Buckets of splendour, exotic and native, and a typically discriminating NZIFF patron are celebrated in our artwork for 2018. Illustrator Ken Samonte, inspired by New Yorker covers and the work of Hayao Miyazaki, also references the previous NZIFF illustration style of artist Tom Simpson. Ken worked closely with the Ocean Design team to deliver a bright bouquet of beauty that celebrates the diverse range of films in bloom at NZIFF this year.
“The Film Festival was one of our foundation clients when Ocean was established as a design company back in 1988,” says Ocean Design’s Blair Mainwaring. “That it is Auckland’s 50th New Zealand International Film Festival and Ocean’s 30th anniversary seems particularly apt.
“We are enormously proud of our creative collaboration with NZIFF, in what must surely be one of New Zealand's longest client/agency partnerships. We’ve also gained enormous pleasure in working alongside Bill and his team to bring his vision to life over the last thirty years.
“This year’s poster image, designed and art directed by Matt Bluett, has quickly become a favourite in the studio. The metaphor it represents and Ken's visual style makes for a very charming image (we think). We hope you like it!”
Ken Samonte is an illustrator in Wellington, New Zealand. Ken graduated from Massey University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Design (Hons), initially studying graphic design and typography then shifting his focus to illustration. His craft is expressed with abundant emotion carefully framed by a visual precision. Ken holds up Japanese film director, producer, screenwriter, animator, author and manga artist, Hayao Miyazaki, as his main inspiration with Romeo + Juliet, Lost in Translation and yes – The Wizard of Oz, as his three favourite films.
Q&A with Ken
What was your reaction to being invited to create this year’s artwork for NZIFF?
I was super thrilled to be asked to create the artwork. The Film Festival is one of my favourite parts of the year and I've been a huge fan of the cover illustrations since seeing Tom Simpson's train illustration in 2009 (I've actually been collecting the festival booklets since then for the covers and awesome list of films).
Tell us about your influences. Looking your bio, you are a Miyazaki fan, did he influence this work?
It's hard to keep track of my influences because so many artists inspire me. In terms of general influences, I love looking through 'art of' books from animation studios like Studio Ghibli, Pixar, Disney and Dreamworks. Specifically for this project I was looking at a lot of New Yorker covers which a lot of my favourite illustrators have created artwork for. I was also really into Tin Tin as a kid and I feel like there's a bit of that in the illustration as well.
Tell us about the artwork, the composition and how you created it?
The idea came from Bill and Matt. I sketched out a bunch of different angles and compositions and once we committed to one I guess it was just a process of adding detail, getting feedback, adding more detail etc. until the illustration was done.
Says NZIFF director Bill Gosden, “When it came to adding detail Ken certainly went the extra mile, to put it mildly. We look forward to brightening up the winter with his beautiful work, our most colourful artwork ever.”