Juan Ortiz, two years ago, decided to embark on a project: Making a classic movie poster for every single episode of Star Trek. What started as a lark has turned into a full-on series of posters, out today in a gorgeous edition of Star Trek: The Art Of Juan Ortiz from Titan Books. Juan sat down with us to talk about style and walk us through the process of some of his posters.
Gamma Squad: How did this project first start?
Ortiz:It started towards the end of 2011. I was disappointed that the year was coming to a close and I hadn’t worked on anything substantial. I actually created an Lost in Space image and then one for Star Wars. I figured one for Star Trek would be next. After the third one, I felt really good about completing all 80.
I sent CBS the first 40. They liked my work enough to commission me for the rest.
Gamma Squad: You have a very detailed knowledge of ’60s art and design. How did that begin?
Ortiz: It’s what I like. It’s what I know. I would hope that some of my style also comes through. There are a lot of artist from those two decades that have inspired me but I didn’t want to copy any. I studied editorial illustration in school, so for me, it was more about substance and less about the style.
Gamma Squad: When designing a poster, what’s your process? Do you watch the episode, riff on the title?
Ortiz: There are no rules, so any way that I come to the right design is the right process. I did re-watch some episodes and in some cases the title drove the design. But in most cases, I would see an image in my head before even putting pencil to paper. Knowing that I wanted to create one image a day during December, I would just dive right in and see where it took me. Sometimes it would work and sometimes not. In which case I would just start over.
Gamma Squad: :Have you heard from Paramount or the original cast at all? What was their reaction?
Ortiz: No, I have not heard from Paramount nor the actors, and I don’t expect that I will or should. Paramount is more involved with the movies. CBS handles the original series. I’m certain the actors have better things to do also.
Gamma Squad: What’s next for you?
Ortiz:Right now startrek.com is in the process of releasing my Star Trek: The Animated Series prints, which I am very happy with. And I’ll be promoting the book by signing at an art gallery in LA next month.
Ortiz: Because of likeness clearance issues, I had to re-create this poster with a generic female face. I’m happier with this one than I was with the original. Sometimes setbacks are blessings in disguise. I fell in love with this episode while researching it for the poster.
Ortiz: The painterly style kept this one interesting for me and kept me busy for a few hours as well. I tried to picture what Kirk’s view was while he was having the salt sucked out of him. By filling the page up completely, I hope to give the viewer the sense of being smothered or trapped.
Ortiz: This is based on an imaginary “fanzine” from the 60’s. I believe the fans prefer “Trekker” today but back then I was happy to be a “Trekkie.”
Ortiz: I can imagine that there are dragons on Vulcan… or it could just be a representation of Spock’s burning desire.
Ortiz: “Plato’s Stepchildren” took me a while to create, only to accidently trash and delete it. I spent another weekend re- creating it. My favorite parts are the eyelashes.