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.
Throughout my various diggings while doing research for these pieces, there’s one common thread I’ve found among these artists: the relative anonymity that most of them existed in, even still to this day. Considering how iconic and enduring their images have been, especially now with the resurgence of VHS and the collective hip extolling the beauty of the video box (never failing to point out that the box is always better than the movie itself) I find it strange that there isn’t more info on the creators, and more readily available. It’s especially hard when the artist I’m researching shares their name with another famous artist.
C. Winston Taylor (oftentimes credited as C.W. Taylor) is not the C.W. Taylor who was born in 1878 and died in 1960. But other than that confirmed fact, not much more info can be found about him online. The Comic Book Database shares this incredibly brief blurb, but it’s about as extensive of a bio as I’ve found on Taylor anywhere online:
C. Winston Taylor always knew from a young age that he would communicate through his drawings. Fighting in the jungles of Vietnam, where he earned two Bronze Stars, helped solidify this vision.
After graduating with honors from the Art Center College of Design, in Los Angeles, he quickly became a well-respected illustrator. His work has received numerous awards and he served as the president of The Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles.
It doesn’t mention any of the work he’s done! And I assure you, his body of work is prolific to say the least. Like the other artists I’ve showcased so far, Taylor has done it all: movie posters, random illustrations, comic book covers, album artwork.
At some point in the ’90s, he started doing covers for the Quantum Leap comic book which was based on the TV show. It proved to be a fruitful assignment for Taylor as he was appearing as a guest at Quantum Leap conventions as recently as 2009.
But let’s focus on his movie posters and VHS box art. Throughout the late-’70s until the late-’80s, Taylor churned out some very recognizable pieces, and not just horror ones – he also did art for gritty exploitation flicks as well as some ’80s sex romp type comedies.
C.W. Taylor is one of those artists who I feel I’ve only scratched the surface on, in terms of the output of his work. If you have any tips or helpful info concerning pieces I may have missed, don’t hesitate to let me know! And now, on with the art: