Two weeks ago I had the rare opportunity to meet Drew Struzan when he presented Frankenstein at the New Beverly Cinema in LA. Then just a few days later a huge book showed up at my house, Drew Struzan: Oeuvre. This book collects most of Struzan’s art into one gorgeous, oversized volume. Each page is a high quality reproduction of his work (including the Frankenstein poster he did for Mondo!), and it’s the kind of book you settle in with for hours. Actually, it’s the kind of book you consider ripping apart so you can frame individual pages.
There’s a ton of Star Wars and Indiana Jones stuff in there - at this point I suspect Struzan could paint Harrison Ford in his sleep - but what I really dug was the lesser-known work. There’s a bunch of great rock art Struzan did in his early days, including wonderful Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath paintings. There’s art for movies you’ve never seen (some of which is way, way better than the Indiana Jones stuff, honestly) as well as commercial work and even some Franklin Mint plates. The last section of the book is all personal work, the paintings Struzan does for himself as an artist. It’s fascinating to see how different his personal vision can be from his commercial one, but also how they can often be remarkably similar.
Publisher Titan Books sent over some images for you guys to peek at. I sort of wish they had sent some of his non-geek stuff, since that was what intrigued me the most, but who am I to turn down posting paintings of Captain Kirk?
By the way, while the Oeuvre title indicates this is the definitive Struzan collection, I’d love to see a companion piece. Struzan has some good stories behind some of the paintings, and I know there are sketches and mock-ups that could be published as well. The poster for The Thing, for instance, was commissioned so last minute that Struzan stayed up all night painting it and it was rushed to Universal while still wet. When it was being photographed for the poster some of the paint smudged on the glass. And then there’s Star Wars - Struzan didn’t meet George Lucas until 20 years after he painted his first Star Wars image.
EDIT! Hey, it turns out Titan hear my cries… a year ago. The Art of Drew Struzan contains much of what I wanted in a companion book. I’m off to order it, and you can do the same here. Thanks to Keith Calder for the heads up.