by Theodora Mitsou
The Retro-Futuristic World of Laurent Durieux or welcome to the fantasy world of Laurent Durieux.
If you’re a film buff you’ve surely at some point come across one of his works on classic cinema posters. But it’s quite possible that you don’t know the name of the filmmaker with his galloping imagination, contradictory performances and excruciating perfectionism in detail.
Laurent Durieux is a talented 40-year-old Belgian illustrator and graphic design professor based in Brussels, specialising in film poster design. His posters depict seemingly simple designs and are surprisingly distinctive, dignified compositions that capture the entire essence of the films through bold and intense colours and visually unique textures. His signature is also often behind the important Mondo Collection (collectible posters and collectibles of classic or modern films), which revives the enthusiasm for poster art through the perspective of contemporary artists.
Durieux’s name became more widely known in 2012, when he was recognised as one of the 200 best illustrators in the world by the internationally influential advertising magazine Lürzer’s Archive. In 2013, his poster for Jaws caught the attention of the great Steven Spielberg, his designs were first shown in the US and since then his name has been virtually associated with highly illustrated illustrations and has had an impressive career. Today, whenever a new poster of his becomes available for sale on his official website, it sells out in just a few minutes.
His style is easily recognizable to the general public. He uses strong sharp lines to shade, colour and add depth to his images. He often flirts with art-deco and retro and his posters are usually playful, unrealistic and distinctly unexpected renderings, where they elaborately describe, on first and second readings, important elements of the film without revealing key developments. Something like an extra veil of mystery.
Durieux has previously created imposing artwork for such classics as Jaws, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Frankenstein, Tucker: A Man And His Dream, Rear Window, Apocalypse Now, The Conversation and Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy. Coppola has said of Duriuex that he tackles the art of poster art at a high level: executing his images stunningly, expressing ideas and themes of his chosen films in new terms and without verbiage, while standing proudly alongside the wonderful tradition of figurative art.
The performance of Alfred Hitchcock’s legendary Psycho is the result of disciplined and methodical study by the deranged Norman Bates. The skirt. The heels. The portrait of the mother contrasted with her murderous son – kindness placed alongside evil and mental illness. Durieux’s approach is done with elegance and gloss – it’s classic, fresh and deeply authentic. He possesses a style and talent that stands the test of time, is an inspiration and stimulates the viewer’s imagination. He shows a willingness to capture darkness and beauty, humour and horror, through his timeless ‘lens’.
His art is often described as a mixture of the retro-futuristic world of H.G. Wells and 1960s pop-culture. Laurent’s works are composed of beautiful compositions, vibrant colours and meticulous details that captivate the eye and draw you like a magnet into their fantastical world.
He initially works on his ideas by sketching on paper, changing and enriching his initial idea until he reaches the most elaborate details, where technology and especially renders bring the idea to life, before the work is fleshed out in print. What many people don’t know is that his greatest ally and fellow traveller is his twin brother, Jack, who acts as his second brain, contributing greatly to Laurent’s typographic skills. Laurent provides the illustrations and Jack his main typography. Together, the pieces come together in seamless integration.
Durieux’s famous posters are available through his official website www.laurentdurieux.com.