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Being a child of the pre-internet, pre-Netflix 70s and 80s, one of my biggest loves was going to the movies. As any fan of the cinema and the visual arts knows, those were some great times for movie key art. Walking into the lobby and smelling the popcorn, I could hardly wait to get to my seat. However, there was one thing that always excited me just as much as the upcoming film I was about to see — the movie posters in the lobby and on the theater’s facade. The artwork, most often illustrated with bold visuals and typography, had me mesmerized.

My first vivid memory of movie poster art was from the original JAWS. My father took me to see the hit blockbuster in the summer of 1975 — much to my mother’s disapproval, given my young age. The artwork on the poster screamed out at me: those razor sharp teeth and that scantily clad bather skimming across the ocean’s surface with that beefy blood red JAWS type above her. It definitely set the wheels in motion for me to pick up a pencil and paper and start to frighten my family with my doodles and sketches of monster sharks and dinosaurs. A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Roger Kastell (the artist who painted that classic) at a horror/sci-fi convention. I told him how much of an inspiration the poster was to me and my future as an artist, all the while gawking at the original that was only a few feet behind him.

I don’t get out to the cinema much these days. I can count on both hands the amount of times I’ve actually stepped foot into a movie theater in the past decade. It’s just easier and more affordable to hit a button on my television and watch from the comfort of my own couch. Thanks to the advent of the Internet and Google, I can take a stroll down memory lane with random searching of some classic movies and to see all the poster art that comes up. I’m not saying the movie industry has stopped producing great key art. I just have a soft spot for the days of past when my Dad would take out the newspaper and ask the family what they wanted to see and I knew I wanted to see all that great poster art spread out across the movie section.

Click here to check out some beautiful examples of some modern day classics as well as a few oldies thrown in there.

And if you are a little bitter about some of the recent movie poster design as I am, you can check out this little rant below. This guy does have some strong points. Enjoy!

~ Mike Kolatac, Sr. Art Director, The S3 Agency


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