2017 continued the trend of great film posters, whether they be commissioned, official or just regular fan art, there was something great out there for everyone. In 2017, I completed my Top 100 Mondo Posters list, which a fair few of my Top 10 posters of 2017 appeared on. As per my 2015 and 2016 lists, I’ve provided a few honourable mentions before the Top 10 list.
Nightmare on Elm Street – Mike Saputo
Mike Saputo’s work has been consistently getting better over the years. His Pet Sematary print is one of the best horror prints of the last few years. And it’s with the horror genre that Saputo has found the most success. This is his third Nightmare on Elm Street print, and it’s easily the best. The eerie image of Freddy’s eye leering over kids innocently playing is quietly terrifying. Powerful stuff.
La La Land – Alexey Kot
The Oscar winning La La Land had an impressive ad campaign. The striking purple and blue background with a dancing Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling was one of the most endearing images of that Oscar period, but it’s Alexey Kot’s vintage-esque commissioned print that really stuck a flag in the sand as being the ‘best’ La La Land poster. Kot’s work feels like it’s pulled straight from the classic Hollywood film era, and is all the better for it.
Citizen Kane – Martin Ansin
In my ‘Top 100 Mondo Posters’ list from 2017, Martin Ansin came out on top with his Bride of Frankenstein print. While his Citizen Kane print isn’t at that level, it’s still an impressive print, with spot on likenesses for Orson Welles. This is a quite literal image that displays the man behind the legend that is Kane. Striking, powerful choice of colours, and great typography as well, this is an impressive print from a great artist.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Matt Ferguson
Matt Ferguson’s first Guardians of the Galaxy print was an homage to the iconic first Star Wars poster. With the second Guardians film landing in 2017, it makes sense that he’d revisit that well to create an homage to The Empire Strikes Back. This is another great print from Ferguson, and is merely missing the top ten for being an homage.
Piper – JC Richard
JC Richard hits a career high with this print based on the Pixar short film, Piper – a truly beautiful short film, with almost photo-realistic sand and water. Richard presents the innocence of the young bird and the parental love from its doting mother with all its necessary beauty. This feels like we’re peering from behind the reeds, looking at an innocent moment in time. A lovely print.
10. Plan 9 From Outer Space – Sara Deck
Artist Sara Deck appeared out of nowhere in 2016 with a stunning Vampyr print. That print would have made my 2016 list if I’d known it existed. As a slight mea culpa, Deck’s Plan 9 From Outer Space appears here as a great retro print that displays Ed Wood’s classic fillum in all its shonky glory. Flimsy UFO’s and wonky gravestones hang under the mammoth, looming faces of Bela Lugosi, Maila Nurmi, and Lyle Talbot. The mere fact that a wonderfully, affectionately created piece of art for this much maligned film, exists is wonderful. Make sure to keep an eye on Sara Deck – she’s going to go places.
9. Antarctica (The Thing) – Jason Edmiston
Is there literally anything that Jason Edmiston can’t do? Lifelike looking portraits. Emotive, powerful paintings of eyes. Paintings of iconic houses. Ice cream with a skull. Seriously. The talent that powers this great Canadian is endless. The print version of his The Thing painting from the ‘Home’ show he did with Ken Taylor is easily one of Edmiston’s best work. The thin typography hangs over the remote facility on Antarctica like an ominous threat, with a powerful, red dog running on its fortuitous path to bring doom to an unknowing group of men.
8. Drive – Rory Kurtz
This is, in my humble opinion, the 85th best Mondo poster ‘of all time’. The neon colours used to promote the film are superbly implemented by artist Rory Kurtz. In the poster collecting scene, the term ‘Kurtz hurtz’ became a resounding catchcry throughout 2017 – his work is that great, that the available prints would be snapped up in seconds, and then the aftermarket would be swamped with people wanting to buy them for hugely inflated prices. I mean, just look at this Drive print. It’s truly great. It captures Gosling’s aloof, nameless character perfectly – standing in a pose of contemplation, with the impending hammer driven violence just around the corner in his hand. You can almost hear the College feat. Electric Youth song A Real Hero starting up in air just by looking at this uber-cool print.
7. Wonder Woman – Tula Lotay
Artist Tula Lotay has cemented herself as being a great female artist who depicts women characters in powerful poses. There’s a reason why she’s on this list twice. Her depiction of Gal Gadot’s superhero is powerful. Diana stands in her iconic costume, with her shield hanging behind her, in an almost ethereal manner. Lotay’s aesthetic is driven by a dream-like quality, and is aptly applied to a character who is taken from her idyllic home land of Themyscira to a world wrought by war. This is powerful, impressive work, and in a field that is driven by male artists, it’s great to see an artist like Tula Lotay make her presence known.
6. Videodrome – Kilian Eng
Kilian Eng’s work usually skews towards the science fiction fare of the world. 2001, Blade Runner, Alien and Argo, just to name a few, portray otherworldly science fiction stories in impressive, ‘visionary’ manners. It’s then great to see Eng draw from a different science fiction world – namely, a David Cronenberg science fiction world. Cronenberg’s Videodrome is a stunning, fever dream of horror, and Eng’s aesthetic works so well with this text. The ominous face of Debbie Harry hangs in the background over the figure of James Woods in the mind altering head unit. The disturbing, disfigured gun hand hangs in the air, providing the perfect representation of Cronenberg’s trademark body horror.
5. Green Room – Oliver Barrett
Oliver Barrett’s great Green Room print came in at number 82 on my favourite Mondo posters list, and really, it’s just a truly brilliant print. This is what I had to say about it:
Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room is an anxiety attack of a film. It’s punk driven narrative is an ode to bands like Black Flag – take no prisoners music that is balls to the wall and letting you know exactly what the fuck it’s there for.
The gore in Green Room is immediate and gut wrenching. Your stomach twists as Anton Yelchin pulls his arm back from the crack of a door after being attacked by an unseen man, the skin and viscera in tethers. Oliver Barrett pairs that scene with Black Flag’s iconic punk album. It’s so genius, it hurts.
4. Personal Shopper – Tula Lotay
Tula Lotay rides again, this time with the Olivier Assayas film Personal Shopper. Kristen Stewart delivers one of her finest performances in a film that’s fuelled by grief and uncertainty. Unsure of who she is, and who she wants to be, Maureen is shown testing the waters of what kind of image she wants to exude. A risqué costume that is almost like a bondage device shows Maureen as someone who is embracing her vulnerability. This is Lotay’s most powerful print, capturing the intensity of Stewart’s performance, alongside the ghostly elements of the film.
This is what Tula Lotay had to say about creating this print:
Personal Shopper is one of those films that completely takes you by surprise – a surreal, dreamlike experience that mixes different genres in a unique, haunting and unsettling way. Kristen Stewart is totally beguiling – gorgeous, sexy, defiant and vulnerable – inhabiting a world of high fashion with a cool and confident detachment while a disturbing and dark mystery begins to unravel.
With hints of Lynch and Kieslowski this is a film like no other that will transfix you and stay with you long after watching it. I fell in love with the movie straight away and that made it very easy to pull the ideas together for the poster. I wanted something ethereal like the film, that captures the tension and underlying sexiness of Stewart’s character. I hope I’ve done it justice.
3. The Aviator – Jonathan Burton
Jonathan Burton’s work has gone from strength to strength. In 2017, he did everything from a print for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, to evoking classic Disney animation with 101 Dalmatians, and even continuing his great Hitchcock inspired work with Rear Window. But none topped his work for The Aviator. The chaos of seeing different planes in flight, like a choreographed orchestra of madness, is a perfect presentation of the mind of Howard Hughes. The different variants of the print exist to help evoke the styles of film from the era that The Aviator is set in, as well as the aesthetic that Martin Scorsese employs to imitate that era. More of this please.
Jonathan Burton had this to say about making the print:
The Aviator is Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s depiction of the compulsive nature of Howard Hughes, a man whose life spanned many decades and obsessions. When deciding on an artist for the project we knew we needed someone who could capture the grand history of Mr. Hughes. Jonathan’s art perfectly depicts both the frantic energy and old Hollywood charm of the Hell’s Angels sequence, portraying Hughes as both man-of-the-sky and cinematic rebel.
The regular and variant versions each represent specific color palettes in the film. Scorsese and his team created two unique palettes (Technicolor inspired two color and vibrant three-strip) to approximate the technology of the film industry in the movie’s time periods.
2. mother! – James Jean
Artist James Jean has regularly painted stunning, surreal images that evoke emotions you had no idea you could feel. His work continually impresses, surprises and astounds. So, in 2017 when he delivered a series of great film related prints, well, it was hard to choose a favourite. His Blade Runner is one of the finest for the film, and his Shape of Water print evokes the beautiful sketches that Richard Jenkins character draws in the film. But, it’s his two posters for Darren Aronofsky’s mother! that really hit home the most. Jennifer Lawrence’s titular character holding her heart out, in a pleading, yearning manner – giving all that she has. Javier Bardem’s father sits in a swarm of flames, holding a worldly token while he stares into the middle ground uncaringly. The mere fact that these were official posters for a high budget, wide release film, should help put another shovel of dirt on the ‘floating faces’ posters that litter the world of cinema.
1. Pinocchio – Jessica Seamans
Jessica Seamans Pinocchio print is easily one of my favourite posters out there. It leapt right into my top 10 Mondo posters of all time, and instead of banging on about it again, I’ll just repost what I said about the print in that list:
If there were one property that I have been waiting for a perfect representation of in print form from Mondo, it would be Disney’s classic Pinocchio. I grew up watching Pinocchio, and feel that out of all the animated Disney films it was the one that shaped me the most. There is a purity and innocence to the character of Pinocchio that helps reinforce his naivety within the desperate and dark moments that he finds himself in.
After he manages to find himself in the darkest, dankest amusement park to exist, Pleasure Island (where’s the ride for this one Disney?), Pinocchio manages to escape. It’s a profound moment within the film where his journey to becoming a real boy takes a precarious path, Pinocchio finds himself with a tail and a pair of donkey ears. Things could not get worse.
That is, until he heads into the ocean and encounters the terrifying Monstro – a giant whale that consumes ships and destroys the ocean (Moby Dick, eat your heart out). It’s the one image that I have been itching to see – the culmination of events that have pushed this creation into the world: Pinocchio on a journey to find his father, instead encountering a sneering, giant whale. Jessica Seamans (one half of the great team Landland) did exactly that – Pinocchio stands in fear as Monstro hangs above him.
As a child, there was nothing more terrifying that the endless fury that drives Monstro, and here it is in print form, a salient reminder that even though we are born into this world as innocents, we are in turn moulded, and shaped by the world, and it is up to us to understand the paths we should take to be better people. Sometimes we embark on paths that we feel are the right ones, but turn out to be ones that bring about doom. Pinocchio’s conquering of Monstro with his father Geppetto by his side shows that he has finally learned to be a real, understanding, compassionate and empathetic real boy. It never fails to move me, and Seamans print accentuates that even more.
So that’s my favourite film posters for 2017. Let me know in the comments below what were your favourite posters for 2017.