Last summer I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazingly talented Andrea Alvin at her lovely home in Rhinebeck, New York. She provided wonderful comments on Richard Amsel's work, as well as the artistic legacy of her late husband, John Alvin.
Rhinebeck resident Andrea Alvin, together with her husband John Alvin, produced some of the most iconic movie posters of the last 50 years. From Young Frankenstein to Goonies, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Blade Runner, and The Lion King, his illustrations and her designs are indelibly imprinted on the movie-going consciousness.
“John was one of those artists who could draw anything out of his head,” remembers Andrea Alvin of her late husband. “We relied on each other creatively.”
This relationship, this “creative shorthand,” will be on display at Poughkeepsie’s Gallery 330 from July 5. Their joint exhibition will pair prints of the team’s posters with Andrea’s own oil painting works, focused around pop art subjects like candy, toys, and other popular iconography.
The Alvins would work from either a concept, script, or finished film to come up with their posters. “I came up with a design that depicted certain things,” says Andrea. “I did the layout, the proportions, the particular poses. But I knew what John could do with that to make it special,” what she describes as a sort of “misty quality.”
Andrea credits this interaction with the entertainment industry with inspiring her own fine arts interest in products and pop culture.
“When John did a movie poster,” she says, “he wanted to promise a great experience with this one image, and he had a lot of emotion in his work. That affected my work in still-life, because I’m still bringing in that lighting and that emotional quality.”
More than anything, Andrea hopes that her continued advocacy for her late husband’s work, through exhibitions and The Art of John Alvin, published by Titan Books in 2013, will increase public awareness about the man, and the work, behind the iconography.
“If you say E.T., you immediately think of his poster, but they don’t know his name, and I’m trying to change that,” she says. “That’s important to me now: associating John Alvin with all the great work that he did.”