Tuesday, 24 January 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.