Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Poster Trends: The Warhol Look

Continuing my focus on poster designs that pay homage to famous artists, I present to you, The Warhol Look.

As if this one needs any introduction. The high contrast print look has been aped so many times now. From people's Facebook/Myspace pictures to movie posters, Andy Warhol's influence can be found just about anywhere.

Much like the Magritte Look last time, the poster designs are paying homage to one specific series of works by the artist, as opposed to the artist's overall philosophy or style. In the case of The Warhol Look, the posters are referring to these:

Warhol loved celebrities and the concept of being a celebrity. When he made images like Marilyn, Jackie or Mickey Mouse, he was re-idolizing the idols. You would never see him make this kind of portrait of just anybody. They had to be icons.

Posters that reference this look are interesting because the very fact that the movie posters are copying his style is in itself an expression of the ideas Warhol brought about when he printed images of pop culture icons. It's kind of a meta-design thing. Warhol himself, or rather his style, has become the thing that's being printed and idolized over and over for whatever use deemed necessary.

More specifically, though, using the style for a movie poster serves the purpose of idolizing whatever character is featured in the image - as if to suggest that this character is an icon with enough pop culture status or mystique to be worthy of Warhol's style. In that sense it's almost a parody. Because, with the exception of the middle poster at the top (Man from Plains, a documentary about Jimmy Carter) the posters are idolizing fictional people.

Here are a few more:

Factory Girl is a movie about Edie Sedgwick, one of Andy Warhol's muses. So the use of his style for the poster is unavoidable, but I can't decide if I really like any of these. The color usage is appealing, the high contrast is always pretty striking, but, all in all, it's a little unimaginative to me.

Next up on Poster Trends, Visual Puns & Metaphors (part I).

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