August 5, 2013

The Art of Frankenstein : Laurent Durieux

Belgian artist Laurent Durieux is a veteran A-list illustrator whose work has only recently become known in North America, mostly through his alternate movie posters created for Mondo. Durieux’ talent is on generous display in his singular take on James Whale’s Frankenstein.

Illustrating the pivotal flower scene, Durieux focuses on The Monster, holding a daisy. Note the little girl’s presence as a shadow, barely visible, under the titles. Note the ominous background, a field of brambles. Note The Monster’s expression, hesitant, perhaps captivated by the flower’s fragrance, trying to understand what is happening.

The Monster’s brief existence has been couched in fear and violence. Roaming the countryside, he encounters a child who takes him by the hand and invites him to play. It is the only solace he will ever know. In the next instant, everything will go terribly wrong. You can see the wheels turning in his head. Is the little girl like a flower?

Durieux has captured a fleeting moment, at once beautiful and terrible, suspended in time. A key scene, a simple statement, beautifully designed and rendered, laden with meaning.

Durieux’ posters are typically charged with suspense. A poster for The Wolf Man captures the cursed Larry Talbot’s despair at the soul-crushing moment when he has just begun to transform. A poster for The Mummy is full of mystery, romance and terror, a knife signifying that immortal life begins with death. Durieux favors genre films, fantasy worlds and space opera, everything from King Kong and The Wizard of Oz to Metropolis and Buck Rogers. His Frankenstein poster, you will agree, is a masterpiece.

Visit Laurent Durieuxwebsite and portfolio.
Mondo poster site.

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