Monday, 25 January 2021

The Art Of Brian Bysouth

When I discovered that a British artist was responsible for not only my favourite Bond film poster (which I wrote about here) but also many others I liked, I decided he'd make an excellent subject for my occasional "The Art Of..." thread.

So here's a celebration of Brian Bysouth and his work.
My favourite Bond poster (I wrote about the film here)
This was created for the British market after the distributor felt the Amsel poster didn't have enough action.  I wrote about the film here (where you can also see that artwork)
Original element from the For Your Eyes Only poster
This poster really grabbed my attention back then though I still, to this day, haven't seen the film...
Unused teaser poster (the producers apparently didn't think Bond looked thrilling enough in a white tuxedo!)
1987 ( I wrote about the film here)

Brian Bysouth was born in London in October 1936 and his mother, a fashion artist, encouraged him to draw from an early age.  After winning an art scholarship to the Willesden School Of Art, he left at 18 to complete his National Service in the RAF.

Brian Bysouth working on the poster for Fort Apache: The Bronx (1981)
photo from the Film On Paper interview
After returning to school, he realised the only way to make a living was to become a commercial artist and joined an agency called Downtons, becoming interested in its film department.  His first poster was for Tiger Bay (1959) and, in between general illustrative duties, he worked on the campaigns for the Bond films Dr. No (1962) and From Russia With Love (1963), starting his long association with the series.

He went freelance in the early 70s, working with David Judd Associates and doing all kind of illustrative advertising work (including posters for British Airways, Yorkie bars, Halls Brewery and Quaker cereal boxes) as well as film poster design.  After setting up his own agency, Bysouth and Hayter Associates, in the late 70s - during which time he created the posters for Raiders Of The Lost Ark and For Your Eyes Only - he joined the FEREF agency in 1983.  As some of their biggest clients were major film companies (including Twentieth Century-Fox, Warner Brothers and UIP), Bysouth produced a lot of film posters as well as painting video covers, film campaign books and promotional brochures for the likes of the Cannes Film Festival.  As computers became more accessible, Bysouth taught himself how to use Photoshop and moved towards being an art director though he created the cover art for Paramount’s VHS releases of Star Trek and its various spin-offs.

The last painting Bysouth did for the Bond series The Living Daylights (1987), as all those since based been photographic (he said, in interview, that Licence To Kill (1989) suffered with “a very bland, ordinary, photo montage which sadly marked the demise of the painted James Bond Poster”).  The last Bond poster he was involved with was The World Is Not Enough (1999) which gained notoriety for the fact that Sophie Marceau’s bust size was increased.

Now retired, Bysouth still paints occasionally.

Interview at FilmOnPaper
Interview at Illustrated007

see more The Art Of... posts on this link

1 comment:

  1. Map prints Wow, cool post. I'd like to write like this too - taking time and real hard work to make a great article... but I put things off too much and never seem to get started. Thanks though.