Wednesday, August 11, 2010

HOWL, Film poster, 2010, James Franco as Allen Ginsberg

Seldom it seems does one have the opportunity to participate in the cultural milieu. On occasion the chance might befall us for a brief moment to make our voices heard and our presence felt if only in the most modest of ways. My most recent call to enter the conversation was a film poster.

Thanks to a tip by my friend Jenny who knew Dan at Oscilloscope Laboratories here in New York City they contacted me this summer to design and illustrate the poster for Howl, set for release this coming September 24th.‘Oscope’ asked me if I knew anything about a poem called Howl by Allen Ginsberg. I just so happened to. Not only was I well informed; I was thrilled to be talking about the Beats. I've had a great interest in American history and counter-culture in my work. The Beat Generation, as they were, had taken a foothold in my personal and artistic interests for some time. To put it simply, I was on board immediately.

The working process took several weeks that quickly developed into two months. From the initial sketches and comps to the final revisions, the process seemed endless, until we eventually carved out a poster and DVD packaging that I hope the audience will enjoy and respond to this fall. I hand painted the poster and hand drew some of the text. My fiancé, Katya Mezhibovskaya, a graphic designer, laid the type and aided in the creative process at every step of the way. We enjoyed this project very much and I hope you do too.

The film features James Franco, David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Bob Balaban, Alessandro Nivola, Treat Williams, Mary-Louise Parker and Jeff Daniels, to name a few. The film centers on the obscenity trial of 1957. Howl and Other Poems, along with its publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books were brought to court over Ginsberg’s prose. It was later deemed non-obscene by the presiding Judge Clayton W. Horn, thus becoming a landmark victory for free speech in mid-century American history. The amount of press and media attention the trial generated subsequently launched the careers of the Beat Generation.