It's June 28th, 2018. Finally, the interview is about to happen.
Erik and I had arrived early, and set up the equipment by the lobby kiosk -- populated by the colorful cast of FRAGGLE ROCK. Enough time’s left for Erik to pose for a quick photo with Oscar the Grouch (tongue sharp with wit, but spongy to touch), and I with Aloysius Snuffleupagus (a fond childhood friend, to whom I can finally give a hug).
Ms. Cheryl Henson arrives, and after friendly exchanges, she looks at our setup. “This interview’s about THE DARK CRYSTAL,” she smiles. “Shouldn’t we show something to do with the film?”
Erik and I exchange blank stares. “Whatever you guys want is absolutely fine with us,” I say nervously. “We don’t want to inconvenience you.”
When Erik Sharkey and I first met with Cheryl Henson, our meeting didn’t quite go as planned. There was an embarrassing snafu: while I stated I wanted to interview Ms. Henson about Richard Amsel’s work, the Henson team didn’t realize I had intended to film the interview on camera.
My heart sank, and I had no one but myself to blame. I didn’t realize certain permissions had to be obtained in advance of my setting up my camera, lights, and tripod. I sheepishly put down my bags of equipment and apologized, repeatedly, to everyone for the misunderstanding. I think I blushed more brightly than I did when I first asked a cute girl to my high school prom. I felt bad for Ms. Henson. I felt bad for Erik. I felt bad for just about everyone and everything.
“Hey man, are you sure you’re gonna be up for this?”
It is early October, 2017. Erik Sharkey poses the question to me over the phone the weekend before our first meeting with Cheryl Henson. Ms. Henson is, of course, the daughter of the late, great Jim Henson, and the President of the Jim Henson Foundation.
The meeting was months in the works – coordinating Ms. Henson’s busy schedule in New York with my flying out from California was a bit daunting – and I was eagerly looking forward to it. Erik was, too; he was quick to volunteer his time and help in support of the Amsel project and, to my eternal gratitude, in support of me.
God knows I needed it. If a film crew of two sounds like a modest endeavor, just imagine how difficult it is to be a film crew of one. Most of the forty-something int...
A major motivation for my embarking on this film came during my interview for Kevin Burke's documentary, 24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters. I marveled at the guy's determination -- traveling across the country on a shoestring budget, and making a film with a minimal crew.*
This carried over to the film's post production, where Kevin created some elaborate and lively animations of the poster artwork mentioned during the interviews. I talked to Kevin after seeing his completed film, and his approach to the animated sequences was perhaps the most fascinating topic. It's certainly a challenging learning process, even after all these years of my using Photoshop and After Effects.
For AMSEL: ILLUSTRATOR OF THE LOST ART, the documentary will toggle between two central focal points: personal rememb...
December 4th marks what would have been Richard Amsel’s 70th birthday, and I’d be terribly remiss if I didn’t post an update to mark that occasion.
Some people have asked me about the status of the documentary, as I’ve been pretty quiet these past few months. The reason was a very personal one: my father died at the end of September, and in the weeks since I’ve had to juggle work along with some funeral and estate arrangements.
My dad’s health had been in decline for some time, and I had taken intermittent leave from work to visit him on the other side of the country every 2-3 months. I was also able to dedicate some of that time to doing more interviews on the east coast – all of which I have yet to write about here. Please bear with me, more updates will be coming!
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 artistic appreciation, but it has its due champions.
It also has its creative titans. Rene Carron, R...
It's been a while since I've done my last filmed interview, as the past two months I've been focusing on the soft launch of the Indiegogo campaign (more on that later), and going through the newly acquired collection of transparencies of Amsel's artwork.
As for more interviews, I have two scheduled for the week after Xmas, and am planning another two-week trip back to the east coast in early March -- made possible by our Indiegogo and Fractured Atlas campaigns. (Every dollar helps, and the support I've received thus far means the world to me.) There will be a lot of people in NYC I'll be talking to, but I'll still likely have to make a third trip out there later in the year.
Another fun new development is that I've been collaborating with some talented people on a series of motion graphics...
"I've done it all," answers Mike Salisbury, after I sheepishly ask him to describe himself.
The man's not kidding. This is the guy who redesigned ROLLING STONE from the ground up, turning the once unassuming magazine into a cultural phenomenon; the guy who branded a little toy company called Hasbro; who helped the youngest of the Jackson 5 go OFF THE WALL sporting glowing white socks; who introduced a camel named Joe; who designed a rather scandalous magazine ad for a man named Flynt, igniting a firestorm debate over free speech that would eventually be catapulted to the United States Supreme Court.
Mike Salisbury has remained such a creative giant through the years of revolutionary pop culture that to add that he's an art director with a few hun...