With the rebirth of their great character The Wolfman around the corner, Universal has turned to the legendary Basil Gogos to create a poster of the new version of the decades-old beast. And they couldn’t have turned to a better person, as Gogos is best known as the cover artist for Famous Monsters of Filmland whose bold images of the Universal Monsters (and many other beasts and baddies) defined them for an entire generation. Including me.
We’re beyond honored to bring you your first look at this new poster for The Wolfman. Click on the image for the higher rez version, and read on for my interview with Gogos himself!
© Basil Gogos, 2010. The artist is represented by and published by
Timothy Yarger Fine Art, Beverly Hills, California. www.yargerfineart.com.
Wolfman Full Moon Sweepstakes: Download the The Wolfman Lunar Phases Widget to countdown the days to the full moon and enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win great prizes, including a signed copy of the limited edition Wolfman print by Basil Gogos! Entry deadline is the next full moon (January 30) and you can enter once a day. Click here to enter through the movie’s Facebook page.
How did Universal come to you with this project?
I am with a gallery in LA and they got my name through the gallery since I’m listed as part of the stable. The rest is history. I wanted to work for Universal for quite a while, and when this thing happened it was beautiful.
I’ll tell you something about that painting. Paintings may tend to be a problem as you go, but this painting is just about one of the very few that came along and I started to get involved and I finished it with no problems. Smooth as silk.
Do you begin with pencil sketches?
I do a good study with my pencil, then I go into analyzing how I should use it. In my mind’s eye I seem to visualize the picture as it would be finished, and strangely enough it is very often exactly as I envisioned it.
I have read that you you got your first assignment for Famous Monsters of Filmland, and you painted it – I believe it was a Vincent Price painting?
The number nine issue, yeah. Vincent Price as Roderick Usher.
I understand that when you painted it the style you used was so bold you weren’t sure if they would use it.
The request was that a painting of a psychedelic nature should be created. I, at the time, didn’t know which way to go because I had been a realist. I let myself go and decided to paint whatever came to my mind, and not use dyes, and they were fully transparent and it developed itself into an imaginary thing. I love color, and I think in color. So I did that and in four hours it came out like a dream. I presented it – actually, my rep presented it at the time – and I wasn’t sure that they were going to like it. Again, I’m a staunch a realist. I found myself doing something totally imaginary and I loved it. Ever since then I go beyond the limits, loving color the way I do and visualizing color the way I do, I let myself go and I do go beyond the lines and that’s beautiful.
You started in commercial art but eventually decided that you wanted to wanted to go back to art school and relearn from the ground up.
No, I was not trying to relearn. What I was trying to do was [get rid of] the commercialism. I was turning into an illustrator and I wanted to be a fine artist, and in order to do that I had to cleanse myself of all the commerciality and go into something that would be the fine arts. And it worked. But the only way I could do that would be to go back to school and start at the beginning again, visualizing myself as a fine artist to get the commercialism out of me. It was as simple as that. Of course I got involved with more illustration. I did stumble onto the fine arts, which is great and I think I should have been in the fine arts, but in the end illustration got the best of me and I remain an illustrator – except that once in a while, especially in all these portraits, the fine arts come out.
Looking back at all the covers you did for Famous Monsters is there one that stands out as a favorite?
Yeah, Number 57, which is Karloff when he died. I put a candle behind him. It’s a very somber painting, as it should be. I happen to be able to say I own the original, but that’s the only original I own from the old days. All my work was scattered, left and right.
Universal is looking to bring back more of their famous monsters, and they have The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Frankenstein in development. Would you be interested in doing work on those films?
I am absolutely delighted and I can’t wait until they call me again!