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John Alvin

As a child, John Alvin was fascinated by films. His love of the art form led him to eager await the Sunday newspapers so he could study the advertisements for new movies. This passion led him to study at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, where he studied a full array of artists’ techniques and developed his natural talents and skills. Alvin pursued a career as an illustrator in Hollywood, getting his big break in 1974 when he created the iconic movie poster for Mel Brook’s feature film, Blazing Saddles. It was not long before Alvin was won of the most desired film art designers in the industry, working with internationally revered directors such as Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, and Blake Edward.

Alvin revolutionized the medium with the manner in which he brought emotion to his artwork. He liked to explain that he “created the promise of a great experience” in his film posters and movie art. “We call it ‘Alvinizing,’” a Disney marketing executive explained. He was often called upon to do the “adult campaigns” for animated Disney classics, which is often more elegant and symbolic than the advertising directed at children.

His work in this arena was so celebrated that he won the Hollywood Reporter Key Art Award grand prize for his E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial poster; this poster is also the only piece of movie art to earn the Saturn Award from The Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films. His creations remain some of the most collectable movie art today, particularly his Star Wars Tenth Anniversary poster and the iconic images he designed for Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Pirates of the Caribbean series. All told, he created the posters for over 135 films and his original paintings, drawings, and limited edition fine art reproductions are exhibited and collected around the world. Especially since his sudden passing on 6 February 2008, John Alvin has been recognized as one of the greatest movie art designers and creators of the last thirty-five years.