Photo by: Laura Wimbels
INT. GYPSY CAFE, GORDON SQUARE – DAY
Open at the counter at Gypsy Cafe. A new employee is introducing herself to a regular customer in the background. A man, MATTHEW CHOJNACKI, walks in and is immediately recognised by a woman, GENNIFER HARDING-GOSNELL, who is there to interview him about his work for an article in a local magazine called PRESSURELIFE. They exchange greetings and find a quiet table in the back of the cafe.
(smiling and animated)
You picked a great place to meet. I love everything on the menu and will probably try to eat one of everything before we go.
Well that’s good! I brought copies of the books if you want to have a look through.
(Gennifer begins looking through Matthew’s book, Alternative Movie Posters II, More Film Art From The Underground.)
Can you explain how these books came about? How you created them?
I had been a collector of one-sheet movie posters for so many years, just being a fan. So many of the older films like Airplane!, Police Academy… as a kid, I’d see the posters and they were fun, creative, and obviously made by truly talented artists. The poster would often make me want to see the film. Throughout the ‘90s and 2000s, studios started to rely more on star power to sell films, using more head shots of the actors and less artistic creation. There’s been a recent movement among artists to recreate movie posters for classic and cult films, and the posters have been a hit. It’s now a whole underground scene and its exploded into film festivals, Comic-Cons—it’s been amazing. I wanted to give more exposure and share my own fascination with the art, so I went through my own collection and started piecing the book together. The book includes prints of the posters and short bio-type facts directly from the artists about themselves, their influences and their inspirations.
(Stops thumbing through book at the alternative poster for Vertigo.)
This is amazing. I saw the story of it last night. I watched the documentary you worked on, Twenty Four By Thirty Six, and they talked about this poster in it. I love the original Vertigo artwork but this one is just fascinating.
(Pulls out the book, Ghoulish: The Art Of Gary Pullin, from underneath the book Gennifer is currently looking at.)
Yeah, that was one of the films I did executive production on. This guy, Ghoulish Gary Pullin, he’s an amazing artist. He’s also the subject of this book we’re publishing through 1984 all on his work. That Vertigo poster’s in this book, too. Gary is the current go-to horror artist, and two of my favorite posters are the official pieces he did for Vertigo. The variant with the winding staircase with the menacing eyeball at the base is a particular favorite, and it’s also because a very valuable piece in the art market.”
So what made you decide to turn your hobby into a career?
I had a great job working on finance, then two years ago I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I would go for chemo treatments and you’re just sitting there for hours at a time. I was among the youngest people in the room. Some of the people there were in their 90s and just trying to buy themselves another five years or so, and we would just get to talking to one another. And these people, they never talked about ‘Hey, what a great job I had!’ or ‘Gee, I wish I’d worked more!,’ it was all memories about family and friends and experiences of things they loved. I had made connections within the industry and was able to get work on film projects, mostly executive producer roles, marketing and promotions. And I was able to start 1984 Publishing myself and publish books. I had made a few prints and sent them out and they were a hit. Things just took off from there.
Do you ever worry about running out of things to do? You’ve accomplished so much of what you love already, like, do you ever fear that there will be this peak and then it’s all downhill from there, ya know?
Hmmm. No, I don’t really feel that way, but I get what you mean. Every time I work on a film project or a book, I meet more people and it always leads to more things. I’ve been hit up to work on films while showcasing my books at Comic-Con. I can see Duran Duran 10 times and still enjoy it becaue I just love their music. It’s a great job. I’m always looking for new connections, new experiences, and they just keep happening. As much as I enjoy nostalgia and collecting all this amazing work, I don’t live in the past. I appreciate the nostalgia of the music, the films, for exactly what those times were, but I always have to be moving ahead into something.
You sound like you don’t have time to look back.
No, not really.