Technology moves so fast. With phones seemingly getting updated every two seconds and constant technological advancements happening all around us, it may be strange and petty to moan about DVD and Blu Ray covers. Regardless, that is what I am about to do! DVD cover art has stagnated for quite some time.
The release of DVD in 1993 seemed to be an incredible advancement from VHS, which ruled the roost since the 80’s. What the format lacked in character (VHS and its character is an article for another day perhaps?) it made up for in incredible picture quality and numerous special features. However what it failed to bring with it was great cover artwork. Gone were the good (and sometimes bad) artwork created for the clunky VHS case and in came posed photo covers, or worse yet, the dreaded photo shop. A case in point is the James Bond films. When released on VHS they had superb painted covers showing James Bond always smiling while getting shot at or blown up. When the DVD releases came out they ditched all this for very basic photo covers of the lead actor and nothing else. It was probably the cost which pushed this type of artwork back away from the mainstream as it is probably cheaper to take a photo than get an artist to create something from scratch. Also the allure of DVD extras was enough to get people to buy the new medium when back in the VHS era the artwork was one of the main hooks.
This is an art site after all and what you folk want to see is some great bits of original art. Well in the last few years a few sites have taken note of our (or most probably just my) pain and decided enough is enough. With DVD extras now common place people are looking around for something truly special to get them to pick up a movie and these sites offer that. So in part one of a two part feature I just want to focus on two companies that I have noticed recently committed to bringing not just quality movies to us, but quality art covers to.
First up is Arrow Films. They have been around since 1991 and are committed to bringing a wide, eclectic range of movies to the home video market. Below is a quote from their website telling us a little about themselves.
Arrow Films is an all rights multi-platform distributor of feature films and TV series. We specialise in releasing some of the best content from around the world to UK customers and beyond. Since 1991, through Arrow’s diverse and rich product mix, one of the most energetic and cutting edge labels in British distribution has been forged. Recent accolades include being named Label of the Year by prestigious publications as the Guardian and Home Cinema Choice and over the years having multiple finalists in Sight and Sound’s best DVDs of the year as well as winning the British Video Association’s Marketing Initiative of the Year. Arrow’s global reputation as one of the finest labels in the world has come about through consistent high quality product and a focus on fan-based products always at its core. This includes a major investment on restoring original material through modern techniques as well as pioneering packaging solutions and newly commissioned artwork for each release.
The commitment to the fans of cinema, no matter how obscure the content, is one thing to be admired. The other is their dedication to great and knock out cover art. Below is an example of some of their better covers. Though it is difficult to credit the artists who drew the piece as it does not always say who the artist is on the DVD I have done my best. If nothing else we can at the very least admire their art through this article and hopefully that will be credit in itself. So sit back and enjoy an art filled trip down memory lane as a lot of these covers encapsulate all that was great with the VHS era and most probably of lot of people’s memories of childhood. Someone has at last got it right!
Artwork by Tom ‘The Dude Designs’ Hodge
Artwork by Graham Humphrie
Artwork by Tom ‘The Dude Designs’ Hodge
Artwork by Craig Kraaken
Artwork by Rick Melton
Artwork by Justin Erickson of Phantom City Creative
Artwork by Ghoulish Gary Pullin
Artwork by Tom Hodge & Rick Melton
Artwork by Jeff Zornow
Artwork by Graham Humphrie
You can look at other Arrow releases though their website, Facebook and Twitter page. Some of the covers I haven’t included because of the explicit content, checking out their sites out is the best way to see the rest of this awesome art.
In a future article, we will focus on the inventive work of Shout Factory as well as other imaginative, one-off releases from other companies. So, lovers of cover art, keep your eyes peeled for that one.
Wouldn’t it be great to find a unique way to showcase new and upcoming illustrators and graphic designers? Well, London based illustrator and artist Sharm Muguriah is attempting exactly that with his exciting new concept ‘This Must Be The Place’. Sharm’s goal is to produce an annual non profit magazine where by designers will interpret some of the best films of the year with an illustrated graphic. These illustrations will accompany pre existing reviews of the chosen movies with the finished magazine being sent to various members of the publishing industry to showcase the work.
While not necessarily a movie poster as the illustrations will not include title’s or credit blocks, the images will depict a moment in time from the film, an ensemble of characters or events or ideas from the film that the artist feels best suits their style and best represents the movie. Sharm is no stranger to this type of work, having recently produced the Bluray steelbook artwork for Only God Forgives.
The first edition already boasts some great contributors including Sharm himself and friends of Cult Collective Chris Skinner and Doaly. Their will also be contrbutions by the superbly talented Rich Davies, Faye West, Mat Weller and Luke Butland.
I think the concept is a great idea. In a digitally dominated world it is a breath of fresh air to see something tangibly printed, to be able to hold in your hand. While this is initially for industry insiders only as a kind of portfolio showcase, with each contributor getting their own copy, it would be great to see this made available for general sale in future. Perhaps with the movie reviews written by the artists themselves or even bloggers and independent journalists (ahem).
We will be following the evolution of this idea very closely and will be sure to keep you up to on the project. Be sure to follow Sharm and the other contributors on Twitter too.
Timothy has been teasing this one for a a little while over on his Facebook page and now he is ready for the full reveal! Boba Fett’s Slave I is the latest piece in Timothy’s Star Wars Vehicles Blueprints series splitting the page between a wonderfully detailed blueprint and illustration.
This project has again been a collaboration with his dad, Will Anderson, and will be available to purchase for $45 from Timothy’s online store this Friday, the 29th of November, at around 10:00 MST.
Slave I is a 12″x18″ 7 colour screenprint and features 4 metallics with a gloss varnish layer. It comes printed on 90lb Stonehenge Natural stock and will be limited to an edition of 65.
If that isn’t enough, Timothy will be including a 6″x9″ Probe Droid screen print with random orders.