ARTISTS BEHIND THE IMAGE: Joann Daley

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ARTISTS BEHIND THE IMAGE is intended to put a name (and sometimes face) to the talented men and women who created the most iconic images to adorn horror VHS boxes and posters from ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Their art is vital; it’s the reason I (and many of you, certainly) fell in love with horror movies in the first place. This is not only intended as a tribute, but also a minor compendium, meant to collect their works in one single spot. Corrections, additions, or other info? Email me.

Whenever I talk about the 1991 low-budget shocker Popcorn, I’ll get the occasional “I don’t know if I’ve seen that one…” in response. That is, of course, until I show them the cover art: a skeleton clad in a rictus grin and baggy old suit, using the mask of a crying girl with long black hair on a stick to cover his own decaying and terrifying visage, all of it outlined in a creepy green haze. “Oh, THAT movie!”, comes the next response, “I love that cover!”

That sort of recognition proves the importance of the old video covers from the days of yore: you needn’t remember the title – or even have seen the actual movie, for that matter – because you’ll always remember the art. Strange and unsettling imagery indelibly branded upon our brains, forever.

Joann Daley was the artist behind several iconic pieces of ’80 and ’90s horror and exploitation, including The Video Dead, Scanners, Killer Party, and my personal favorite, Creepshow. Featuring another skeleton, this one more fully-realized and clad in a ratty canvas shawl – accompanied by a rat and a spider, naturally – the Creepshow cover sees our frightful host handing out movie tickets to the next shriek-show. It’s a beautiful and spooky image that makes perfect use of it’s limited sepia-toned color palette.

Ever the prolific artist, Daley didn’t just limit herself to movie posters – she also worked on trading cards, book covers (she illustrated the covers for several of Harriette Sheffer Abels’s books), album covers, and did I, uh, mention, uh, book covers?

Lastly, I was able to find a handful of eyebrow-raising illustrations she did of people doing strenuous activities, wherein she emphasized the not-so-subtle sexuality of these particular past times. Even though they’re not horror movie-related, I still wanted to include them because they’re spectacular and I haven’t been able to track many down. You can view them here. — (Update 08/01/16: the risqué images appear to have been part of a series of hip and artsy greeting cards from the ’80s, from the company Paper Moon Graphics.)

Endless scouring of the Internet only leads me so far, and her output seemingly dead-ends sometime in the early-’90s. That’s not to say she’s not still creating work – but if she is, I am unable to find anything about it. (I was, however, able to track down a New York Times article from 1982 that briefly mentions Joann; the piece is on architecture, and it talks about the home that Joann lives in.) If anyone has any info on more of Joann’s work or her current whereabouts, please email me! Now, without further ado: (some of) the work of Joann Daley.

Sources:

Wired

Screen Used

Graphic Collectibles (1) (2)

Tumblr (1) (2)

Pinterest

Catawiki

Movie Posters

All images obtained via IMP Awards, FILM ON PAPER, and Wrong Side of Art, unless otherwise noted.

12 thoughts on “ARTISTS BEHIND THE IMAGE: Joann Daley”

    1. Hi I am looking for Joann I was her neighbor in Ventura Ox area I have not been home for years I went away to work abroad and would like to contact her if she is still alive.
      Ive written a book and need and illustrator, Its a childrens book based in Alaska no one has written anything like it’s my Rock Star. My name is Marie LaMarr and I’m in Ventura please call me 805.836.5190. Thank you.

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  1. http://comics.ha.com/itm/original-comic-art/joann-original-art-painting-for-creepshow-movie-one-sheet-this-is-the-original-painting-that-was-used-in-the-one-sheet-mo/a/803-6179.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515

    ^^This was an online auction for the original Creepshow painting. The artist was credited only as “Joann” as that was the signature. I had NO IDEA of her full name, or that she produced so many other classic horror posters… until now! Thanks for this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy to help! That’s the whole reason I started this recurring piece; as a fan of horror VHS box art, I wanted to pin down the creators – I knew other fans were probably as curious as I was.

      That HD picture of the CREEPSHOW poster is awesome! I mean, you can really zoom in to see the details. I love it, one of my favorite pieces by her.

      Thanks for readin’ the piece and writin’ in! Stay tuned for more Artists Behind the Image!

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    1. Miss Alohson

      Chat Conversation Start

      94 people like this
      Artist
      12:03PM
      My name is Susan Poole and my husband and I are film accessory researchers. We run the website Learn About Movie Posters with thousands of pages of articles on movie posters and related film accessories. We also have written a series of books about movie posters. Our current project is a book on American movie poster artists and we are searching for biographical information on Ms. Daley Can you direct us to anyone who could help us in this regard. Thanks so much. Our website is LearnAboutMoviePosters.com

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  2. Fantastic piece! I’m still fascinated by the art found on older posters & video boxes, and was always saddened by the shift to the “floating head” style that dominated movie posters after the success of “Scream”. Glad to see some of these artists receive their due. Looking forward to the next one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s one of the things all horror fans agree on, “the cool box art”. It really was an art! It’s starting to shift that way again with the low-budget stuff – more handcrafted, well-designed covers – but there’s nothing like the boxes from the heyday of ’80s horror. I have many more of these lined up – can’t wait to post the next one!

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    1. There was a book released last year called “VHS Video Cover Art” which got some traction among the horror and VHS nerds, but I didn’t buy it so I’m not sure if this info is already contained within it. Maybe it unlocks all of these VHS mysteries and I’m the only one missing out – I’m not sure. I think I read some reviews that it covered mainly UK art. Anyway, if you wanna check it out, here’s a link to the website:
      http://www.vhsvideocoverart.com/

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