. But in addition to 10 posters, we also wanted to name an artist as 2012’s Poster MVP, and by the time we got halfway through this batch of picks we knew this would’ve been way, way too much for one writeup. So today, we’re offering our next 5 picks for the Top 20 Greatest Posters of 2012, and tomorrow we’ll be back with the final five…and the name of the year’s baddest-ass artist. Surely you guys don’t mind, right?
Oh, and one other thing: you’re going to notice that we doubled up prints for a few of the artists here. If we hadn’t, we would’ve spent the next four years refining this list. We’ve got one genuine tie in the entire top ten (it’s at #9) and a few artists who had more than one excellent, top-ten worthy print, but hey: our list, our rules. With that in mind…
10. Josh Budich—(TIE) A Bigger Boat, Brody
Let’s speak frankly: there’s been a fair amount of online debate surrounding Josh Budich’s style over the past few years, particularly a few prints that some have deemed “a little too Tyler Stout” for their liking. That side believes the collage-style movie print is Stout’s territory, and that trying to out-Stout Stout is a sucker’s game at best…and lazy copycatting at worst. And on that, our panel agreed: of course no one can touch Tyler Stout when it comes to being Tyler Stout. But we also weren’t convinced Budich’s ever been aiming for that. Sure, he might release a print with a dozen faces on it, and that may be the format we’ve come to expect from Stout over the years… but as brilliant as Stout is, he didn’t invent the idea of a group shot.
But more importantly: this year saw Budich turning out a number of posters that indicated his willingness to break out of his comfort zone, to experiment, and—well, hey, whatta ya know—amongst those I spoke with, there was quite a bit of support for the pair of Jaws-themed prints Budich produced this year (one for Guzu Gallery’s Kaiju-themed show, the other for Gallery88). I agreed with those that thought these pieces rocked, and we hope he’ll continue changing things up in the future.
9. (TIE) Olly Moss—Princess Mononoke, Jock—Shaun of The Dead
Here it is: an impasse. In one corner, Olly Moss’ brilliant Princess Mononoke (which dropped during this summer’s San Diego Comic-Con), which served as a perfect fit for his also-brilliant My Neighbor Totoro set. In the other corner, Jock’s stunning Shaun of The Dead print (dropped at this year’s New York Comic-Con). With only ten spots to go around, something had to give. Turned out, the only thing giving in was us: we’re allowing these two a tie, and good luck trying to pick between ‘em yourself.
Quick shout-out: Olly Moss and Jock are two of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet in Poster World, and every time I get a chance to speak with ‘em I’m reminded that massive success doesn’t always have to translate to douchebaggery. Pay attention, Taylor Lautner.
8. Alexander Iaccarino—Akira
I recall the morning this one came out of left field. I was putting together the day’s Limited Paper, and about half a dozen messages arrived at the same time pointing me in the direction of Iaccarino’s website (www.ThatKidWhoDraws.com), where the above poster was being offered for sale. A flurry of conversations erupted as the link made its way through the collecting community (“Should I buy the little one or the big one?!” seemed to be the big question that day), and it seemed well-liked enough to warrant inclusion in that morning’s still-unfinished installment of Limited Paper. So, I tossed a photo of Alex’s Akira print and a link to his site (both of which were also getting some play on Ain’t It Cool News, if I remember correctly) into that writeup, went on with my day, and–within hours—I got word that the dude had sold out Akira’s entire run—both sizes.
Alexander Iaccarino quite literally went from “just another artist with an online website” to “selling out an entire run, working with Sony on one of their biggest video game titles, and becoming a gallery-show regular” virtually overnight, but it wasn’t just because he got lucky with a link getting passed around by a few well-connected jackasses: he also created a fucking gorgeous poster, one that deserved to make him “overnight famous” in the community. It was incredibly awesome to see that unfold in real time, and even greater when Iaccarino turned out to be such a nice guy (if prints arrived damaged, he sent new copies immediately; if I had questions, he had answers; ask him for a photo, he’d send an entire roll). We haven’t talked to Alex recently, but bet he’s working on something awesome right this minute.
7. Craig Drake— (TIE) The Hunger, Bride
Picking between these two also proved impossible, so here we are. We figured that people pretty much fall into two categories: those who’d prefer to have a (desperately-in-need-of-a-bib) vampire David Bowie on their wall…and those who’d prefer to have a Pat Nagel-style take on the Bride of Frankenstein’s (oddly slutty-looking) reanimated corpse on their wall. Whichever one you are, I think we can all agree that we’re all winners in the end.
Craig Drake was another of 2012’s biggest pleasant surprises, a guy who probably wasn’t on the radar of too many people (beyond a handful of Star Wars obsessives) prior to the Mondo Gallery’s Brandenburg and Drake Show, but who came out the other side of that gig being pursued by a number of other galleries and endlessly questioned by fans who desperately wanted to own print versions of a few of his OG-only pieces. In the end, we got screenprints of almost every Craig Drake print we might’ve wanted this year (I’d still like a Snake Plissken), and it’s gonna be awesome to see where the industry takes him in the years ahead. One of the year’s most unique talents.
6. Mike Mitchell—Just Like Us (Various)
Well, I’ll just come out and admit it: the first few times I saw pics of Mitchell’s Just Like Us prints, I didn’t get it: generally they’re known for their unique style, small size, and the fact that they’re all in such infuriatingly short supply, but beyond seemingly momentarily amusing…my skirt was not blown up at first glance. I looked at ‘em and I thought, “I guess so?” and then went back to working on the Martin Ansin shrine in my basement (does anyone have a lock of his hair I can borrow?), like a good little fanboy.
That lasted until the Mondo Gallery’s Universal Monsters show, where I first encountered a set of his JLU prints in person (see above, below). Similar to how I never understood the draw of screenprinted artwork until I felt one between my fingers for the first time, the draw of Mitchell’s Just Like Us series did not hit me until I owned that Uni Monsters set. Now if I could only get my hands on…uh, literally any of the other ones I’m looking for (pssst–hit me up if you’re trying to lose an Anchorman set). If, like me, you’ve never felt like you “got” this series, don’t write ‘em off until you’ve added one or two to your collection. In a community already awash in addictively collectible movie-relate prints, Mitchell’s series just might just be the most addictively collectible posters currently making the rounds.
Alright, folks. That’s it for this five. On Saturday, we’ll be back with the final five, along with my pick for the year’s MVP artist. If you’ve got a poster you’d like to see included in an “Honorable Mention” writeup of some sort, shoot me an email at LimitedPaper@gmail.com to plead your case: if enough people write in arguing on behalf of something we didn’t find room for on our list, we’ll run the responses in their own writeup. If that sounds like too much work for you, well, fair enough: just stay tuned and prepare for the epic conclusion to our Top 20 Greatest Posters of 2012 series later this weekend (and try not to blow a gasket in the comments section: this is really all for fun, guys, not to turn into a dick measuring contest).