January 21, 2015

ART INTERVIEW: Tony Stella - Essential Asian Flim Posters

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).
   "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
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/

   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. 

   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.
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
The Yakuza (ザ・ヤクザ) by Sydney Pollack - 1974

HAIKU Art Review: Tony Stella
Essential brush strokes
Archive cinema's glory
Visage nostalgic
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
Seppuku (切腹) by Masaki Kobayashi - 1962
   
   YM: How did you first get involved with illustrating film posters?

   TS: As an 80's kid I grew up with cinema blockbusters, but also with VHS tapes which gave you access to a hidden world of forgotten movie treasures, b-movies, exploitation- and martial-arts films. I am a product of this mix of "high" and "low" culture.
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
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. 
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
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.  
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
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.
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
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. 
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
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). 
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
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.
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
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.
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
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.
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
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.
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
Outrage (アウトレイジ) by Takeshi Kitano - 2010
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
Beyond Outrage (アウトレイジ ビヨンド) 
by Takeshi Kitano - 2012
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
Lone Wolf and Cub (子連れ狼) Kozure Ōkami 
Vol.1 Sword of Vengeance
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
Lone Wolf and Cub (子連れ狼) Kozure Ōkami 
Vol.2 Baby Cart at the River Styx
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
Lone Wolf and Cub (子連れ狼) Kozure Ōkami 
Vol.4 Baby Cart in Peril
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
Lone Wolf and Cub (子連れ狼) Kozure Ōkami 
Vol.5 Baby Cart in the Land of Demons
Tony Stella - http://antoniostella.tumblr.com/
Lone Wolf and Cub (子連れ狼) Kozure Ōkami 
Vol.6 White Heaven in Hell

Tony Stella - Illustrator - Italian
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