The Art of Noriyoshi Ohrai

Who!! you may not ask is Noriyoshi Ohrai? you may not know his name, but I’m certain you’ll know his work, especially if you are a fan of Star Wars like me. He indeed created what is to me, the most gorgeous Star Wars movie poster ever for The Empire Strikes Back.

Sadly the genius left us recently on October 27th at the age of 79, but his work definitely belongs in the stars in a galaxy far far away.

As for is body of work, and I know this may sound a bit repetitive to say from some previous blogs, but it’s sad to see that movie studios no longer go out of their way to commission artwork like this for movie posters, opting for these formula style Photoshop posters that just slap lots of layers of cut-out stills put together with a set pieces from the movies. Artwork like Ohrai’s stands out because it’s art first and marketing second, and studios would do well to start bringing more artistic posters to the forefront of film posters.

Ohrai’s Star Wars artwork is not quite as well-known as Drew Struzan, but we Star Wars fans have seen plenty of these images before and likely even have some of them our walls.

While his work is well-known by plenty, Ohrai himself was a very private person, revealing very few details of his personal life. But he’ll be missed just the same. Ohrai was born in 1935, and while he went to the Oil Painting Course at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, he dropped out in 1957, opting to work as a newspaper advertising editor as well as planning layouts and artwork for book publishing., but it was after this collaboration with Lucas and that famous film poster that Ohrai said goodbye to his former life in advertising and embraced the career of a film poster designer. He worked a lot with Lucasfilm and delivered some real master pieces.

…R.I.P.  Noriyoshi Ohrai

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