Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Amazing movie billboards

I am a fan of amazing contemporary art. I'm fascinated by deco architecture, I love travel art from the 1950s and I enjoy the look of comic books from the 1970s (though I've never been able to get into reading them).

Every night on my way home from work, I see a movie billboard that has been painted onto a building on the corner of Park Ave and 23rd or 24th St. The art is so good I initially thought they were the same old boring posters you sometimes see attached to skyscrapers. But when I saw the artists working one day I realized they were actually art pieces.

The latest poster for "I Am Legend"...

For example, above is the latest piece for Will Smith's "I Am Legend." Nevermind that this movie looks awesome (even if the book doesn't take place in New York City...). This billboard looks awesome! From my usual crossing at 22nd and Park it looks like a poster, but upon closer inspection you realize that someone took the time to paint this. I have no idea if the artists are using a template -- I'm sure the movie poster is an inspiration. Is it a pre-printed work they are just pasting up? I don't think so. I don't really know how they do it. But it is a site to behold!

...and a close-up view
of the artistry involved.
If you look closely, you can see
the bricks of the building through the art.

It's a true urban masterpiece, right up there with the brilliant murals and graffiti art around the boroughs. And like those other forms of art, it is also temporary. Every month or so I'll see surprised to see the once-glorious poster covered by a sad layer of grey paint as the artists prepare to illustrate a new movie's message. I feel a mixture of remorse at not admiring the old piece more and excitement for what is coming next.

I regret not taking pictures of the summer pieces I saw -- especially the one for "Oceans 13." It had a full cast picture rendered so lifelike and yet it had the tender touch of a paintbrush from close-up. I would love to know who the artist is that builds these short-lived classics on brick and mortar.

The last installation was for
"The Brave One."

So, yes, OK, it is just a promotional movie poster at the end of the day. But that makes these works no less valuable. Or at least really fun to look at.

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