November 15, 2010

The Art of Frankenstein : Drew Struzan

Scholars and essayists have often explored the curious doppelganger relationship of Frankenstein and his creation. In his 2003 poster for the classic 1931 Frankenstein, artist Drew Struzan vividly illustrates the dual nature of the main protagonists, brought together on a shattered canvas, halved faces completing each other, separated by lines suggesting a stylized lightning bolt. In a further correspondence, the film’s beginning and end are illustrated with the distinctive cemetery scene and its guardian skeleton where Frankenstein gathered his grim materials, and the penultimate fate of The Monster in the burning windmill, its orange bonfire anchoring the composition.

Another Frankenstein image by Struzan pops up — Karloff’s Monster sizzling with electricity against a Las Vegas backdrop —in a 1975 promotional illustration for Universal Television.

Drew Struzan established himself right out of the gate, in the early Seventies, as a superlative portraitist and designer with a series of record album covers, the most famous of which is, no doubt, Welcome to My Nightmare, with Alice Cooper tipping his high hat in the sophisticated style of a Leyendecker illustration. It is listed today as one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Album Covers.

Struzan’s fame would grow to superstar status with his movie poster work, running from 1975 until the artist’s announced retirement from commercial work in 2008. The list of titles, over 150 posters, includes authoritative work for the Star Wars and Indiana Jones series, classic posters for The Goonies, Coming to America, E.T.: The Extraterrestrial and First Blood, the noir glamour of the Blade Runner 25th Anniversary Edition, and truly iconic work, notably the image of Michael J. Fox raising his sunglasses and checking his watch on a trilogy of Back to the Future posters. Equally memorable is Struzan’s striking poster for John Carpenter’s The Thing, famously executed overnight without benefit of film stills for reference.

Struzan’s extraordinary work is on display in a new book, The Art of Drew Struzan, and onscreen in a documentary, Drew: The Man Behind the Poster.

Drew Struzan’s website is filled with gorgeous art.

Galleries of Struzan’s art on The Guardian and Time Magazine.


iZombie said...

very nice posting... frank-rocks

Sam Gilmore said...

Drew Struzan is my hero. Thanks for posting this!