If you are only going to possess one coffee table book, this should be it because you will leaf through it time and again gaining more appreciation of Bob Peak’s unique talent every time.
I would add a plus to the five stars I’ve given this book, if I could. I first became familiar with the work of Bob Peak when I attended an exhibit of his movie posters at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles on January 21, 2011. I was so taken with his work that I wrote an Examiner article about it and called it mesmerizing. I actually made the rounds of the exhibit three times because I could not get over admiring the work.
Now his son, Tom Peak, has produced one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen as a celebration of his father’s work and life. The unique style of prolific artist Bob Peak (1927-1992) set the standard for his time and was the benchmark for illustrators both as students and professionals. He broke the rules and created new ones. Then he broke those and created more. His colorful graphic depictions publicized so many blockbuster movies during Peak's productive years that it boggles the mind, but as I learned when reviewing this book, movie posters that became classics were only part of his body of work. In looking at the beautiful representations of his art and reading about the history of this amazing artist, his impact upon the worlds of art, advertising, movies, and illustration written by some of the giants in the industry, it was clear that Tom Peak had created a wonderful memorial to his father. I personally own several coffee table and art books. This is one I feel privileged to own and review.
From the carton the 8 pound book, The Art of Bob Peak, is shipped in (a very sturdy custom-designed structure with buffered edges to make sure corners will not be damaged), with the elegant simplicity of the cover design repeated on the carton, everything about it is first class. Once you lift the simple white cover of this 11 x 12.5 inch book with Peak’s enlarged signature stretching across it diagonally in rich ruby red, you know it is something special.
The quality of the paper is unlike any I’ve seen in coffee table books, even some of the wonderful editions from National Geographic. One only has to run their fingers across a page to know it is the best quality available and it certainly does justice to the vibrant images.
Sections of the book reflect the many types of art Peak produced during his career including advertising, editorial, fashion, iconic movie posters, etc. Unlike artists who have one style that is their signature, Peak changed and perfected so many that sometimes it was difficult to believe the same person produced the beautiful gallery presented in the 392 pages.
Another bonus in this book is the inclusion of some of the methods and sketches Peak employed to create these wonderful pieces of art. We all have our favorite styles, and for me it was the montages. It was quite interesting to see some of the elements that were included in specific pieces standing on their own and how they were combined to form the final design. Another feature is inclusion of some alternate designs for certain pieces. As for the movie posters, which is the portion of Peak's work most recognizable to the majority of the populace, you will find West Side Story, Apocalypse Now, Camelot, Superman, Star Trek and My Fair Lady, and to use a cliché, that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Thank you Tom Peak for memorializing your father’s work and life in this wonderful publication.
For more information: Visit The Art of Bob Peak website - http://www.bobpeak.com/
MORGAN ST. JAMES is the author of ten books in publication and also writes Writers’ Tricks of the Trade columns in the Las Vegas and Los Angeles editions of examiner.com. Her latest book Who’s Got the Money? is a funny crime caper centered around a very clever embezzlement in the Federal prison system. Watch for the release later this year of her upcoming true crime book, La Bella Mafia, Bella Capo’s shocking true story, co-authored with Dennis N. Griffin and Bella Capo.