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Book Review: Oeuvre: Drew Struzan

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Sunday, October 23, 2011

Last year The Art of Drew Struzan was published by Titan Books, and for any film aficionado who’s ever been a fan of the man’s impressive work painting movie posters, it was a must-have. If you want more of Struzan’s beautiful movie work, then his latest collection will satisfy your craving.
If, like me, you wanted to learn more about Struzan’s body of work, his beginnings and what he paints as personal projects, then this new book is a must have.

Oeuvre: Drew Struzan is a perfect companion to The Art of Drew Struzan. While Struzan’s artwork is the subject matter of this heavy coffee table tome, written credit is listed for both Drew and his wife of 42 years Dylan. That approach makes sense as Oeuvre examines the course of Struzan’s painting career, beginning in the 1970s when he first got started painting album covers for the likes of Alice Cooper, Jefferson Airplane and Ozzy Osbourne. Call me naïve, but I never even knew that Struzan was doing this stuff to get noticed in the business. Looking at his album cover artwork is like taking a trip back into time and it makes you nostalgic for those days when you could lose yourself into the artwork while your favorite record played in the background.

Oeuvre is broken up into five major sections that collect Struzan’s work from the past four decades: music, movies, publishing, commercial and personal. The movie material is varied and spread across the years, so you can hop from his poster design from John Carpenter’s 1982 pic The Thing to last year’s promo poster for The Walking Dead. Several times you get a contained spread that’s devoted to one film, like 6 pages of various Indiana Jones artwork or a grouping of Star Wars art.




Sci-fi isn’t the only subject matter represented here in the movie section. Pages are given to obscure films from the 70s, 80s and 90s, as well as guilty pleasures from pop culture. There’s B-movies and bombs here, like the poster artwork for Michael Keaton’s Johnny Dangerously or a collection of Struzan artwork for several Police Academy movies. As a movie fan, I’m amazed that some of these forgettable titles were graced with Struzan poster artwork. Given the second opportunity to look at these, the detail isn’t any less than his work done for the Harry Potter movies or any other mega-project that was a guaranteed hit. Struzan’s artistry makes every poster look like it deserves to hang in a place of pride in a gallery, even if the poster in question is of a female police officer baring her cleavage prominently.

The promotional section features work done for DVD covers, promo posters, book covers and such. I recognized a special Christmastime cover of Johnny Carson done for TV Guide from the 1980s. Commercial works contain a few Lucasfilm commissioned pieces but there’s things like several poster designs for an annual Lake Arrowhead music festival, collector plates for Star Trek, The Three Stooges and Lady Diana, portraits of screen stars from the 1940s and 50s and other rare pieces that I’ve never seen before.






Last comes the personal section. It’s here we’re given an opportunity to see what Drew Struzan might be like, and what I gather is that he’s got an experimental streak in him. For an artist who’s famous for being able to capture the likeness of our biggest screen heroes, seeing Struzan break away and paint portraits, nudes and landscapes is intriguing, and makes me appreciate that he’s more than a guy that can make movie posters.

With a forward by George Lucas, Oeuvre: Drew Struzan is 300 pages of fantasy and imagination captured by brushstrokes. Anyone that picked up The Art of Drew Struzan needs to add Oeuvre right next to it.

Review Score: 75 / 100

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