I found this strange vintage children's book today at a great shop in Champaign, IL, entitled The Student Who Became a King In Spite of Himself. The illustrator is Francois Szalay, also known as Colos, a Hungarian-born designer who specialized in collage, often incorporating stamps into his work as seen in some of these images. This was his first children's book. Below the images from this book I'm also including a couple of pages from his 14-yearcollage diary which looks really interesting.
Alvin Lustig is one of my design heroes. He went blind and died at a young age. These are some of his amazing book covers. To see more of these and appreciate them more fully, get your hands on a copy of this incredible book seen above, profiled here by Grain Edit.
Out February 1st on American Myth is the full-length debut of Tristen, an incredible artist that I've been fortunate enough to play with on occasion in her band and with my 90's tribute supergroup My So-Called Band (you may have heard Tristen join us for "Lovefool" or "Criminal"). I don't have any samples to post, you're just going to have to trust me on this one. Get on iTunes or Amazon, listen to some samples and pre-order Charlatans at the Garden Gate, one of the finest releases to come out of Nashville these days. You can even download the single here for free. I really can't speak highly enough of Tristen. You won't be disappointed and you'll thank me when she's big and famous. And if you happen to be in Nashville tonight, see her release show at the Basement.
I just did this poster for IFCFilms for Joe Swanberg's UNCLE KENT, a charming and funny film playing at Sundance this year. This image is one that we liked and thought would work great as a poster, but with a treatment that felt more in the style of a graphic novel by the likes of someone like Jeffrey Brown or Adrian Tomine. Check out UNCLE KENT at Sundance or OnDemand from IFCFilms.
Happy New Year from Sam's Myth... A few new things to share:
I just wrapped up this theatrical poster for IFCFilms for THE HOUSEMAID, a new remake of the classic Korean thriller. I saw this as a double feature with the original at Fantastic Fest this past year in Austin, so it was pretty neat to be asked to work on this poster. It's a great remake in that it doesn't tread to heavily on the original, but finds new elements in the story to explore, particularly the sexy. THE HOUSEMAID comes to theaters and On-Demand at the end of January. I've also just finished another theatrical poster that I'm excited to share soon.
Thanks to everyone for the outpouring of comments, links, and enthusiasm for my Top 10 of 2010 poster project. I'm glad a lot of you enjoyed this experiment of mine and liked some of the designs. I've had some people ask if prints will be available of any of these, and while there are no concrete plans right now to make digital prints or screenprints, I see some great potential in a screenprint of the BLACK SWAN design or an offset run of the Mark-Romanek-endorsed NEVER LET ME GO poster for fellow fans of that movie. If I get it together, I'll be sure to let everyone know. Thanks again for following me on this humbling little project.
Paying one last tribute to the year in film, I made my annual compilation of my favorite film scores from 2010. If you know me you know I'm a film score junkie, and I always look forward to assembling this playlist each year. You can stream this year's mix, featuring compositions by Rachel Portman, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Nigel Godrich, Sylvain Chomet, Alexandre Desplat & others here on 8Tracks.
The above illustration pays tribute to Gustav Holst's orchestral suite THE PLANETS, which will be performed next month by the Nashville Symphony. Each month, the symphony's program book cover features a different artist's interpretation of the month's selections and I was thrilled to be asked and assigned The Planets. This piece will appear on the February program cover.
I realized I hadn't updated my portfolio site in a while, so samsmyth.net is current once again. Thanks to everyone who's been coming by the blog and sharing links with friends and readers. Things may slow down a bit in the next month as I head back out on tour with Ben Folds, but I'll still have some new exciting things to share that I've been working on (particularly if you're a fan of the Criterion Collection), so please come back soon. Thanks again!
I made this design for my favorite film of the year, Mark Romanek's NEVER LET ME GO, a few months ago after I saw the film. I actually really liked the original poster, a dreamy photo of Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan running down a pier (a location in the movie, although we don't see this moment in the film), and I remembered one of my favorite shots of the three main characters looking out to the sea together. If you've seen the film, it's a key scene... maybe THE key scene in the whole film, and this image which I simply speckled up and stylized ever so slightly from Romanek's original frame (shot by cinematographer Adam Kimmel) seemed to represent perfectly so much about this film and story. I can't remember a time in which I was more disappointed and confused about a film not finding an audience. There are so many reasons that this movie should have been seen by a wide group of people, and for whatever reason it wasn't. Meeting Mark Romanek after I saw NEVER LET ME GO at Fantastic Fest and getting to tell him how much the film affected me was one of the top moments of my year, and I hope he knows how much it means to a lot of other people out there too. It's a future classic that's already waiting to be discovered.
A few other notes on 2010. I watched a record low number of new movies, yet managed to see almost everything I'd heard was of quality that interested me, which I'm very proud of. The greatest (and funniest and most entertaining) piece of film criticism I encountered this year was a series of video reviews of the STAR WARS prequels by Mike Stoklasa, aka Red Letter Media. For the second year in a row, the greatest technical achievement in the art of motion picture filmmaking belongs to the BBC, for their series LIFE, worth alone the purchase of a Blu-ray player and 52" HD TV. The best thing this year in the movies was Nigel Godrich's 8-bit Universal overture at the beginning of SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD. The best credit sequence of the year was for Gaspar Noe's ENTER THE VOID, a movie I loved the first time and hated the second time. My favorite performances of the year, besides the three outstanding leads of NEVER LET ME GO, were from Jesse Eisenberg, Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Lawrence and Edgar Ramirez. The next dozen or so movies that I loved this year beyond my top ten: EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, TRASH HUMPERS, COLLAPSE, LAST TRAIN HOME, EVERYONE ELSE, I AM LOVE, A PROPHET, CARLOS, SWEETGRASS, ANOTHER YEAR, RESTREPO and SOMEWHERE. I was pretty disappointed in both INCEPTION and SHUTTER ISLAND, though I consider both to be major successes in Hollywood filmmaking/moviegoing. The best film I saw this year still seeking distribution for next was Jang Cheol-Su's BEDEVILLED. Some movies I really wanted to see but still haven't yet include WHITE MATERIAL, GREENBERG, THE FIGHTER, INSIDE JOB, THE TOWN, MICMACS, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, BIUTIFUL, THE THORN IN THE HEART and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. My favorite scores of the year, which I have listened to incessantly and more than any other music, have been Rachel Portman's NEVER LET ME GO, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross' SOCIAL NETWORK, Sylvain Chomet's THE ILLUSIONIST, and John Adams' music used in I AM LOVE. The person I hated the most in 2010 was Tim Burton, and the person I loved the most was Andrew Garfield. I fell asleep during HOT TUB TIME MACHINE and THE KING'S SPEECH, cried during RABBIT HOLE, LAST TRAIN HOME and NEVER LET ME GO, and didn't walk out of any movies in 2010. Movies that I haven't mentioned yet but should somewhere: WILD GRASS, BABIES, MOTHER and KICK-ASS. I generally thought it was another good year for movies, even though it wasn't as good as others recently. The film I'm excited most for next year is Terrence Malick's TREE OF LIFE. As for the worst movie of the year, I honestly cannot determine which was a more grotesquely mammoth waste of time, energy and money between TRON LEGACY and THE LAST AIRBENDER. Probably the latter, but boy it's close.
Below I'm recapping my favorite posters I made for this project. Originally I wanted to design ten posters for my ten favorite movies of the year as an exercise in liberation; I could try new unorthodox ideas, work on my hand-drawing and lettering, things I've neglected and needed an excuse to work on. Life got hectic the last month or two of 2010 though, and I thought I'd have to bail on the idea. At the last minute I decided that it would be better to at least give it a try, even if the results were half-assed, and to just embrace the process. Get some ideas down, see which ones stick, see which ones have potential, and then move onto the next one, which was very hard to do with some of these that I felt could be much better, used more work. I came out with a couple of things I'm really proud of, a few I'm not so proud of, but all in all it was a fun creative project that paid tribute to the films that affected me the most this year. And it's something that I don't think anyone has really done before, perhaps understandably. Listmaking is inherently irrational, nonsensical, personal and messy, kind of like the creative process.
My second favorite film of the year (and if you know me or have kept up with my blatherings all year, you know my favorite at this point) was Sylvain Chomet's resurrection of Jacques Tati's unrealized screenplay THE ILLUSIONIST. This is a profoundly beautiful and moving animated film (a perfect marriage of hand-drawn animation and computer assistance) that is both a tribute to Tati's work and life, and distinctively a Sylvain Chomet film (his last feature, which like this one was almost completely dialogue-free, was the wonderful and acclaimed THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE). It's tricky coming up with a poster idea for an animated film whose characters have already been rendered in such a memorable way, but I took the opportunity to come up with my own illustration anyways, partially inspired by the illustrations of vintage Tati posters, partly just to have an excuse to illustrate some characters. I also definitely wanted to present the movie as a story about these two characters and the relationship between them. As a side note, I actually pitched a few rough ideas to Sony Pictures Classics for an ILLUSIONIST poster, which I'll post below just to share some more insight into wrapping one's head around marketing such a unique animated film: