September / October 2011
We love art and illustration. The movie poster work of Drew Struzan, Richard Amsel, Frank McCarthy and Bob McGinnis; the cinematic concept depictions of Joe Johnston, Ken Adam, Ralph McQuarrie and Neville Page; the lush character-based comic book world of Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko, Adam Hughes and everyone in between. Inspired by early masters of light, shape, form and visual structure like Renoir, Rodin and Magritte, contemporary illustrators, cinematographers and directors (James Cameron, Ridley Scott, Clive Barker, David Lynch and Guillermo del Toro are all accomplished illustrator / painter / artists in their own right) know that, even above and beyond the written world, early concept illustrations (and even promotional art) are the best and most effective way to breathe the emotional "soul" of a proposed film project into the heart and mind (the very consciousness) of a prospective audience ... not to mention studio execs and financial backers.
Here in GALLERIES we celebrate the all too often unsung heroes who's work seldom gets the artistic credit it so justly deserves.
BOB PEAK (1927 - 1992):
Movie Poster Artist Extraordinarie
An illustrator since childhood, legendary film poster artist Bob Peak was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in Kansas. After military service during the Korean War he'd graduate from Art Center College of Design - LA
in 1951, and move to the "Mad Men"-ish advertising capitol of the
world, New York City in '53. His film career began when he was
commissioned by Untied Artists to design the image layout for WEST SIDE STORY in 1961. This then lead to full out illustration work on the poster ad campaigns for the big budget studio musicals MY FAIR LADY (1964) and CAMELOT (1967).
Recognized for his almost ethereal sweeping lines (one can almost feel
wind blowing through Peak's illustrations) his style became synonymous
with genre films of the 1970s and 80s such as ROLLERBALL (1975), THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977) , STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979), EXCALIBUR (1981) and Francis Ford Coppola's surreal war epic APOCALYPSE NOW (1979).
Peak passed in August 1992, but his work continues to influence
contemporary artists and animators. Acknowledging his legacy, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held a popular gallery retrospective "BOB PEAK: CREATING THE MODERN MOVIE POSTER" at it's Beverly Hills headquarters in early 2011 ((January 20 - April 27). And we at the GullCottage/Sandlot presents our own mini-retrospective as well with 36 of Mr. Peak's most iconic images. We think you're more than likely to recognize a few.