04 November 2009

C. Winston Taylor

In my recent post about Warriors of the Apocalypse I noted the sheer awesomeness of the box art that accompanied the totally wacky movie therein. The main thing that appealed to me about this cover in particular is its concise encapsulation of the ideology behind men's pulp adventure magazines of the Cold War period. The adventure pulps (and their close siblings the sex pulps) have justifiably garnered their own attention both for sociological and artistic reasons.

On the latter subject it seems to me that the VHS box art, and prior promotional materials from which most of it was derived (in the pre-Straight To Video era) are direct descendants of the pulp tradition. The themes are virtually the same, horror, adversity to evil, sex and machismo, and the coarse appeal to masculinity that is as obvious as the list I just made. Stories popular in trash magazines were easily as popular in trash movies, it just required a new marketing framework. The poster and box art is without a doubt the post-video continuation of exploitation media promotion.
Hence my fascination with VHS/poster art in general, of which C. Winston Taylor's art for Warriors of the Apocalypse is an almost perfect example of the pulp art lineage.
Taylor is a Vietnam Veteran, turned highly talented American artist who did quite a number of film promotional pieces between the 70's and 90's. He seems to be one of the lucky few artists whose signature is regularly preserved on the downsized and cropped VHS box versions of their art.
Upon conducting a little research I found several more of his film illustrations which are included below. A few were credited to Taylor though I wasn't able to see a signature, these are noted. Sorry for the low resolution on some of them, they were all found online and I did what I could.

Guardian of Hell
a.k.a. The Other Hell
Italy - 1980
Director - Bruno Mattei (as Stefan Oblowsky)
image from impawards.com

United States - 1981
Director - Eric Weston
no signature visible, credited to Taylor at emovieposter.com

Time After Time
United States - 1979
Director - Nicholas Meyer
image from emovieposter.com

Lone Wolf McQuade
United States - 1983
Director - Steve Carver
image from impawards.com

The Swarm
United States - 1978
Director - Irwin Allen
no signature visible, credited to Taylor at impawards.com

The 5th Musketeer
Austria - 1979
Director - Ken Annakin
image found on Ebay

United Kingdom - 1979
Director Michael Winner
image from moviegoods.com

More posters and promo art by Taylor:
Mutant Hunt
Robot Holocaust
In the early 1990's Taylor was hired to illustrate the covers of the Quantum Leap comic book series based on the TV show of the same name. I don't remember liking the show much and I can't imagine the comics were any better, but Taylor's art is really particularly excellent. See the Quantum Leap images including several pictures of the artist at Al's Place: A Quantum Leap Fan Site. During this period Taylor also did some religious artwork which seems sloppy considering the QL work (his gallery is third from the bottom) but nonetheless showcases his terrific sense of depth.

I'm sure there is much more C.W. Taylor work out there, but these older pulp illustrators from the pre-internet era are hard to track down since they so rarely have websites. Any additional information you might have on Taylor of his artwork are greatly appreciated, send it my way. If more come to light I will post them here.

If you're curious about the pulp adventure and sex magazine illustrations I mentioned above, I recommend starting with It's a Man's World and Sin-A-Rama both excellent books published by Feral House and both chock-full of color illustrations of magazine covers and interior art.

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