Review by C.J. Bunce
Whether a piece of art is appealing is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone who gives a considered view to a piece of artwork is entitled to their own interpretation and commentary on it. This month sees the release of a book that will allow the reader to take his or her own personal journey through the artwork that became the marketing posters for the Star Wars franchise. Star Wars Art: Posters is the fifth and final hardcover installment in Abrams Books’ successful series pulling the best imagery from Lucasfilm. It follows Star Wars Art: Visions, Star Wars Art: Concept, Star Wars Art: Illustration, and, to be reviewed soon here at borg.com, Star Wars Art: Comics. With Star Wars Art: Posters, the best was saved for last.
Star Wars Art: Posters is a purely visual experience. It includes only the slightest amount of text or interpretational information. A one-page commentary is included, written by each of noted Star Wars poster artists Drew Struzan and Roger Kastel. They each recount their own experience with creating Star Wars poster art, but do not give an overview of the rest of the galaxy of poster art. Instead each piece of art is laid out roughly chronologically, stripped of the words and printed matter that would be needed for the completion of the final poster for distribution, but with a notation showing the artists’ name, date, significance, and medium.
Die hard fans of Star Wars will recognize many, if not most, of the included posters. And you’ll find yourself embarking on your own nostalgic trip back nearly four decades. Back to the first poster for the film from 1976: Howard Chaykin’s screaming imagery of Luke, Han, Leia and Ben, with lightsaber pointing downward, Tom Jung’s famous one-sheet–what most remember as the classic Star Wars poster, Tom Chantrell’s photo-real poster featuring Mark Hamill as Luke along with the rest of the main cast, and that famous circus-design poster by Charles White III and Drew Struzan. My own trip back in time recalls the Del Nichols posters that were Coca-Cola giveaways, three of which are included in the book (and which covered the walls of my bedroom many years ago).