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Summer Screen Prints at Somerset House

Curated by Print Club London, an exhibition of film posters

by Cajsa Carlson
on 31 July 2015

London's historic Somerset House—the arts and cultural center at The Strand in London—shows movies in its iconic courtyard each summer. For the third year in a row, it has matched this season’s films with a compelling exhibition of newly created posters, in collaboration with screen-printing studio Print Club London. The exhibition (on now through 23 August) is called Summer Screen Prints and features exciting work by 15 artists and designers.

"Films inspire; they unleash excitement in those watching," Kate Higginson, managing director at Print Club London tells CH. "So to produce a poster that has to create that same excitement is a real challenge for our artists, which of course makes a great design brief and they love it! For us, curating an exhibition with Film4 and Somerset House is like being asked to work for Scorsese at Pinewood. Who wouldn't be overjoyed at being part of such an incredible partnership?” she says.

The posters (like the screenings) mainly focus on cult classics such as dark British comedy "Withnail & I," and Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing." Artist Cassandra Yap chose to create the poster for Tarantino and Tony Scott’s supercharged, sun-soaked road movie "True Romance." Yap tells CH, “Hailed as one of the most romantic movies of all time, I wanted to capture the whirlwind romance, the '90s vibe and cultish attitude of this film and to create an image that oozes style—underlined with trademark Tarantino-esque violence.” Her poster nods to the film’s most iconic accessory, Alabama’s turquoise sunglasses, for a design that’s a knowing wink to fans, but also looks cool enough for others to seek it out.

For some of the artists, the challenge wasn’t to rethink an already well-known poster, but to create something that gelled with a new production. Barry Leonard, who created the poster for 2015 release “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” focused on a different aspect of the design. “Unlike a typical movie poster which usually sets the scene and introduces the viewer to the characters, my print carries a specific message from the movie; without giving too much away, it’s about opening yourself to the lives of others,” he says. His text-based design stood out among the other, more traditional posters.

The exhibition itself is something of a love-child between film and design, and ends up giving viewers a fresh perspective on films that most of us have watched at some point—as well as showcasing some pretty exciting design work.

Summer Screen Prints is on now through 23 August at Somerset House (Strand, London WC2R 1LA) and all prints are available to buy for £50 at the exhibition and online at Print Club London.

Exhibition images by Cajsa Carlson, all others courtesy Print Club London

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