One of the premiere poster artists on the market today, Tyler Stout’s detailed, jam-packed prints sell out in seconds and instantly increase in value. He has worked on posters for such films as Big Trouble in Little China, Kill Bill, Akira, Iron Man 2, Captain America, and more. This interview is a real treat as I have several pieces of his on my own walls, so I took this opportunity to ask him about the business, his Akira print, and future projects. Read below for the full interview…
You used to work in a video store for years before you became an artist. Where did you love of movies come from?
Tyler: It’s just something I gravitated towards. Some people really like sports, I really enjoy movies.
I hope you’re going to tell me the foreign movie section at your job was visited frequently! Did you have a love of old kung-fu films back then?
Tyler: I probably rented almost every video in the store, but exploitation films and martial arts movies were always fun to discover. I remember renting all the movies we had starring Sonny Chiba after hearing his movies discussed in True Romance.
I have attended the Mondo Mystery Movie (II & IX) on more than one occassion and when people find out you weren’t involved with the event, I heard outcries of groans and sighs. At this point, how do you deal with the pressure of being so in-demand?
Tyler: I honestly don’t think about it, [since] Mondo is a big organization with many artists. I enjoy the projects I am able to work on, but certainly don’t feel the pressure to create a poster for everything. If I did, I am sure people would get burned out on my stuff pretty quickly.
Are you neccessarily a fan of all the movies and band prints you create? I was curious to know if your personal enthusiasm associated with the subject matter equals better results?
Tyler: It definitely helps. Doing a poster for a movie you aren’t interested in would be more challenging, since you’d have to find things to get excited and interested in portraying, and forcing that would probably show up in the work. While I am not a die-hard fan of every movie I have ever done a poster for, I like them all, and in most cases they are some of my favorite films.
Your Akira print was a huge success. In terms of being a fan of Anime, is this your all-time favorite?
Tyler: Its up there with my favorite animes, for sure. Growing up my favorite films were Akira, Vampire Hunter D and Battle Angel. Over the years, I’ve seen more, and my knowledge of anime has grown quite a bit. But, those were the first, so they hold a special place in my heart.
I also understand you were able to have full creative control of the Akira project, since you were the only who came up with the idea itself. Are you in a position now to where you pick and choose your own projects or do you still prefer to work for specific clients?
Tyler: No, I’m not completely calling the shots on any Mondo-related project, they’re still the ones offering the jobs. Akira was a bit of a special situation since I was visiting Austin and Justin (Creative Director) from Mondo offered to screen whatever film I wanted. But, as a whole I do what they ask, though they never tell me which film to do a poster for, they always ask if i’d like to do it.
I’m sure if I ask you to let us in on any future projects you would ‘faceplam’ us immediately, so I’ll go ahead and skip to the part where I ask you if you can drop any hints?
Tyler: [Laughs] Yeah, I’ve learned that its best not to say anything, since projects rise and fall all the time. What I’m working on today could change tomorrow.
As far as daily routine is concerned: as an artist and designer in the field—do you get burnt out having to constantly come up with new materials?
Tyler: I’d get burnt out if I had to create movie posters nonstop, one after the other. But I try to work on other projects, with other clients, just to stay fresh. A poster for a music venue might be completely different in terms of style and approach and is always a good way to try new styles and material.
A lot of poster artist have opening up solo or group shows but you have been relatively quiet on that front. Can we expect to see any gallery featuring your work soon?
Tyler: Someday possibly, but a lot of work goes into those, and a lot of times artists don’t recoup the time/money spent on putting together shows. Since I have a family and bills to pay, creating new work pays a little better than focusing on older work. But, hopefully someday.
With your posters now being used as official DVD covers (Assult on Precinct 13), it seem your work is really hitting its stride in the retail market. What else is on your bucket list to achieve in your career?
Tyler: On that Assault on Precinct 13, I believe it’s being used on a Scandinavian DVD release, so its a bit of a niche market. [It] probably won’t be released in the USA or Japan unfortunately, just to clarify. But, it was a neat thing for sure. As for my bucket list….that’s a hard one. I’ve had so many cool opportunities that it’s hard to wish for more. I’m just thankful for the stuff I’ve been able to do so far.
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