Thursday, February 10, 2011

Assignment: Poster Artist Presentation

This assignment is due at the beginning of class on Thursday, 2/17.

As a prelude to our poster project, everyone is going to do an in-class presentation on a poster artist or a poster movement, so that we get exposed to a variety of poster styles and approaches. Feel free to present images in powerpoint, or as an image slideshow. Everyone will have 10 minutes to present and take questions. In addition to the presentation, you'll need to email me a minimum three page paper (double-spaced), which will serve as an outline of your presentation. That's three written pages -- not one written page and two pages of pasted-in images. If you want to include images as supplements to the three page paper, feel free. Include a fourth page that lays out your bibliography. If you can get your hands on some actual books to bring to class to show around, please do. There are a few poster art books in Prim Library.

In your presentation and paper, give a description of the artist/movement, and what the social context for the work was. Who was the audience for the posters? What sorts of messages were they trying to convey? Who paid for the posters to be made (if relevant -- some posters, like the May '68 posters, were not commissioned)? What made the posters interesting or unique? What made them stand out? In addition to giving some biographical and social context, pick out several images that interest you, and critique them in some detail. What sorts of formal decisions make the posters "work" (or fail to work, if you think they're bad posters?)

Single out at least two posters, and write about the following elements in each poster:

Describe the qualities of the fonts, and how they are used
Describe the use of color
Describe the use of imagery
Write about the balance between text and image, and the overall composition
Describe the communicative impact of the poster

You could break down the paper in this way:
1 page of personal/cultural background to the artist/movement
1 page dedicated to a specific poster
1 page dedicated to another specific poster
1 bibliography page

Below is a list of poster artists or poster movements to choose from. Plug the name or prase into Google images and pick something that appeals to you visually. Once you've chosen, write your choice in a "comment" to this blog post -- don't pick artists/movements that have already been "claimed" in the comments section (this is first-come, first-serve). You're not restricted to this list -- if you'd like to do a presentation on some other poster artist, just name them in the comments section.

This should go without saying, but don't plagiarize. You'll get caught, and that'll suck.

The Beautiful Angle Poster Project
Art Chantry
Brian Chippendale
Shepard Fairey
Rupert Garcia (chicano movement posters)
Eugène Grasset
Gary Grimshaw (psychedelic 60s posters)
Miss Amy Jo
Judge (
Frank Kozik
Strawberry Luna
May 1968 Posters (1968 Paris Uprising, 1968 Street Posters)
Rene Mederos (and Cuban poster artists of the 1960s)
Victor Moscoco
Alphonse Mucha (and Art Nouveau)
Polish movie posters (esp. Jan Lenica)
Print Mafia
Soviet Movie Posters (esp. The Stenberg Brothers)
Soviet propaganda Posters
Théophile Steinlen
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
US WW2 propaganda posters

(The top image is by Bay Area Chicana artist Ester Hernandez)