With a career spanning over 15 years, you’ve likely seen the work of artist and art director Akiko Stehrenberger, even if you may not have heard of her. In the last year, her film posters for Portrait of a Lady on Fire, The Last Black Man in San Francisco and Honey Boy, have gained well-deserved recognition online. Back in 2009, her poster for Michael Haneke’s thriller Funny Games (2007), depicting a visceral close up portrait of Naomi Watts, was named the best film poster of the decade by MUBI.
In her new book Akikomatic: The Work of Akiko Stehrenberger, co-edited by J.C. Gabel, which collects nearly 100 of her posters to date, Stehrenberger commented on usually being brought on to a project when “a studio wants a less conventional poster and more often than not, a secondary poster where they can take a bit more of a risk.” What sets Stehrenberger’s posters apart is her commitment to integrating illustration. She often uses a mix of traditional and digital painting to gain the desired final effect, evoking emotion in a way that doesn’t often translate in your average film poster. For Céline Sciamma’s period romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire, the oil painted flame at the center of the poster has a distinct, deeply sensual texture. What makes the poster even more engaging is its optical illusion, as the flame also contains the silhouettes of two women kissing, a gesture to the film’s plot. Stehrenberger regularly uses such illusions in her posters; see her work for Colossal, Red Riding, and Netflix’s Unbelievable.
Stehrenberger’s work is most compelling when it’s seemingly at its simplest, focused on distilling the mood of a film via the faces of its protagonists. Artwork for films like 500 days of Summer, Spring Breakers and Her demonstrate that Stehrenberger isn’t afraid to push and play with boundaries, and while illustrated poster art usually evinces a sense of nostalgia, Stehrenberger’s work feels fresh in its use of bold colors and considered compositions. It’s a testament to the importance of film art work, and an exciting example of how more risky takes on posters can and will pay off if given the opportunity.
Akikomatic: The Work of Akiko Stehrenberger, edited by J.C. Gabel and Akiko Stehrenberger (2020) is now available from Hat and Beard Press and on Bookshop.
Art Problems: How Do I Get a Public Art Commission?
Want to leave a mark on your city or town, but don’t know where to start? Paddy Johnson has some tips.
Rose B. Simpson Embeds Ancestral Histories in Clay
She has taken clay and used it to recall its ancestral roots in Pueblo culture and address the present history of postcolonial recovery and ongoing trauma.
Mondays at Pratt Institute: Weekly Openings of Work by Graduating Artists
Free and open to the public, Pratt Shows celebrate the school’s graduating students. MFA and BFA work on view this spring in Brooklyn, New York.
Quiet Paintings at a Time of Sensory Overload
Where Kim Mikyung’s process suggests an obsessive burrowing into the self, Kim Hyung-dae casts his gaze upward and outward into the sky.
Is the “Free the Nipple” Movement Too White?
Online representations of the activists lean White and thin, creating an image problem for the movement.
LSU School of Art Grants Highest MFA Stipends in the Southern US
With funded assistantships, full tuition waivers, and generous stipends, Louisiana State University helps students lay the groundwork for a successful lifelong art practice.
New “We ❤️ NYC” Campaign Misses the Mark
The recently unveiled design is meant to live alongside the iconic original and specifically address the city, but New Yorkers are not happy.
1,000+ Objects at The Met Linked to Antiquities Smugglers
A report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed hundreds of works once owned by people accused of or convicted of antiquities crimes.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Offers Summer Art and Design Courses Online and On-Campus
Emerging and established artists can choose from over 50 Adult Continuing Education courses at one of the most influential art and design schools in the US.
Lunar Bead Necklace and Asteroid “Emoji” Head to Auction
Christie’s bizarre sale features other space rocks propped up on stands like sculptures.
Scientists Create the First Full Brain Map of a Fly
The achievement is a giant step toward understanding human neural networks.
IDSVA Offers a Non-Studio PhD in Visual Arts: Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Art Theory
With no campus, the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts is a truly nomadic institution, existing everywhere our students and faculty are.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Closes Over Climate Protest
The institution shuttered in advance of an action planned for the 33rd anniversary of its infamous art heist.
Remembering the Migrants Who Died in US Detention
Artist Jackie Amézquita will lead a caravan of trucks with the names of the deceased to LA sites representing systems of oppression and solidarity for immigrants.
If you love movie posters, check out the section in my website about women film editors….http://womenfilmeditors.princeton.edu/posters/
And yes, all those posters are of films edited by women!
Comments are closed.