As Matthew Chojnacki wandered through the concert-poster booths at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival last year, a screen-printed image advertising the 1960 Hitchcock film Psycho caught his eye. The image, designed by Indianapolis graphic designer Dave Windisch, sparked an already percolating interest in Chojnacki—a Cleveland-based financial manager by day and author by night—to create a new book featuring the burgeoning field of alternative movie posters.
Today, after more than a year of sifting through tens of thousands of images on the Web, Chojnacki is set for the release of his new book, Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art from the Underground (Schiffer Publishing), a collection that showcases a mix of avant-garde art and minimalistic design for movies ranging from Sixteen Candles to Star Wars. The book, available at SchifferBooks.com and Amazon, includes the work of both Windisch and another Indy-based artist, Josh Eckert, among designs from dozens of other artists around the world.
MEET THE ARTISTS
Co-owner of the Indy-based screen-printing business Mile 44, Windisch has three movie posters featured in the book, including designs for The Godfather, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Psycho. He originally made the posters for the Historic Artcraft Theater in Franklin as advertisements for upcoming films. Because each poster is hand-printed, Windisch and his business partner Stacy Curtis only make between 40 and 75 copies of each poster. After that, they’re gone.
“It’s not like I’m just pressing print and having it come out of a machine,” Windisch says. “I’m hunched over a table doing these by hand, hoping I don’t run out of ink or beer by the time I’m finished.”
Day Job: Art Director/Production Manager for NUVO
Favorite Movie: “I don’t know how to answer that question without giving you 30. It’s Halloween time, so I’ll say the 1932 version of the Invisible Man. Out of the three [I covered] in the book, I’d have to say The Godfather is probably my favorite.”
Why He’s Excited: “The amount of talent in this book feels way above my level, and to know that [Chojnacki] picked what we do to represent our part of the state … I get more excited every time someone talks about the book.”
The Challenge of Alt Movie Posters: “You’re making something for a movie that people have seen dozens of times, and you have to show people a new way of looking at it.”
Find more of his work at Mile44.com.
Drawing since he was a kid and creating films since he was in high school, Eckert put his love for the two art forms together in his design for Straw Dogs. A scene in the film after the “big climactic battle” shows actor Dustin Hoffman looking “droopy,” as Eckert puts it, and it caught his attention enough to want to make this poster. “You have a vision of something that needs to exist and you just want to make it happen,” he says.
Though Eckert actually posted his design for Straw Dogs on the web in 2010, Chojnacki didn’t contact him about including the poster in his book until a couple of years later. “He just emailed me out of the blue,” says Eckert. And though they’ve never met (nor spoken on the phone), Eckert is excited to be a part of a collection like this one. “A lot of the artists that inspired me to do this are actually in the book with me,” he says.
Day Job: Student in IUPUI’s Digital Media program
Method: Used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop for faux construction-paper cutouts
Favorite Movie: “I always say Dawn of the Dead because I love horror movies. The 1978 version hits it out of the ballpark for me because it’s a little bit zombie, a little bit kitschy.”
Find his work at Society6.com.
Images courtesy Matthew Chojnacki/Schiffer Publishing