Tony Stella - Illustrator - Italian
Stella's illustrations are passionate & personal, capturing memory triggering cinematic moments that leave you longing to review these classic films. Although, he creates art for a variety of films, I've selected 20 of my favorite Asian movie posters (of course).
When I first discovered Tony's expressive hand painted film posters on Tumblr, I instantly became a fan. I had to see more of his unique work, luckily his very active Tumblr blog contains a huge collection of illustrated movie posters. He was also kind enough to grant me an interview & I really appreciate him responding with such thoughtful recollections of his process & past.
"Stella’s seemingly effortless pen & ink sketches, his washes of watercolor & his brush-stroke lettering hark to back to an earlier age."- Adrian Curry of Mubi Notebook
Yellowmenace: What’s your approach when creating a new poster?
Tony Stella: Usually, I have seen the movie many times before I start working on a poster. Most of the time, the design is directly triggered by a scene or a still image that jumps out while I watch the film or that left an impression on me. I am an avid collector of film soundtracks, so I often listen to the score while working - it creates the atmosphere & gets me into the right mood.
HAIKU Art Review: Tony Stella
Essential brush strokes
Archive cinema's glory
Seppuku (切腹) by Masaki Kobayashi - 1962
Onibaba by Kaneto Shindo - 1964
TS: My family's library was filled with books on film, filmmakers autobiographies and books on film poster art. In my house, film was discussed as an art-form and I grew up defending a lot of my choices against my fathers sophisticated taste.
Ichi the Killer (殺し屋) by Takashi Miike - 2001
TS: I clearly remember film had a visceral impact on me & I wanted to act out the films right after watching them. When my friends were not around to share in this, I often drew what I had seen & started to combine the different worlds of each film as the fantasies started to overlap and got reinterpreted on paper.
Battles Without Honor and Humanity (仁義なき戦い)
by Kinji Fukasaku - 1973
TS: In the late 90's I started to hand-paint movie posters for my friends cinema club that was held weekly in an abandoned building, as the club got bigger we printed posters in very small limited editions.
Tetsuo The Iron Man (鉄男) by Shinya Tsukamoto - 1989
YM: What were you like as a teenager?
TS: As a teenager, I was already very nostalgic & idolized the old movies & the great directors. I preferred to go to a midnight Hitchcock double feature at a rundown theatre rather than trying to chat up girls at a drunken party. I was a true film nerd, long before the Criterion Collection became a hipster checklist.
The Tale of Zatoichi (座頭市物語) by Kenji Misumi - 1962
TS: My favorite films were mostly Japanese & really hard to track down. Without the internet to guide you, you had to serve a kind of underground apprenticeship, usually under much older, cynical video-store sophisticates. Unless you traveled abroad, the sparse film fairs were the only place where you could get hold of a desired item (hopefully with the right subtitles).
Happy Birthday Toshirô Mifune - April 1st 1920
TS: For a while, I wanted to become a director, but teamwork was not my strongest asset. I expressed my ideas in a better way alone in the studio, where I got to decide how the final product looked.
Throne of Blood (蜘蛛巣城) by Akira Kurosawa - 1957
YM: What do you do when you’re illustrating for a film you don’t like?
TS: That rarely happens, since this is a true passion project, I have the freedom to choose my subjects. The small number of clients who still want hand-painted movie posters or cover art usually have the right taste anyways.
Ran (乱) by Akira Kurosawa - 1985
YM: Any new goals, projects or resolutions for 2015?
TS: I usually stay away from formulating specific goals or resolutions - life has a weird way of disrupting those plans. As far as the posters go, someday I would like to have made a complete inventory of the great films I have seen; I would like to make a book of all my film works & maybe some BFI or Criterion covers in the future would be nice.
Rashomon (羅生門) by Akira Kurosawa - 1950
YM: I love how Stella breaks up the title into 3 syllables, "Ra-sho-mon" to reflect the 3 contradictory tales.
Beyond Outrage (アウトレイジ ビヨンド)
by Takeshi Kitano - 2012
Vol.1 Sword of Vengeance
Vol.2 Baby Cart at the River Styx
Vol.4 Baby Cart in Peril
Vol.5 Baby Cart in the Land of Demons
Vol.6 White Heaven in Hell
Tony Stella - Illustrator - Italian
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