Tuesday, January 24, 2012

BEFORE BOB PEAK WENT HOLLYWOOD

Illustrator Bob Peak was probably best known for his movie posters.  As far as I am concerned, that's unfortunate. 

James Bond: The Spy Who Loved Me

Peak has been described as "The Father of the Modern Hollywood Movie Poster."  He created over 100 movie posters, including significant posters for blockbusters such as Apocalypse Now, Superman and the Star Trek movies.

Star Trek
Personally I find much of his movie work artistically disappointing.  Opinions will differ of course, but to me these posters often seemed formulaic and uninspired.  Worst of all, Peak-- or his Hollywood clients-- became enamored with a "diamond diffraction" gimmick which I find totally cheesy.



I thought about this recently when I visited the archives of the legendary Famous Artists School and came upon a lovely, neglected collection of drawings that Peak used for teaching in the early years, before he went Hollywood.  I think these simple drawings have more enduring value than Peak's movie posters:
   


These drawings have originality and sensitivity, but most of all they have a truthfulness about them.  Such qualities give humble drawings a strength and stateliness that outweigh all the budget and muscle of a Hollywood extravaganza.




Man, that's drawing!



These drawings have not had the same worldwide audience as the movie posters-- for the most part, they have only benefitted art students who pass through the Famous Artists School training-- but as far as I am concerned they are more inspirational and instructive than the movie posters for which Peak is so well known. 

56 Comments:

Blogger bill said...

Spot on David. But then the movie poster industry as a whole is disappointing isn't it. Sell with glitz and stars rather than quality (and sell his posters did). There are a few cool exceptions, Sideways took a cue from some older posters from Saul Bass etc., but shiny is better seems to be the movie poster credo. The eighties on seem to be the worst offending time periods.

Peak had a wonderful career as an illustrator a few over done movie posters notwithstanding.

1/24/2012 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've got a lot of balls for saying this David but it's really true. Maybe it's all that Hollywood was buying then.

JSL

1/24/2012 12:27 PM  
Blogger Donald Pittenger said...

I too agree that his non-Hollywood work was more interesting and visually satisfying. Though his H'wood stuff was very good for that genre.

I was a big fan of Peak's early work when I was a commercial art student and wished that I had at least a tenth of his ability --- or a twentieth of Fuchs'.

Nice to see those FAS drawings. You certainly have a nose for turning up great finds, David.

1/24/2012 4:57 PM  
Blogger etc, etc said...

Worst of all, Peak-- or his Hollywood clients-- became enamored with a "diamond diffraction" gimmick which I find totally cheesy.

Totally 1980's!

Bad haircuts, bad clothes...it was no aesthetic golden age.

wackier = new wavy-er = cooler!

1/24/2012 6:41 PM  
Blogger अर्जुन said...

So much hate on this blog.

Bob isn't alone, poster design reached its peak in the 30's.

Here's to a brighter tomorrow.

1/24/2012 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Regina Bulayevskaya said...

Thank you comrade Apatov for the posters. They look nice and shiny. Gosh! people there look almost like real... Just tell that artist of yours to fix the ears of the guy from the "Red Star Truck" . And don't forget to add the hammer and sickle on top!

1/24/2012 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Regina Bulayevskaya said...

Thank you for posting Bob Peak's drawings from the archive! Digging out rare works and showing people and events in unexpected perspective is your forte.

1/24/2012 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Regina Bulayevskaya said...

Thank you for posting Bob Peak's drawings from the archive! Digging out rare works and showing people and events in unexpected perspective is your forte.

1/24/2012 9:28 PM  
Anonymous MORAN said...

Peak and Fuchs were the two hottest illustrators of the 1960s. They were both super. Like Don Pittenger I wished I had 1/10 of Peak's talent or 1/20 of Fuch's talent. Thanks for this reminder of the best of Peak. I didn't know he started as part of the Famous Artist School.

1/24/2012 9:48 PM  
Blogger Joss said...

I remember being confused when I first saw some of Peak's posters in annuals. I recognized the images but thought Bob Peak was an artist I admired. This couldn't be the same guy, I thought...yuck! Reminds me of the difference between Leonard Cohen's earlier work and what he did later. But those drawings certainly grant a full pardon. Thanks for the visual vitamins.

1/25/2012 2:21 AM  
Blogger Joss said...

Of course you had to post numerous examples to make your point, but thanks for leaving out Rollerball and Apocalypse Now. Those two especially make me wanna wretch. I think the Camelot poster has positive attributes sufficiently counterbalancing the cheese.

1/25/2012 2:33 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

I am curious, but wouldn't be surprised if Peak agreed with this post. AD's after all, weren't exactly buying china marker drawings at the same rate or price as the schmaltz. I don't think David is passing judgment on Peak's aesthetic choices as much as expressing regret that we couldn't see more great drawing. Don't we all?

1/25/2012 10:18 AM  
Blogger kev ferrara said...

Peak was a strong draftsman with a real flair for the decorative.

In order to keep hip in a fast changing social environment, he had to rely more on the decorative side of his talent than his ability to draw, (mimetic integrity being basically a conservative value). For Peak, the market necessity for visual adventure naturally led to the same kinds of problems that fashionable designers of any stripe find themselves faced with; a learned inability to distinguish the new from the good. For the wise, meaningless beauty quickly loses its lustre. But wisdom doesn't sell in the short run. The Wizened isn't a demographic any fast-on-its-feet commercial enterprise shoots for.

Curiously, and maybe not coincidentally, Peak's glittering shard pieces have a striking visual similarity to Pyrite.

1/25/2012 10:44 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

bill, JSL and Donald Pittenger-- I must say, I expected to get beat up for this post because Peak's movie work is held up as his claim to fame today. So your reactions are a pleasant surprise. I suppose the audiences who focus on Peak's movie posters may be more interested in movies than art.

I also agree with each of you that Peak "had a wonderful career as an illustrator," and the main reason this post was not to disparage his movie work but to shine a spotlight on some splendid work that (wrongly) gets overshadowed by his less impressive movie work. You never see these drawings, but they are the kind of art for which I think he should be remembered.

Etc, etc-- I agree with you that the 1980s gave us some pretty egregious moments in the history of taste. The thing is, in the 1960s Peak was unconstrained by the taste of his time. He shot like a rocket past the 1960s conventions. I suppose by the 1980s Peak had lost some steam, or perhaps the money from Hollywood was just too good.

1/25/2012 10:55 AM  
Blogger etc, etc said...

Peak was a strong draftsman with a real flair for the decorative.

"Decorative"? For me the word implies architectonic significance. I'd call Peak's influence "graphics".

1/25/2012 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Regina Bulayevskaya said...

I think the style of these posters cannot be explained by good or bad taste alone.
We can always trace the connection between the art style and how people of the particular historical period relate to space and time.
Notice that when the artist is focused on 'here and now', you will find more delicate treatment of the details and texture. The touch becomes more sensitive. The work will radiate warmth and love to the imperfect reality.
Once the focus in space and time shifts to 'far away and remote future', than the artist's observation point shifts away too. He zooms out the scale, living behind the golden proportion of (space & time)/ person. Physical person becomes lost in the vast space of the universe and unreachable future. Surfaces and lines become sweeping and bold, sterile and smooth.
This kind of 'thinking big' you can find in Medieval art, in prewar Soviet Russia, Germany of 30s and 40s, futurism, cubism, Universal Style in architecture.
What I find interesting in the case of Bob Peak, that he is splitting into both kinds of perception, living in two different worlds simultaneously.

1/25/2012 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Regina Bulayevskaya said...

I think the style of these posters cannot be explained by good or bad taste alone.
We can always trace the connection between the art style and how people of the particular historical period relate to space and time.
Notice that when the artist is focused on 'here and now', you will find more delicate treatment of the details and texture. The touch becomes more sensitive. The work will radiate warmth and love to the imperfect reality.
Once the focus in space and time shifts to 'far away and remote future', than the artist's observation point shifts away too. He zooms out the scale, living behind the golden proportion of (space & time)/ person. Physical person becomes lost in the vast space of the universe and unreachable future. Surfaces and lines become sweeping and bold, sterile and smooth.
This kind of 'thinking big' you can find in Medieval art, in prewar Soviet Russia, Germany of 30s and 40s, futurism, cubism, Universal Style in architecture.
What I find interesting in the case of Bob Peak, that he is splitting into both kinds of perception, living in two different worlds simultaneously.

1/25/2012 2:40 PM  
Blogger kev ferrara said...

Etc, etc...

Every visual thing has graphic qualities. Not every visual thing has the quality of being attractively disposed to the eye, which is what I meant here by the term decorative.

The term Architectonic Significance is up there with Significant Form for sheer philosophical vagueness. In my opinion, there is no profit to one's understanding of aesthetics in the use of either of those terms.

1/25/2012 3:48 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

अर्जुन-- Hard to understand why Strawberry Switchblade never hit the big time, isn't it?

As for poster design of the 1930s, I agree it was far superior to the era when Peak worked but I think the art nouveau and Vienna Secession eras could give the 1930s a run for the money. And of course it's hard to find many poster artists who could top Lautrec.

Regina Bulayevskaya-- Do I get the impression that you think Peak's posters have all the subtlety and sophistication of hammy socialist realism? Does he glorify Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock as if they were Kim Il Jong? Ah, well, perhaps you have discovered a cultural link between the cult of personality in communism and the cult of personality in capitalism. Glad you liked the Peak drawings; you're right, I love to share pictures that I believe deserve a wider audience. There is not much point writing a blog to recirculate art that everyone has already seen. Often (as here) the neglected or hidden art is superior to the art that is already famous.

MORAN-- I agree. Fuchs was still doing remarkable work decades after the 1960s, when Peak was specializing in these posters.

1/26/2012 10:59 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Joss-- I agree with you completely. I think Peak's poster for Camelot and his poster for My Fair Lady were both splendid. They were both done early in his career, before he discovered the formula that led to abominations such as Rollerball. I'm sure he made a lot more money doing those repetitive later posters and I don't begrudge him his success. I just don't know why anyone would choose to emphasize that half of his career.

Larry-- Exactly! I suspect that Hollywood managers and publicity agents hammered out detailed contracts that specified how large the faces on the posters had to be and where they had to be placed. Their concern was not aesthetics, but the vanity and commercial success of the stars. But whatever the reason, Peak's posters just didn't seem to be able to recapture Peak's early magic.

1/26/2012 11:09 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Kev Ferrara wrote: "...mimetic integrity being basically a conservative value...."

Interesting point, Kev, and one I hadn't considered. In Peak's early work, you see a wonderful creative tension between "mimetic integrity" and what you call "the market necessity for visual adventure." For example, a realistic face and arms emerge from a robe of swirling psychedelic shapes, or an accurately drawn figure is colored with screaming oranges and reds and purples. So I would argue that at one point Peak was able to preserve some mimetic integrity while setting off skyrockets. (I would also argue that many of these drawings were pretty darn adventuresome for their time, yet we can identify Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Rex Harrison quite clearly.)

Contrast this early, satisfying work with the work of a Jim Steranko, for example, who used bold op art effects but never really learned to draw, and you can see what an important ingredient that mimetic skill was.

I can forgive any pioneer for problems distinguishing the "new" from the "good," especially in those first tentative explorations. But there came a time when the style of these movie posters was no longer new. It was repetitive.

I agree with you that "wisdom doesn't sell in the short run," which makes it all the more impressive when the greats are able to blend wisdom with accessible, popular elements. As we all know, Shakespeare was wildly popular with the common man because he was able to combine bawdy jokes, vulgar plots and bad puns with some of the most sublime language the English speaking world has ever known. I guess that's the trick, isn't it (if you feel like eating on a regular basis).

1/26/2012 11:55 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Regina Bulayevskaya-- I agree with you that good or bad taste should not determine the quality of these pictures. Good taste can often be the enemy of inventiveness (which is why Robert Fawcett said that the most creative work is often a little vulgar.) I also agree that we tend to think about distant things more abstractly, and render them in a flatter and more idealized form, than things that are close up and intimate. However, I don't think that explains the full difference here. In addition to posters for Superman and Star Trek, Peak did posters for movies about every day, contemporary people (such as "Every Which Way But Loose") and it did not seem to help, at least in my opinion.

Etc, etc and Kev Ferrara-- I assumed by the word "decorative" you were both talking about a certain kind of pattern, such as psychedelic paisley shapes, or geometric designs with which Peak often adorned his work. I always thought he was inspired by the decorative aspects of the Viennese Secession artists like Klimt. He did a good job with them.

1/26/2012 12:38 PM  
Blogger StimmeDesHerzens said...

Re: "Regarding Zinaida. It was not only the wealth that irritated the Bolsheviks. The remains of the upper class, the ideology they were representing was a threat to the Red Republic."
sound Familiar ...somehow?

Re: "When I reached middle age, teenage girls began to look like unbaked cookie dough to me-- too simplistic and vapid, with none of the character and depth that made a woman attractive. They had tightly stretched skin, but so does a cocktail frank."
A 'cocktail frank'? Is that something peculiar to NYC? !!:-)

sorry for the belated comments, but thats ok, right? many g B

1/26/2012 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Regina Bulayevskaya said...

You cannot underestimate the power of advertisement as a tool of ideology. Too many people prefer to follow their emotions rather
than facts. I see that happening here, now.
I remember my both grandfathers( the sweetest people you could find!) arguing passionately about how good Stalin was... Most of the folks of that generation were not different. And those arguments over Stalin were taking place decades after Kruschev's Thaw, way after all the facts and documents were revealed.

1/26/2012 12:59 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

StimmeDesHerzens-- I don't live in NY but I'm sure they have cocktail franks there-- they are merely small, plump hot dogs with taught casings, served as hors d'oeuvres at cocktail parties.

You are correct, it is never too late to chat about some old posts. Sometimes people comment on posts that are years old. However, people at this current post about Bob Peak may raise an eyebrow about why we are talking here about raw cookie dough.

Regina Bulayevskaya-- are you certain that the people (including your grandfathers) were loyal to Stalin as a result of "the power of advertisement as a tool of ideology"? It is certainly possible, but when I think about miraculous feats of loyalty such as the defense of Stalingrad, I assume it was motivated less by the reach of socialist realism propaganda and more by an essentially conservative love of mother Russia and a passionate bond with the earth-- to include "Uncle Joe."

1/26/2012 9:14 PM  
Anonymous Regina said...

I am not saying that they loved their motherland because of the propaganda. I am saying that propaganda created an image of a soft, modest, intelligent person. Stalin portraits were everywhere. His charming smile was fallowing you for 24 hours.
Would you wish for Americans to have unconditional love to their president?

1/27/2012 12:07 AM  
Blogger अर्जुन said...

""Hard to understand why Strawberry Switchblade never hit the big time, isn't it?""

I was about to shout 'Hear! Hear!' but then realized that it was more of your smug styled hate …unbelievable.

Lautrec, did someone say Cormon student. (just keepin' on message)

~FIVE years~ "In April 1882 he joined the studio of Léon Bonnat, and remained there until September, when Bonnat closed it down. Lautrec and many of Bonnat's students then transferred to the studio of Fernand Cormon, who specialized in an unusual genre, painting scenes based on archeological findings from prehistory and early antiquity. Cormon, working in the less formal milieu of Montmartre, was progressive in other respects, and encouraged his students to sketch out-of-doors in addition to rendering the requisite academic subjects in the studio. Lautrec remained in Cormon's atelier until the spring of 1887, and during this time initiated friendships with fellow students such as Louis Anquetin and Vincent van Gogh that would be meaningful to him later on."

1/27/2012 2:52 AM  
Blogger etc, etc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/27/2012 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Regina said...

Delayed reaction. I realised only last night that there was a misunderstanding with my Star Trek joke. I had so many laughs that did not see right away that you were serious with your three questions in response. I just was silly and that is all to it. And I love to watch the old Star Trek. Your tone in the question about loyalty to Stalin and Motherland would not leave me alone. That made me rewind the whole conversation back to find the point where I think misunderstanding started.

1/27/2012 9:37 AM  
Blogger Matthew Harwood said...

The big innovation in the 1980s was the PC. Was Bob Peak experimenting with this new medium and manipulating his drawings with computer graphic software? It seems to me this would account for the repetitive use of the star burst effect/affect.

1/27/2012 11:27 AM  
Blogger kev ferrara said...

Cocktail Franks are food kitsch. I think they were hip in posh lounges in the 1940s, at garden parties on Long Island in the 1950s, and then became a staple of backyard barbecues in suburbia into the 1970s, and now I only see them at grade D art gallery openings along with cheap wine and carrot sticks. (This pop cultural moment brought to you by, I Just Pulled This Out of My Keyster™)

Cormon is another interesting transitional figure, like Franz Von Stuck, who bridged students from the old ways of the force into modernism.

Funny you should mention Steranko... I just looked at bunch of his paintings recently on some blog somewhere, and... well... let's put it this way; he didn't just have a problem with memesis. His instincts were that of the improvisational performer... not a composer. And you can see that sensibility in full flower in those wild S.H.I.E.L.D. pages he turned out.

It is interesting to note that Peak's creative variety played out solely within the medium of the flat image, versus Steranko's flitting from this medium to that without ever mastering any. Steranko's character seemed to like to make a big splash and then get out of the pool, (and I think his obvious ineptitude as a cover artist sent him into publishing, frankly)... while Peak swam and swam and swam, committed to moving in the ocean of visual possibilities, even if it meant doggy paddling in the aesthetic shallows every once in a while. It may very well be Peak's draughtsmanship, as you suggest, that kept him afloat through all his freestyling. Came hell or high water, that man could draw!

Matthew, Peak's cheese predated graphics on the PC. His effects, to me, seem more related to the cheesy effects one saw with Hot Rod and van airbrush artists of the day (as well as Advertising touch up artists) who came up with all sorts of effective ways to make things look glittering, shiny and smooth. (Photoshop's shiny and pretty tacklebox of filters and brushes was clearly born of the same legacy.)

1/27/2012 1:49 PM  
Blogger Matthew Harwood said...

Kev,
Help me with the chronology:
Architects were introduced to AutoCad in 1982, 83
Illustrators started with Adobe Illustrator and Corel in 1986, 87
Didn’t 2D Graphic Designers have something predating both?

1/27/2012 4:57 PM  
Blogger StimmeDesHerzens said...

David, seems to me that the bookkeeper/military pilot dude who commented here for so long then completely disappeared (most unfortunately) remarked on how he saw you one day in a limo in NYC so I just made the assumption... and, what a great (serious)definition of the 'cocktail frank'. I was basically just kind of amused; its been ages since I saw one of those things-cocktail parties aren't something i am used to on top of that. Sometimes I think that being in your blog is sort of like being at a cocktail party...being able to mingle with diverse people who are so artsy and knowledgable! and one can say anything without repercussion except that you might delete!! :-)

1/27/2012 6:48 PM  
Blogger अर्जुन said...

Fernand Cormon = Obi-Wan Kenobi! More often than not, one can see the genesis of an artist's style by studying the work of their master. The cavalier fashion in which art historians dismiss 2, 5, 7 years of an artist's life because the sociopolitical reality doesn't fit their prescribed narrative is beyond absurd.

~""then completely disappeared""

1/27/2012 10:45 PM  
Blogger Joss said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/28/2012 5:34 AM  
Blogger Joss said...

Matthew Harwood--In the 80's, "computer technology" and "effects" infected the general cultural aesthetic, but it wasn't any where near refined enough to create images like these. It was yet way more crude. Graphics designers may have had tools predating illustrator, but this is more painting than graphic design.

I'd agree with Kev, airbrush is the evil influence here if not the very tool of Satan. Photoshop didn't arrive until 1990 and if I remember correctly it took the better part of the 90's if not the early aught's for the quality of the graphics tools, not to mention the aesthetic maturity of it's users to begin to approach these Peaks(glittering though they be).

1/28/2012 5:47 AM  
Blogger Joss said...

अर्जुन--With only a cursory study of Strawberry Switchblade and Cormon, I can't see how either manages to rise out of commercial/traditional mediocrity while Lautrec and Peak seem to occupy both that, as well as something more original and bold.

You're endless Kitsch links never disappoint.
You are like the resident fool.
It's like you take David's thesis about lowbrow art to it's absolute extreme, but the timeless classical qualities are lost in favor of the wackiness of creative freedom.
..Which is a great value in my opinion. So, I geuss I'm thanking you and just trying to make some sense of your carryings on. I always find it heartening that David has the broadness of mind to appreciate your offerings.

1/28/2012 6:10 AM  
Blogger अर्जुन said...

Like the resident fool, or: Like a drunk in a midnight choir

1/28/2012 7:05 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

अर्जुन-- I am crushed you could think I was being insincere about Strawberry Switchblade. How could a song with the lyrics, "I hate the trees / And I hate the flowers / And I hate the buildings..." be anything less than a hit?

I was so smitten by their song that I checked out their fan web site where I learned, "What was so great about Strawberry Switchblade was the imperfection. It was in their look (they called themselves the 'scabby witches from Glasgow'), and it was in their sound.... What set them apart was the harsh edge." Well, nobody loves a harsh edge more than I. You can bet my heart started to flutter as I read about their lead singer: "Rose was the least well educated person I ever met.... she knew practically nothing. She is living proof that there is a class of individual, or was, in this society that if they do not show up at school no-one comes looking for them." अर्जुन, you seem to know all about Strawberry Switchblade; tell me truthfully, do you know where Rose is now, and is she married?

Etc, etc-- Not bad, but is anyone other than Sean Connery wearing stockinged feet?

Regina-- sorry about that! I've never found it safe to assume that someone from Russia can be silly on the subject of Stalin, and I thought you were accusing Peak of applying socialist realism techniques in his posters. But we can always use more silliness around here, so welcome aboard!

1/28/2012 10:00 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Matthew Harwood-- an interesting question, and one deserving of further study. I first saw those starburst rays on Pinocchio's wishing star, but Disney had the good taste not to overplay the technique. I think it evolved over time, through toothpaste commercials and BeeGees publicity stills, before Peak adopted it. As I understand it, technically the phenomenon is called a "specular highlight" and the rays that we see are produced by a "star filter" attached to a camera lens. You can buy them with 2, 4, 6 or 8 point stars. Peak seems to have had a star filter attached to his brush for these posters. But in fairness, I can imagine the art directors for Hollywood studios specifying more and more stars in their posters.

Kev Ferrara-- very funny. I can tell that between StimmeDesHerzens's concern with my politically incorrect characterization of young female flesh and your expertise on culinary socioeconomics, I will soon be trapped with no room to maneuver on the subject of cocktail franks. So let me just change the subject and say that I thought your assessment of Steranko's work was very well put.

Joss-- I agree with you that the airbrush is the tool of the devil. With the exception of George Petty, I can't think of an artist I like who did work with an airbrush. I'm sure there must be someone.

1/28/2012 10:37 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

StimmeDesHerzens-- As I recall, that "bookkeeper/military pilot dude" was Rob Howard, and I miss him too. I do go to NY on business, but I doubt Rob Howard could have seen me in a limo there because he had never met me and had no idea what I look like. I think he was just making fun of me for something I wrote about Peter Max's Rolls Royce.

Joss-- I have repeatedly tried and failed to understand the bisociative algorithm in अर्जुन's mental search engine, but he is the rogue ball bearing that gives me faith that Google will never be able to take over the world completely.

1/28/2012 10:47 AM  
Blogger etc, etc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/28/2012 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

So is the argument that Peak knocked this stuff out 'because theat's what Hollywood wanted' an acceptable reason for producing glossy crap? I'd find it easier to accept a major lapse in artistic taste than outright greed.

1/28/2012 2:37 PM  
Blogger Joss said...

Etc. Etc.--Sometimes your style of communication
confounds me. Are you criticizing my strident characterization of the role of computers in the 80's?
Suggesting I am lame because I have a blog sans content? Must you mince words?

1/29/2012 11:28 PM  
Blogger Joss said...

David--I agree Petty is dynamite. I guess when the effect takes such a backseat to the image it becomes irrelevant.

I couldn't think of any examples myself of great airbrush work, and yet here they are among some of my favorite images. It never occurred to me that they were airbrushed:

http://vi.sualize.us/joss/?page=2

Etc. etc.--No insight or info, but the above link is just a few examples of my taste in art.

I think those lines and tones are just shading effects, though stockinged feet has a nice poetic ring.

1/29/2012 11:53 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Edward wrote: "I'd find it easier to accept a major lapse in artistic taste than outright greed."

Well... I'm not sure there's anything "outright" about either explanation. Peak was a talented and hardworking artist. It is not unusual for radical innovators to cool down after a while (most artists can't even achieve that kind of blazing heat to begin with). And it is difficult to fault aging artists for responding to the market and doing work that makes them the most money in the shortest period of time. If there is someone off base here, I'd say it is more the fans and critics who focus on Peak's movie posters, while overlooking his far superior (but less glitzy) collection of ads and magazine illustrations.

Joss-- Thanks for sharing your collection of images. That's a great Petty, and that powerful Kollwitz has always been a personal favorite of mine.

2/02/2012 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These drawings are gorgeous...but I think it's become way too easy to denigrate Peak's movie work. I think it falls into the trap of putting something down just because it's popular...if the masses love it, it can't be worth much, right?

I admit, the reflecting surface stuff was probably overdone, but he was a working commercial artist, and that is probably what the clients wanted.

Peak will always live up to his name, in my book.

Ken Meyer Jr.

2/02/2012 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for the comment I just saw regarding Apocalypse Now...my opinion couldn't be further away...if anything, that poster downplayed all the effects he had become known for (can't remember where if falls sequentially). Sorry...one of my faves.

Ken Meyer Jr.

2/02/2012 4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, one last thing...those specular effects were produced by pastel, if I remember my reading correctly.

Ken

2/02/2012 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Tony Robertson said...

David Apatoff said "Contrast this early, satisfying work with the work of a Jim Steranko, for example, who used bold op art effects but never really learned to draw, and you can see what an important ingredient that mimetic skill was." When was the last time you looked at a Steranko drawing, 1969? He did learn to draw and is still drawing. See samples of his drawings here: http://thedrawingsofsteranko.com

2/28/2012 10:00 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Tony Robertson-- I am always happy to give an artist a fresh look, and have visited the web site you linked. Are there particular categories or drawings you think demonstrate Steranko's new capability? By the way, I am a big fan of Steranko's writing about comics and I admire his love and enthusiasm for the medium.

2/28/2012 2:45 PM  
Blogger Benjamin Marcus Raucher said...

yes I do think the movie posters are not really inspired.

Benjamin Raucher

3/12/2012 1:47 PM  
Blogger Sean Miller said...

Very nice. Reminds me of some of Ralph Steadmans work.

3/15/2012 1:47 PM  
Blogger Media1040 said...

I have an original Bob Peak Key art for the Movie The Island for sale. Contact me at filmads4u2@aol.com
Apprised at $6,000- selling for $3,000 to move.

Phil

3/14/2013 5:06 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...

My mother knew Bob Peak in the late 1940s, well before he became famous. She thinks he may have had romantic intentions toward her because he gave her a beautiful hand-painted portrait that depicts my mother and the image of a man in distress. It's haunting and quite stunning. I was fortunate enough to inherit this upon my mother's death. It hangs in my front hall and I just love the feelings it evokes when I look at it.

6/18/2013 7:11 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

I have an original Bob Peak from the 1940s. It's of my mother; she thinks he may have been in love with her. It is stunning and one-of-a-kind. I would never part with it but I do wonder about its value.

6/18/2013 7:14 PM  

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