The Art of Poster Art (Article #1)

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Posters occupy a space between art and advertising. They have a clear commercial purpose – to promote an event or product – but they also have artistic value. People buy them and hang them on their walls. Museums have whole galleries devoted to poster art. When analyzing a poster it is important that you evaluate both how well it fulfils its purpose as well as its aesthetic value.

The single one sheet original theatrical poster of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. can be sold at up to 19 000$. It was designed by John Alvin who is considered one of the most important contemporary poster artists. He is responsible for creating some of the most memorable posters of all time such as the Walt Disney classics Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. John Alvin has also created the classic one sheet for Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Blade Runner, Fritz the Cat and Batman Returns. This one sheet has one of the most recognizable movie images ever created and was printed before they added the famous tag line “His Adventure on Earth.”

The poster is simple but in more ways than one sums up the entire story of the film. You wouldn’t need to see any movie trailer of E.T. to know what to expect. The poster says it all.

Alvin’s work is currently represented in several art galleries nationwide where his original paintings, drawings and limited edition fine art reproductions are displayed.  In his recent work, he continued to create iconic images for contemporary films like the Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean series.

Here are some other posters from the film.


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