POSTER ART AND MOVIE MUSIC…clever ephemera or fine art?

In 1992, at an exhibition of my poster style paintings, someone remarked to me in a disparaging tone, ‘you know Adam, these sort of pictures are to fine art what film music is to classical music…’ She meant the observation as an insult, and at the time, although I basically agreed with the premise of her analogy, I felt duly insulted. But soon afterwards I realised that it was her intent and her tone that had upset me, not her premise.

The fact was, I had always been a huge admirer of film music and its composers, several of whom I believed then, and continue to believe today to be geniuses in their own right, every bit as accomplished in their own way as their “classical” contemporaries (after all, what will be more listened to in a hundred year’s time, Elmer Bernstein’s score to The Magnificent Seven, or Pierre Boulez’s “explosante-fixe”?). So, having my work compared to movie tunes was for me, in its purest sense, a unintended  complement.

Sure, it can be argued that poster artists are merely creating visual mood music to the given theme, but that is no bad thing, and if executed well, and with feeling, a great poster can be at least as impressive an image as any piece of “pure” art. Ultimately, as with the best film music, if the piece lives on in the memory and has the power to stir deep feelings then surely this means it is good and worthy art.

However, unlike my commissioned advertising work, my  non-commissioned posters were a bit like movie music without a movie. And some time after this particular exhibition an album of exactly that type of music called Eternal Echoes was released by that greatest of British film music composers, John Barry (Lion In Winter, Zulu, You Only Live Twice, Midnight Cowboy, Born Free and The Ipcress File to name just a few masterpieces). I was initially quite dubious, but then, after listening to the record, I realised that it worked in exactly the same way as my “free” posters, with bags of atmosphere, lyrical content and just enough emotion to stir the blood.

As things turned out this style of work became my most enduring, heavily influencing the pictures I am making today  (e.g. see my work now available at http://artcatto.com/artists/adamgreen/), and my love for movie music continues unabated.

Here are a selection of posters with architectural themes, another post, of more “human-centric” works will follow shortly…

 

 

 

 

 

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MOODY GIRLS – in tone and colour

Here is a sample of my latest digital reworkings of some of my most commercially successful old library and sketchbook images.

More beautiful girls, fully clothed (more or less) and in regular – taken-from-life (also more or less) poses.  The girl in the polka dot dress is an obvious homage to that famous Athena tennis girl poster (from my back garden in Edgware in 1979) and there are also two of my wife Dido (one in Chile – 1991 and the other in the gardens of the Alcazar in Seville – 1988). The other two are of a girl on a trip to Israel from around 1980 (one at Ramon Crater in the Negev and the other at Rosh Hanikra).

I’ve had a few queries regarding the “validity” of these works in comparison to actual paintings, drawings and lithographs etc. Well, all I can say – at the risk of sounding hubristic – is that it takes not a little skill, and an intense amount of work to produce each and every picture. To all intent and purpose I am painting and drawing with the mouse in a way remarkably similar to using pencils and brushes. Often, a digital picture can take longer to execute than one of my old gouache paintings, and the results, for me at least, are just as satisfying. I love the contrast of the natural lines and edges containing pure and clean blocks of tone and colour. The level of satisfaction at completing one of these pictures is likewise, at least as complete as I used to feel after a day or so working on a gouache.

But, as ever, this is only my opinion. See what you think…