If you were looking at this poster in our gallery, you would have to keep backing up until you recognized the image created from what appears, at least when you are close up, to be tiny, randomly arranged letters, numbers and symbols. At some point as you step back, you’ll easily recognize the face of former President Richard M. Nixon.
In the bottom left corner of this limited edition, silkscreened print (45/100) which is signed by the artist Jay Shaw, appears this caption: “Robert Redford/Dustin Hoffman/ All the President’s Men/A Film by Alan J. Pakula.”
All the President’s Men is a 1976 film starring Redford as Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and Hoffman as Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein. The film recounts the shockingly true story of how, in 1973, these two reporters, with the help of their source (code-named “Deep Throat”), linked then President Nixon to a break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at The Watergate building in Washington DC. This revelation ultimately led to the resignation of President Nixon in 1974.
This remarkable poster was designed in 2012 by American illustrator/graphic designer Jay Shaw (aka Iron Jaiden) for Mondo, a Texas company which produces limited-edition posters of classic movies. It was not intended as an advertisement for All the President’s Men, which had been released thirty-six years earlier.
Unlike a more traditional poster promoting a film, it does not show the film’s stars in special poses or a scene from the film or a background setting from the film. Rather, Shaw has taken Nixon’s image and obscured it so that it is hiding in plain sight and the viewer has to “work” to see it fully exposed. He has captured the essence of the story which the film is telling, and this is what makes this limited-edition, silk-screened print unique and compelling.
Originally part of an exhibition of the works of Joshua Budich, Jeff Boyes and Shaw at Gallery1988 in Santa Monica, California in August 2012, this poster is now out of print.
If you collect film posters, take a careful look at this stunning and rare (only 100 prints were made) artistic work. No matter how many times you view it, you will always find it fascinating from a design perspective as well as from an historical perspective, given the extraordinary story it tells.