Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Drew Struzan: Oeuvre (2011) Book Review

Drew Struzan. There. Need I say more? Oh, I'm expected to give a review that consists of more than just two words? In that case I'll give you a few more reasons why you should pick up Titan Books' newest title, Drew Struzan: Oeuvre. First things first, if you've never heard of Drew Struzan, shame on you. Now that that's out of the way, let's do a little Struzan 101. Drew Struzan is an American artist who's best known for doing some of the most important and beautiful movie one-sheets to ever grace a theater facade. He's done artwork for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Hellboy, and the Police Academy series, among others. Unlike another well known artist, Saul Bass, whose minimalist aesthetic became his trademark, Drew's posters feature an airbrushed photorealism that leaps off the page - though to only view his work within the framework of the film industry would be shortsighted. He's also created artwork for comic books, albums, magazines, and stamps (yes, stamps). This leads me to one of my favorite things about Oeuvre: the breadth of its focus.

The Thing Movie Poster
Torrente 3: El Protector Movie Poster

It would have been easy to simply cram all of Struzan's film-based art into an omnibus and call it a day. Don't get me wrong, there's no doubt that would make for an amazing book, but by including work that comes from his other, non-movie related, personal and commercial assignments, we're able to put some context around the cinephilic illustrations we all know and love. That's not to say this book doesn't contain a ton of movie poster goodness, it does, and then some. Flipping through Oeuvre is stupefying to say the least, as it becomes quite clear (especially as a child of the 80s or early 90s) how big a role Mr. Struzan played in shaping the iconography of our adolescence. From First Blood to Big Trouble in Little China to The Shawshank Redemption, it's impossible to go through this book without summoning some sort of fond recollection of a bygone era when movie tickets were affordable and movie posters were works of art.

The Walking Dead Poster
Star Wars Movie Poster

As expected, Titan Books has put together a great package with thick, quality paper and a beautiful dust jacket. The book is divided into five sections (Music, Movies, Publishing, Commercial, and Personal) and features a brief introduction for each category written by Drew and Dylan Struzan (Drew's wife). As is usually the case with art books, at least in my experience, Oeuvre isn't very wordy, instead the reader is treated to beautiful illustration after beautiful illustration. And whatever you may think of George Lucas, there's no denying that Drew and George have had a very long and mutually beneficial friendship - I imagine this was the the reason he was chosen to write the foreword. All in all, even if you only have a passing interest in movie posters or the art of Drew Struzan do yourself a favor and grab this book. You won't regret it!

Squirm Movie Poster
Pan's Labyrinth Movie Poster

Drew Struzan: Oeuvre was released today and carries an MSRP of $49.95, but at the time of this writing it's available at Amazon for $31.33 and qualifies for free shipping. So that's cool. To learn more about Drew Struzan, head over to drewstruzan.com and peruse his vast body of work. If you've got a ton of spending money, I'm talking upwards of $100,000, you can even purchase an original illustration from the man, though I think the book is a bit more affordable for most of us. If Oeuvre interests you, be sure to visit titanbooks.com, where you'll find more great books including, but not limited to: The Art of Drew Struzan, The Art of Hammer, Watching the Watchmen, and Crazy 4 Cult: Cult Movie Art (my review).

RATING: 5/5 Stars


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