Welcome to Friday, folks! As Fridays are far better than most days, we have a special guest to spotlight. Namely Alex of FAMP Art, who gets licenses to create original artwork and posters for movies you may or may not have heard of. For those unaware, the Friday Feature is a new blog series highlighting the works and merits of the many different corners of geek culture, and that will often translate into short and sweet interviews. I’ll try to get one out each Friday, but no promises!
First off, Alex, tell me a little about the origins and idea behind Famp Art.
Instead of travelling with all the money I saved up after college, I decided to start a company to channel my love of pop culture art (particularly that of the screen print medium). I wanted to make posters for films that I loved while being productive with a hobby that I had become obsessed with. When I first started putting together the company there were really only two players, but I hit a lot of roadblocks with the foreign films and put everything on the back burner. A year later I restarted, found my footing, and was able to launch in 2014 after some other players had entered.
In a nutshell, FAMP Art is a company that specializes in creating officially licensed, limited edition screen printed posters of foreign films, pre-1980s classics and a few random goodies here and there of things we simply love.
A business years in the making, FAMP Art was founded to bridge the gap between pop culture art and art-house cinema, focusing on films that don’t get much love in the art world but are praised in the world of cinema (and that we ourselves are passionate about). Our goal is to fuse two different worlds through the glory of awesome and beautiful art prints.
Well, I’m glad you found your footing, because these prints are blowing my mind. Are you focused primarily on getting the rights to create foreign movie posters?
Our focus is a mix of foreign films and pre-80s classics but things have shifted. I’d say 75% of the business focuses on officially licensed films and 25% focuses on whatever I feel passionate about i.e. a TV show, mythology, etc. That 25% also includes artist representation and promotion, like what I’m doing with DZO, Gabriel Picolo and Karl Fitzgerald, as well as curating gallery shows. As the market changes I’m finding ways to adjust and I’m starting to see some success.
What are some projects you’d personally love to get involved with, and what’s holding you back?
Anything related to Asian films. Snowpiercer is the closest I’ve gotten and there was a moment in time, about three years ago, where I had Ip Man 1 and 2 within my grasp but locking down rights for Asian films is a challenge since US distributors generally don’t acquire the required rights. I’d love to do pieces for films like 13 Assassins, Infernal Affairs, Ichi the Killer, and Oldboy but the rights holders in Asia aren’t very interested in these types of projects.
On the personal, I just want to have fun side, I would love to do a series of South Park prints. It’s my favorite show and there’s so much that could be done with the property.
Oh, I’m sure. South Park is an endless fountain to draw upon, I can imagine. That’s a shame about the Asian distributors however.
Anything we should be looking out for?
We will be announcing a general subscription pretty soon for one of our FAMP artists. It won’t be anything official, just fun small art prints for fans of his and something that’ll be affordable for everyone. We’ll hopefully be dropping three new movie posters before the year is up in addition to our gallery show that we’re holding at the Bottleneck Gallery in Williamsburg on Dec 12th at 7pm.
I can’t wait to hear how that goes! So you mentioned the market earlier. What is the market like? I see you print posters in both English and the original language. Do you target an international audience, or is that just part of the seasoning for fans of the medium?
The market is small, passionate and fickle. People have their artistic tastes, but even if the art is good you run into the issue of people not knowing the films. It’s a fine line we have to balance which is why we have a lot of classic English language films coming down the pipeline. There is also a craze going on outside of the licensed realm that has really made it a lot tougher for start-ups with an alternative focus like mine to compete but we’re pushing on and having fun.
With foreign films, people love having the poster in the original language so we try to accommodate both by creating a foreign version as a more limited variant. No, we’re not specifically targeting international folks but I think having the foreign language helps attract them. In the end, if people like the movie they’re going to choose the poster they like the most. I can say that I will be releasing a new City of God poster at a screening and that will only have one version. It makes the decision process very easy for people and those who love the film will be happy that everything will be in Brazilian Portuguese.
What are your favorite movies, and has that impacted your work at all?
My favorite films are The Shawshank Redemption, Oldboy, City of God, The Great Escape, Seven Samurai, Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber.
And yes, my favorite films have absolutely impacted my work. One reason I started the company was because there were a few movies I wanted prints for but I wanted them to be legal and official. City of God was the film that got me hooked on foreign films and since it’s one of my top 5 favorites of all-time, I had to find a way to do a print for it. In the next year there is a high probability you’ll see another print for one of my all-time favorite flicks. We already have the license and the first artist has been selected (I have a great concept for the poster and I’m very confident the artist is going to do a great job executing it), so let the speculation begin.
Sounds awesome Alex. Thanks so much for your time. How can we reach you?
If you want to know about FAMP Art’s future releases and events, be sure to sign-up for their newsletter on www.fampart.com or follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up with the latest news.
If you’d like to be featured on a future Friday Spotlight, feel free to send an inquiry to Geekritiquer@gmail.com.