Thursday, 1 April 2010

Exclusive Interview with Steven Chorney

Original artwork for "Licence To Kill" by artist Steven Chorney. Here an exclusive interview with him on the creation of the artwork:

Q: How did the Bond producers get in touch with you for the "Licence To Kill" poster artwork?

The proceedure followed has usually been for the Movie Studios to contract an advertising agency to create a specific promotional "campaign". This would provide a full service approach to the marketing direction of any particular film. At that time there were a number of such agencies in the Hollywood area, these would then turn the art assignment over to a free-lance or independant artist to create the image to be used. At times more than one artist were used on the same project, some for concept designs, some for final artwork. There were only so many artists specializing in this field so there were also availability issues at work also. So, to answer your question, I suppose I was just at the right place at the right time!

Q: What kind of briefing or input did you receive?

, that was the first word in any James Bond promotion..."life threatening action" followed by GIRLS! We always sensed there would have to be at the very least "a Guy, a Girl and a Gun"!!! In this case it was to be a Guy, Two Girls and Two Guns!! The direction was fairly simple really, we received a basic idea of story content and specific action scenes from the film, after that we tried to do our magic in conveying the excitment of the movie. Oh yes, did I say? It was imperative to make the stars look like they should look...or even better!

Q: How much time did you have to create the artwork?

As a rule we had no time to create the artwork...but there was always time to revise it afterward!! At times we were called upon to create a concept painting in one day!! If a week was given it would seem like a luxury. It was a very fast paced business. To expedite the compositon I used my wife to pose as the females holding the lethal weapons.

Q: Can you describe the creative process in terms of composition, choice of colours etc?
A: Simple: Most important feature (main star) is largest while all else is subordinant. Colors? Hot reds, yellows for intense heat and excitement, cooler tones of violet and blues for less important areas. Of course it is also important to arrange things in a pallatible or easily digested manner, that is, so as to allow the eye to easily follow a 'path of least resistance' and actually want to see the imagery.

Q: What materials do you use?

Anything is fair in the field of illustration. No one cares what was used if the desired result is achieved. I have used pencil, charcoal, acrylic paint, airbrush spraying, toothbrush spattering, coffee staining and even sponge painting to get the desired effect...why not? I have even started a fire on some art for the effect!!! Not recommended! I believe other artists do similar things. And while we did not have the computer in those days so much, I do use it to work some magic now.

Q: What is the most fun part of creating this artwork?

The most fun has come years later. It seems it has been remembered by many now that I have nearly forgotten about it!

Q: Any special anecdote associated with this artwork?

Well Peter, I reluctantly will say, my wife was not so excited at the time to pose with a sparkly dress brandishing a shotgun! She wished it be unknown that she had done that...wouldn't you know, the reference photo of her posing inadvertantly wound up posted on the Agency billboard for a month or more before it was returned!!!! Happily that is now ancient history.

Q: Do you know what happened to the original of the artwork?

A: It has since been sold to a wild eyed collector of James Bond memorabilia. He is certifiably crazy for Bond...perhaps you know him!

Check out Steven's website with lots more interesting artwork!


zencat said...

Fantastic! Thank you for this. I so wish they would have used this artwork for the final poster. I have no idea why they didn't. It's light years better than what they used. Oh well.

Delmo said...

I'll second that motion!

Tanner said...

That's really cool! Thanks for sharing it. It's amazing that LTK ended up with such a generic looking campaign after SO MANY much cooler concepts were apparently mooted! (This and the Peak stuff and even that cool neon phot design found in various poster books.) I know, I know; they had to scrap everything and come up with a whole new campaign at the last minute, but it's really too bad. This one's amazing!

Joerg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joerg said...

This poster art would have been the better choice for Timothy Dalton's second Bond Movie, no matter what title the studio has chosen back in 1989.
It's remarkable that the concept and positions of elements like characters, fireballs and action scenes were nearly identical in the artwork for the international poster for GoldenEye from 1995. The main differences are the black background and the Photoshop realization.
Thanks to Peter for this interview with the great illustrator Steven Chorney, a pleasent surprise in your anyway great blog!
You can find more movie poster art by this artist here:

Ricardo Cantoral said...

Wow ! So much better than the the one that the bland official one.