Tag Archives: Poster Design

A selection of Sir Joe Works’ projects for movie posters, billboards, and prints!

Mixed Media Collage: A Portrait Of David Bowie

David Bowie Portrait Collage
The Ziggy Stardust tribute poster.

This illustration portraits Mr. David Jones (a.k.a. David Bowie) at the time he was performing as Ziggy Stardust. The poster design was created as a collage of many different pieces of vintage paper from old newspapers and magazines with articles about Bowie. Some nice textures and decorations were found on books and all sorts of collectible ephemera as well.
David Bowie once stated: «I’m a collector. I always just seemed to collect personalities, and ideas. I have a hotchpotch philosophy which is very minimal». He used this archive of ideas and personalities as a toolbox to create characters and alter egos to play on stage: «I was a character when I performed all those albums, and I carried the character into interviews, newspapers, on stage, off stage – whenever there was media around I had to keep those characters concrete. The fabric of my work is using my body, my personality as well as my songs and stage performance, rather than a canvas».

The character of Ziggy Stardust is a perfect example of such holistic creational process. It was designed as a collage of various elements from Bowie’s cultural palette, mixing together his collected items: Iggy Pop and The Stooges, Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, model Twiggy (which later appeared on the cover of David Bowie’s Pin Ups), and many more. The idea for the title (and maybe for the name of his band too) of his concept album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars probably came from an LP recorded by The Rats, former group of Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder, Mick “Woody” Woodmansey, and John Cambridge (who will all later play with Bowie). The Rats recorded The Rise And Fall Of Bernie Gripplestone And The Rats From Hull in 1967. It was written by John Cambridge: «I had just been to see the film How I Won The War which featured John Lennon and I based the name of Bernie Gripplestone on musketeer Bernard Gripweed – the character played by John Lennon». John Cambridge was the drummer who joined stage with Bowie, Tony Visconti, Mick Ronson, as The Hype, for the Atomic Sunrise festival held at the Roundhouse on Wednesday 11 March 1970. It’s believed that Glam Rock was invented that night. Even Marc Bolan (T-Rex) was there, glued to the front of the stage and probably inspired by the show. Tony Visconty has been pretty clear about that event: «For me this will always be the very first night of Glam Rock. I didn’t know it at the time, but when we saw photos taken of us by Ray Stevenson , Marc Bolan was visible resting his head on his arms on the edge of the stage, taking it all in, Bolan never admitted he even went to the gig!».

But the main inspiration for Ziggy Stardust was certainly rock ‘n’ roll dark legend Vince Taylor, a wild stage animal that, by mid 60s, was already on the downside path of his musical career as an acid casualty. It was around this time that Bowie met Taylor (who had took his name “Vince” from Elvis Presley’s character “Vince Everett” in Jailhouse Rock and “Taylor” from actor Robert Taylor, even though other accounts say he got the name from the Latin phrase In Hoc Signo Vinces on Pall Mall cigarette pack) at the La Gioconda club in London. David Bowie recalls Vince Taylor telling him he was a god or an alien or probably a bit of both. Some of the features of This fading rock ‘n’ roll star who went crazy under a diet of amphetamines and LSD, claiming to be an alien god, were later injected inside Ziggy Stardust, who was going to be, indeed, another rock star messiah.
Ziggy and Vince had many things in common, starting with the make-up (and ending with self-destruction). You can picture Bowie thinking about the rise and fall of Vince Taylor, a leather messiah who ended up in a rock ‘n’ roll suicide. A composite rocker who quickly blended into his alter ego, melting in his own confusion.
There is an interview where Vince Taylor (whose real name was Brian Maurice Holden) says: «I’m a normal person. On the stage… My stage is an act». Just like Bowie and Ziggy. But sometimes boundaries between fictional and real can dangerously blur together. As Bowie once said: «I don’t know if I’m writing the characters or the characters are writing me».
Curiously, the name Ziggy came from a London tailor’s shop, called “Ziggy’s”, that Bowie saw from a train one day.

The collection of different pieces that Bowie used to create his own artwork was the inspiration for this mixed media illustration, a portrait made of paper clippings. Recycling old elements in something new, something with a different cut is also related to the cut-up technique. A technique that David Bowie used to write some of his songs, something he had borrowed from William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin. But I will leave this for a new post!

Check out my other illustrations and posters dedicated to Bowie:

Italian Composers Of Music Scores: Poster Design

Once Upon A Time In Italy
A tribute to Italy’s golden era of film production.

I’ve recently come across this poster design I was working on a few years ago. It’s a preview made for a film festival dedicated to famous Italian composers of music scores, the old vintage Spaghetti Western movies above all. In this first version of the poster you can see portraits of Piero Umiliani, composer of the famous soundtrack Mah Nà Mah Nà (1968) popularized by The Muppets; the skilled whistler Alessandro Alessandroni; and Ennio Morricone, composer of hundreds of scores, including the well known Spaghetti Western movies directed by Sergio Leone, such as A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966), known as the “Dollars Trilogy”, and Once Upon A Time In The West (1968), just to name a few.

For the design of this poster I obviously wanted to catch a bit of the feeling that defined the graphic style during the sixties and seventies. At the time, those exploitation films were quite underrated (like the ones with Italian actor Totò), but then gained popularity through the years and even surged to a cult level. Clint Eastwood rose his fame thanks to this genre of movies and some epic quotes like: «There are two kinds of spurs, my friend. Those that come in by the door; those that come in by the window» or «You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig»!

Cuban Street Art: Fidel Castro

Murales Cubanos: Viva Fidel!
A tribute to murals in Cuba.

The first time a travelled to Cuba, many years ago, I was amazed by the incredible variety of street art on the island, especially in the main cities of La Habana and Santiago. Mural paintings seemed to blend perfectly with the old eclectic architecture and the humidity of the tropical heat. The murales related to political propaganda are still the most charming and classic ones, beside all the different styles and themes of Cuban street art. The ideals of Communism and Socialism perpetrated by Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution are a presence that gets life through vibrant colours and epic quotes painted on the walls. Some of the historical figures portrayed in the graffiti shine like Medieval icons with written adages, like the mythological Ernesto “Che” Guevara accompanied by the mantra “Hasta La Victoria Siempre”.

The Cuban mood and location inspired me this mural painting: a portrait of El Señor Comandante Fidel Castro surrounded by vintage lettering and classic quotes from the Revolución Cubana, such as “Cuba Libre”, “Viva La Revolución”, “Fieles A Nuestra Historia”, “Cuba es Fidel. Yo soy Fidel”.
Several years later, back to La Habana, I checked to see if the graffiti was still there. Here is the picture of that wall. Viva Cuba, Viva Fidel!

Mexican Folk Art Poster Design

Pachanga Chiapaneca Poster Design
It’s pachanga time!

Here goes a preview of the artwork for a flyer (and poster) I’m working on. It’s a freehand drawing inspired by Mexican folk art, especially the classic decorated calaveras (skulls) you can find during the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and the ones drawn by Mexican illustrator José Guadalupe Posada. The graphic design and lettering are also inspired by chalkboard art.

Pachanga is a kind of music originally developed in Cuba by the end of the ’50s as a mix of Son Montuno and Merengue, characterized by cheerful rhythms, besides funny and puckish lyrics. After Fidel Castro raised into power, the Cuban music panorama started to lean more towards other islands and the USA. Ernesto “Che” Guevara once said about the Cuban revolution: «This is a socialism with pachanga!».
The name is also a synonymous for big party or fiesta, like the good ones with music and alcohol for dancing and drinking!

Lettering: Illustrated Indy’s Quote

Indiana Jones Lettering Quote
What to say when the only non-painful part of your body is the elbow?

One of Indiana Jones’ most classic lines comes from Riders Of The Lost Ark: after Marion’s comment about Indy’s bad look («You’re not the man I knew ten years ago»), he replies with the iconic «It’s not the years, it’s the mileage». A quote almost impossible to recycle in real life, but perfect for playing a little bit with lettering and graphic elements inspired by vintage labels, old maps, and nautical cartography.

All-Seeing Eye Circus Poster Design

You Are Here
Your own geolocated visual reference.

The idea for this artwork was born long time ago with a minimal doodle on my sketchbook. Years later I decided to integrate the concept with a new project inspired by the famous grungy Star Wars Circus Poster a.k.a. A New Hope – Style “D”, painted by artists Charlie White III and Drew Struzan, and one of George Lucas’ favorite poster design. The result is this digital illustration, a kind of vintage infographic for esoteric symbols or a map like the ones you can find inside malls, with a simple explanation of your location in modern society.

Did you know that ninety percent of people can be found at the bottom of the pyramid? Now you can locate yourself as fast as a wink of an all-seeing eye!

Maremma Blues Festival Poster Preview

Maremma Blues Festival Poster Preview
Music, Art, and Nature.

This illustration is a work in progress of the vintage poster design for the new Maremma Blues Festival. The graphic is inspired by old prints and engravings: it’s a classic bluesman playing his guitar down the countryside. In the background, a natural landscape that could be Mississippi’s Delta, as well as Tuscany! In both places work songs were very popular among workers from the countryside. Music and Nature always worked good together. Back in the times, even in the most remote wooded valleys of the Maremma, you could hear arise a lonely singing that, followed than by other voices, became a choir: they were woodcutters, farmers, and charcoal burners who broke the solitude of the place with the rumor bloomed from an honest and confident mood. Songs and singing were also used to make lighter the hard work.

Now those day are gone, the only hope to hear some old good music in the open country is at local festivals like the amazing Maremma Blues Festival!
Remember to check-out the portfolio for the upcoming full-version of this poster!

Nautical Poster + Logo Design Concept

Sailor Boost Nautical Services
Vintage concept design for Sailor Boost.

This work in progress is an illustrated version of one of the sketches made for Sailor Boost Nautical Services logo. It’s a kind of minimal vintage ad poster. From an original drawing of Sir Joe Works’ logo design concepts sketchbook, it was also inspired by old style engravings and banners.

If your boat or ship are in need of any kind of repairing and tuning, be sure to contact Sailor Boost: The best and the only nautical services on the island!

Vintage SciFi Illustration: Tin Can 69

Tin Can 69
Landscapes from your favourite space opera.

Concept illustration inspired by old-style science fiction artists such as Jack Coggins, Ralph McQuarrie, Alex Schomburg, and Ron Turner, who produced amazing SciFi posters and book covers. Even Mr. Softee still looks good today.

In 1969 everybody was looking at the moon but no one payed attention to Captain Tom’s mission n. 12. Something went wrong and he didn’t follow the instructions from Ground Control. He got too high in the sky and he drifted away where no one could say. Before the transmission was dead he shaved his head and smiled. A last message was sent: «I can see Mars, and I can hear the stars».
We don’t know what happened to his soul. He may have landed on the wrong planet or fell on the right one. Those are dangerous places to explore where you can find peculiar creatures as the fleets of rats the size of dogs living on the asteroids around the gas cloud known as Dark Globule BS61.
An empty grave was left behind: deeper than outer space was his mind.