Robert E. McGinnis is a sort of pop culture Rembrandt. Collectors of his art especially prize the languorous “McGinnis women” he painted to adorn the covers of detective novels by writers like John D. MacDonald, Erle Stanley Gardner, Mickey Spillane and Jim Thompson (“the Dimestore Dostoyevsky”), bearing such campy titles as Who Killed Dr. Sex?, The Homicidal Virgin and Dig That Crazy Grave.Find and enjoy all of Dumas’ piece here.
Another sort of McGinnis collector hunts down his movie-poster art. His very first poster, for Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), is a classic of the form. A bejeweled and black-dressed Audrey Hepburn stands with one hip cocked, a cat perched in the crook of her neck and an impossibly long cigarette holder extending from her perfect red mouth. The last movie poster McGinnis painted, for the animated smash The Incredibles (2004), shows Mr. Incredible standing super-heroically before a pool of bubbling lava, impervious to the bad-guy chaos whirling around him. When Brad Bird, the film’s writer and director, received McGinnis’s working sketches, he pinned them to a wall at Pixar Studios, summoned his battalion of CGI geniuses and instructed, “Think like Bob McGinnis.” …
Though few know him by name, McGinnis is probably among the most widely encountered artists of the last half-century. “There wasn’t a person alive in the seventies who didn’t see Bob’s painting,” says Charles Ardai, a publisher of crime fiction who stumbled upon McGinnis’s artwork in childhood, while rummaging through his father’s collection of detective novels. “Besides that, he’s an extraordinary artist.”
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
It’s been my pleasure to write about artist-illustrator Robert McGinnis many times in this blog, as well as a few times in The Rap Sheet. But I have never had the opportunity to interview him. So I was understandably jealous when I spotted this piece by one Timothy Dumas, who--on behalf of Greenwich magazine--talked with McGinnis recently at his “cozy studio above a row of shops in Old Greenwich,” Connecticut. Dumas introduces his subject this way: