Drew Struzan – you might not know the name, but I’d bet my movie collection you know his work. Struzan has created the movie poster artwork for some of the biggest classic names out there: Each of the Star Wars movies, Harry Potter, ET, The Thing, Indiana Jones, Star Trek, The Goonies, Hook, Hocus Pocus, Pan’s Labrynth, and many MANY more. Oeuvre is a collection spanning through the wide range of Struzan’s artwork, showcasing over 250 pieces of his artwork. George Lucas has written the foreword of this project. First he describes the importance of art in storytelling, “Art is not only a powerful means of communication, it has the ability to build ideas that go beyond the literal into the more spiritual nature of existence, in ways that are both profound and enlightening.” As the foreword progress, it becomes more personalized towards Struzan:
“When I first saw the illustration of Drew Struzan, I knew that his work was special and conveyed a sensibility, artistic flair and dramatic depth that would fit perfectly with the characters and films that I had created, from Star Wars to Indiana Jones … His work does much more than show a few characters – it tells its own stories and serves as dramatic and memorable entertainment in its own right. Drew has the talent not only a little grander, a little more glorious and more romantic than a photograph could ever convey.”
After the Foreword we come upon the Introduction by Struzan’s wife Dylan. She teaches us about his background, how he came to be in his career, his mentors and heroes, and his love of his profession. She quotes him in the beginning of the section: “My mind is always thinking about painting and creative possibilities. That is who I am.” She gives us an inside look into who Struzan is as a person. And, as a reader, I found myself actually caring to know. The artwork later presented in this book (ok, so I flipped ahead) is so layered in artistic and storytelling depth and so familiar to me having seen these images a hundred times before from my earliest childhood. I know the movies, I know the images, I found myself interested to know about the man behind the images.
This book is divided into five sections: Music, Movies, Publishing, Commercial, and Personal with the movie section being the largest and most easily recognizable and therefore immediately interesting. The movies span from the 1970s to present, so both the classics and modern movies are included.
Within the Music section you’ll find some older work from albums of well-known artists like Alice Cooper Black Sabbath, and albums like the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. Perhaps the art in this section is less well known, but surprising to know that his pencil was behind these projects.
The Personal section is small, but interesting. I should warn younger readers that there are some nudes included in this section. They are tasteful and imbedded with meaning and emotion, though. This section we get to see a bit into the man that Dylan Struzan was describing to us. These images are his own stories that he is expressing on the page as opposed to taking the stories of others and giving them life through his art.
This coffee table book is both a good read and entertaining visual stimulus. I am interested to see others intrigued by this book immediately upon coming across it – several times when friends have come to my home, they have picked up the book with surprise to discover artwork that is immediately recognizable and full of memories of enjoyment.