The Life and Legacy of Bob Peak

The poster dates back to the early 19th century, and since its early days with the work of Henry Toulouse-Latrec, it has continually evolved. From the Art Nouveau period of Alphonse Mucha and Henry van de Velde, to the age of Erté and Art Deco, to Andy Warhol and pop art, to today’s Shephard Fairey and his contemporaries, the poster has become the leading form of art for the Modern Age -- both respected in artistic circles, and appreciated worldwide by the commercial masses. Film is an art form now in its second century, and for nearly as long as there have been movies, there have been posters to promote them. It may take considerably longer for the movie poster to garner the same degree of

Revering the art: The collectors (Part 1)

"I love that they cast Tina Turner in the movie," Joel Ulster says. "She's tougher and stronger than Mel Gibson. He's just got a big mouth." It's hard for me, at this stage, to know exactly how much I'll be able to cover in the final cut of the documentary. Certainly peoples' personal remembrances of Richard Amsel, and comments from other artists will remain the focus. But in keeping with the film's tagline, other themes I hope to address concern how the art of the illustrated movie poster has become lost over the years. For Amsel's work, this sense of loss is both figurative and literal, as most of his personal collection was sold, given away, or even stolen outright following his death. On

Fond memories, forever friends

I first created the Amsel appreciation site in early 2008. Back then it was a struggle to find people who knew Richard Amsel personally. Over the years, the website's growing popularity was critical in helping me find people -- or, more accurately, having people find me, either through emails or Facebook posts on message boards about their remembrances . One such person was Gloria Leschen, who in late 2015 posted about her memories of Richard Amsel's early days in New York City. She even helped him find his first apartment on 83rd Street, which at the time was a new complex built directly across from her building. A year later, in November 2016, I received a separate message from Marsha Cohe

24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters

At long, long last, it's here: the documentary 24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters, Kevin Burke's loving valentine to movie art. David Byrd and I interviewed for the film three years ago, but haven't been able to see it until now. The film has been making the rounds at film festivals for the past year, and it's finally available on DVD, BluRay, and digital download. Kevin's documentary is primarily focused on how today's generation of artists have taken it upon themselves to resurrect illustrated movie posters, but the opening chapter offers a very concise overview of its history, and the key figures behind it. The work of Roger Kastel, John Alvin, Drew Struzan, and Richard Amsel are all ment

Forever thanks.

Since filming my first interview nearly two years ago, I've kept a list of people to thank within the end credits of the film. I have yet to make an exact count, but it's gotten pretty freaking long so far. To those of you who've supported the project -- be it financially, emotionally, by making personal referrals, by spreading good word of mouth, or by volunteering your time and energies -- I can't thank you enough. I was thinking of listing some people here in this post, but there are too many to mention, and I don't want to single some names out while inadvertently slighting others.. Everything and everyone matters. One example that I'll share, though, is this jigsaw puzzle an Indiana Jon

Roger Reed: The illustrated man

I remember, as a kid, thumbing through a 1984 edition of ILLUSTRATOR IN AMERICA at my local library. It was a massive, oversized coffee table book that I ate up, written by the late Walter Reed. Reed was a champion of illustration -- as well as an artist, historian, collector, and art dealer -- and I feel his was an important voice in helping the art form gain some long overdue legitimacy and respect. I was saddened to learn of his passing in 2015. His son, Roger, has carried the torch in many ways. Like his father, he is one of the leading academics and collectors of illustration in the United States, and operates Illustration House in NYC. I first met him at the opening reception of the Am

Spiros Angelikas: The most interesting man in the advertising world

“Do you mind if I smoke?” Spiros Angelikas asks me, politely. His voice is smooth, smoky, calm, and assured, with a thick but decipherable, distinguished Greek accent. His pose and style remind me of a cross between Aristotle Onassis and that “Most interesting man in the world” guy from the Dos Equis beer commercials. “No, not at all,” I answer, smiling back. I remind myself that this is his home, after all, and the man should feel free to do as he damn well pleases. I abstain from outing myself as an asthmatic, and try my best to hold back coughs as he lights up his first cigarette. I saved my coughing fits for my drive back to Pennsylvania later that evening. I think I nearly hacked up a l

20,000 Leagues of his own: interviewing Greg Hildebrandt

It’s almost impossible to overstate how greatly our modern conceptions of fantasy art have been shaped by the work of the Brothers Hildebrandt. The dynamic duo of Greg and Tim Hildebrandt brought mythical creatures and otherworldly heroes to vivid, fanciful life in a style not seen since the days of Maxfield Parish. Their work for The Lord of the Rings, Marvel and DC Comics, as well as a poster for a little film called STAR WARS are as iconic as their source material. I first met Greg Hildebrandt at a book signing in Santa Monica, California, a number of years ago – an encounter I recall as awkward hero worship on my part, and soft-spoken graciousness on his. We originally planned to film an

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