The other day, while doing an image search for poster art from Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin, I had a bit of an epiphany. I'd stumbled across the website of an award winning designer and illustrator named Akiko Stehrenberger, and was surprised to discover that she's responsible for quite a few of my favourite movie posters.
In her work for filmmakers as diverse as Astron 6, Takashi Miike, Todd Solondz and Don Coscarelli, Stehrenberger utilises different media and painterly techniques to create striking poster designs, ranging from delicate retro watercolours and bold hyperrealism, to arty photo manipulation. In this age of lazily thrown together Photoshop montages and equally lazy Illustrator vector images masquerading as "minimalism", it's refreshing to see movie posters produced with this degree of quality and professionalism.
Cynicism aside, I know there are plenty of other talented designer/illustrators currently making fantastic posters for horror and sci-fi films. I just think the majority of the best work is being made for the collector's market (by boutique studios like Mondo). The thing that distinguishes Stehrenberger from many of her peers then, is that almost all of her posters seem to be officially commissioned by studios and directors. These are legit movie posters.
Posters matter! The one-sheet is an essential part of a film's identity, a distillation of its meaning, intent, themes and images into a single defining image. That movie studios these days usually fall well short of creating anything that could be described as an iconic poster, speaks volumes about the way they view their "product". Quick turnaround, cost effective and disposable.
Movie posters can, and should be, works of art. Have a look at more of Akiko's posters here.