2016 provided another year of solid film prints to cover the walls of your house/toilet/cave with. As per my Best Film Prints of 2015 list, I’ve provided a few honourable mentions, alongside what I feel are the best film prints of 2016.
Let’s jump in…
Rich Kelly‘s work has always been superb – seriously, go have a look at his port folio – and his work for the Naked Lunch and Crash vinyl that Mondo released during 2016 are some of his best. Honestly, if the cover of Crash were a print, it would be right near the top of this list, but as it’s just a vinyl cover, it only gets an honourable mention.
Nikita Kaun‘s The Neon Demon print is a killer print in person, evoking the darkness and beauty within Nicolas Winding Refn’s film. Unfortunately, the only reason it’s an honourable mention and not in the top ten is that I’m simply not as big a fan of the film as I’d hoped to be.
It pains me to put this killer print as an honourable mention as it’s simply one of the best representations of the spiralling madness within Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece. The only reason it’s not in the top ten is because I didn’t want to have two Vertigo prints in the list. Otherwise, this is another essential addition to the Hitchcock prints that webuyyourkids have put out.
Just like The Neon Demon, the only reason this print isn’t making my list is the fact that the film just did not work well enough for me. That doesn’t stop this being a killer print in person, and if it didn’t have the words ‘Ben Wheatley’ at the top, it would make a perfect print for J.G. Ballard’s essential book about class.
10. Alien – Jay Shaw
If you follow the print collecting game, you’ll notice fairly quickly that out of all the IP’s available, there is quite often a huge over representation of the same few IP’s (Alien, Escape From New York, Predator, The Iron Giant…), so when a new unique idea comes along for a property that has been done to death, well, it stands out. Jay Shaw’s work is always unique and challenging, and in a year where he’s delivered some of his finest prints, this sits proudly at the top as an all time brilliant piece of work.
9. King Kong (Jungle) – Jonathan Burton
If there were an artist that surprised me during 2016, it was Jonathan Burton. In his first of two entries into this list, he delivers a superb representation of the eternal classic, King Kong, and the fillmmakers in Kong’s home – the jungle. Burton’s work has – for me at least – been a superb marriage of modern art, mixed with the hey-day era of 1940’s/1950’s film posters. The allure of the spectacle, mixed with a wonderful combination of awe and respect for the subject it’s presenting. An artist to keep an eye on.
8. The Thin Red Line – Tomer Hanuka
Tomer Hanuka consistently wows with his work, and with his two Terence Malick prints in 2016 (The Thin Red Line and Tree of Life) he has further cemented himself as one of the great artists working today. This is on top of consistently pushing out brilliant art pieces as well that he has pushed out as timed editions, or limited editions. The Thin Red Line, for me, is the finest representation of the tired, exhausted nature of man displayed within the film. Malick’s film is about the tedious nature of war, the downtime in between orders that gradually wears the soldiers down. Hanuka’s representation of a man cooling himself off with his canteen displays this perfectly.
7. Jaws – Matt Ryan Tobin
Broken record alert: I am not a fan of the film Jaws, and due to my dislike of the film, I would never hang a print focused on the film. However, Matt Ryan Tobin’s print is one that I would spend a few moments considering whether it deserves a place on the wall of prints. With the Mondo Jaws prints, they’ve been restricted in what they can use due to the issue of likeness rights – and understandably, artists don’t always want to show just the shark… which for me, is part of the reason this particular Jaws print works so well. It’s almost as if Tobin went, well, screw it, I’m going to make the whole damn thing the shark. The way the dark eye consumes the print, and demands your attention is impressive. The added touch of the beach as the teeth of the shark is wonderful.
6. Moana – Tom Whalen
Tom Whalen has consistently pushed out work showcasing the many, many animated Disney properties. One thing that has been stunning to see with each progressive piece, is how Whalen manages to portray the essence and characters of the film he’s doing a print for, while also retaining his signature art style. There is no denying that when you look at a Whalen Disney piece that it’s a Tom Whalen Disney piece, and his Moana print is no different. Expectedly, Moana is the star of this print, with the notable side characters given enough space to shine as well. Empowering, beautiful – this is one of Tom Whalen’s best prints.
5. The Hateful Eight – Jason Edmiston
I don’t know how Jason Edmiston does it. I don’t know what animal he sacrificed or to what deity he sacrificed it to, but, needless to say, for those who appreciate art, its death was worth it. The Hateful Eight is an epic, theatre-esque Tarantino film that is timely and divisive. It encapsulates all that is terrible about America in its long, long run time – and all while doing it with a sole focus on one bloody and beaten woman, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh). What Edmiston does with this jaw dropping print (if you think the jpg looks good, well, it’s even better in person) is display the all conquering, all domineering masculinity of the film, with all the male characters towering over Domergue as she kneels smiling in the snow.
4. Vertigo (Variant) – Jonathan Burton
Here we are with Jonathan Burton once again, this time with the variant version of his Vertigo print. The painterly tones of this print are simply glorious to look at, capturing the 1950’s era in a simply wonderful manner. While there have been many Vertigo prints (see above), I feel that Burton’s is the one that encapsulates the film and its winding intricacies so very well. The regular print is nice, but lacks the homage to Saul Bass’s timeless original poster. The way the spiral casts a shadow on the pillar is another nice touch. Jimmy Stewart mid-jacket removal is also effective, giving the print a wonderful sense of urgency. Kim Novak’s complacent look shows how willing she is to go along with the charade. The layers and depth, and the mood from the film that is delivered in this print puts this out on top over the other Vertigo prints.
3. The Birds – webuyyourkids
Just like Vertigo, The Birds is another Hitchcock film that has had endless prints created for (in 2016 alone, there were five Birds prints released by Mondo), making it a difficult film to create unique prints for. Just like the aforementioned Alien, Jaws and Vertigo prints, webuyyourkids The Birds print portrays a unique, and bizarrely wonderful, take on Hitchcock’s slice of avian horror. The use of a pair of lovebirds here conveys a sense of innocence and care that birds would usually evoke. The way that Tippi Hedren is captured within their cage displays the birds all conquering ability, suggesting that no, it is not the birds who live in our world, but rather, it is us who live in the world of the birds.
2. The Witch – Aaron Horkey
The Witch aka The VVitch is as divisive a film as they come. This dark, brooding, almost non-horror film is one that will either envelope you with its magnificence, or put you to sleep with its old-timey dialogue. Aaron Horkey’s elaborate print for the film was released as the ‘Mystery Movie’ print at the third Mondocon in Austin, and the video showcasing the reveal of the print is an entertaining foray into the mind of the collector. Horkey rarely does human elements in his print, which makes the existence of the hands in here all the more alluring and creepy. Granted, Black Phillip the goat is not in the film all that much, but the reverence delivered in his direction is aptly displayed here.
1. Scream – Gary Pullin
Gary Pullin is known for his depictions of horror films of varying eras. Often they are – as his ‘artist’ name suggests – very ghoulish and atypical of the sort of films they are portraying. However, Pullin’s Scream is simply perfect in with its depiction of Drew Barrymore in the midst of a conversation with the person who will claim her life. The original poster for Scream is iconic, so it’s hard to take a concept and throw it on its head – which Pullin does perfectly here. Honestly, if this were the only print released in 2016, then it would be enough. Hands down one of the best prints I’ve seen come from Mondo.