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How it All Began

My passion for classic movie posters began in high school. The head of our art department was a bit of a character and he loved collecting vintage posters from across the country. At first, his hobby was something my fellow students and I joked about, but after one particular trip, he came back with a lobby card from Wolf Song, a 1929 silent movie starring Lupe Velez and Gary Cooper. The atmospheric and moody poster spoke to me, and I instantly wanted it.

Of course, my teacher wouldn’t give up the precious piece so easily. Nor did he want cash. Like most film poster collectors, he said money wouldn’t tempt him…but if I found a suitable poster to trade, he would make the swap and give me Wolf Song. So began my journey. From walking up and down Hollywood Boulevard searching for forgotten prints left behind new prints on the theater walls, to calling old movie theater owners and even their relatives, I began to build my collection and expand my knowledge of the contemporary movie art collector world. From the beginning, I knew I wanted my collection to stand out in some way. Many people collect posters based on their love of a favorite actor or type of film—for example, some people collect posters of Bogart movies while others collect posters of film noire or horror flicks.

Personally, I decided to start a comprehensive collection that would include not one poster from each film, but a collection of posters in different languages and from different countries. For example, I have over 300 Clint Eastwood posters, including some from Japan and India to his Spaghetti Western days in Italy and The Godfather poster from Poland. Not only do these posters make my collection comprehensive and unique, but foreign posters are often more vibrant and powerful images as the artists needed to use the poster to tell the story to non-English speaking film lovers. Additionally, the artists for these films had more time to make the poster and watch the movie, while American movie posters were often conceptualized quickly, sometimes by people who didn’t even see the movie.

As my collection has grown over the years, so has my love of this art form and my passion for the hunt. Although the search for these now-forgotten films can be extremely difficult and frustrating, nothing is more rewarding that seeing your hard work pay off in the form of a rare poster. And, to think, it all began decades ago thanks to an eccentric art teacher!

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Why Movie Posters are a Dying Art Form

What catches your eye about a great movie poster? Is it the colors, the images, or the way the whole thing comes together to tell a story?

An epic movie poster truly does all three, yet sadly, movie posters are a dying art. In today’s oversaturated film market, hundreds of movies are made everyday, and most are forgotten about before the ink on the reviews is even dry. Hence, it is no wonder that these mass-produced movies (and their posters) are unmemorable and quickly discarded.

However, in the Golden Era of Hollywood, when talkies were first taking off and movie-making was a budding art form, movie posters were a vital part of the cinematic experience. Movie posters were not just advertisements. They were a commercial and contemporary art form, a way for artists to tell the story of the movie as well as the history of their time period and the cultural influences surrounding them. No wonder so many iconic memorable posters were created during that time, whether it was Clark Gable taking Vivien Leigh into a sweeping embrace for a Gone With the Wind poster or Abbott & Costello hamming it up in The Mummy.

Although memorable images such as these aren’t often recreated in today’s market, it is still possible to locate these posters, and for collectors everywhere, nothing is more exciting than finding that elusive poster of their dreams. Collecting movie posters can be difficult, frustrating work, because unlike baseball cards and other commercial collector’s items, movie posters weren’t made for public consumption. As such, there are limited numbers of posters out there, and there isn’t a store where you can simply walk in and buy these American art pieces.

Instead, you must have the drive, the desire, and the determination to pound the pavement and suffer innumerable dead ends in the search for these must-have pieces. Some people might find such effort frustrating, but for collectors such as myself, it’s all about the thrill of the chase and honoring this dying art form, whether the search ends in failure or success.

To check out some of my favorite finds, go to http://www.dwightclevelandposterarchive.com/

 

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

 
 
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