Well, today was one of those rare once-in-a-lifetime experiences for me. After a couple years of searching, I finally managed to make contact with legendary movie poster artist and illustrator Tom Jung. Tom is responsible for some of the most recognizable and iconic movie poster art in cinematic history (Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Omen, Gone With The Wind, Towering Inferno, Papillon... just to name a few) and you can see an impressive online gallery of his work here.
I am very, very grateful to have had the chance to sit down for lunch (we went to a great Dim Sum restaurant!) and I'd like to share his story with all of you; specifically his work on the Star Wars poster... more on that later.
Tom Jung (originally from Boston) began his career in New York as a freelance illustrator and art director. He first began working with the film industry in 1958 when he was hired by a friend to redesign ad campaigns for foreign films for introduction into the United States. Mr. Jung was hired by MGM in 1962 as a freelance art director, and was eventually hired by Cinema Center Films in 1968. With his background in art directing and graphic design, he is a wealth of artistic talent who managed to combine those skills with his abilities as a painter and fine artist.
As a freelance illustrator in New York, Mr. Jung was hired to do the poster art for "Star Wars". He wasn't actually hired directly by Lucas or 20th Century Fox, but rather sub-contracted to do the work through an agency in New York. As was the practice of most artists at that time, business was conducted over the phone or with a handshake. Remember, this was pre-email, faxing, FedEx, etc... and contracts weren't a common practice from freelance artists, especially for those who made their living project-to-project. Mr. Jung knew inherently that he was being paid for the use of his artwork, but not for the ownership of his original paintings... which for him, has become an ensuing struggle since. Mr. Jung is a fairly private, quiet man. In his eighties, he has retired from the movie business, and focuses on enjoying his life with his children and grandchildren. He'd like to pass down his original artwork to his grandchildren as a part of his legacy.
In an effort to help Tom and have his story be told, I thought it would be great to do a signing at some point. It could be a great chance for Tom to connect with his fans, and in turn for his fans to hear his story. Mr. Jung liked this idea also, so stay tuned... I am sending a link for him, and hopefully he'll have a chance to read this at some point soon.
Here's some photos from today... Got my ANH Poster signed, as well as my SW Chronicles Book and folded ESB Poster!!! THANK YOU MR. JUNG, AND THANK YOU VW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!