Interview: Artist Sam Gilbey

Sam Gilbey has produced officially licensed artwork for some of the biggest films ever. He’s worked for an impressive list of big name clients like GQ, Apple and Disney. Gilbey recently collaborated with Zavvi for a limited edition licensed poster that pays tribute to Jurassic Park for its 25 Anniversary. The poster is available now for pre order until June 8. 

You can order a poster here and be sure to visit Sam Gilbey’s website here.

Art by Sam Gilbey

Can you talk a little bit about how you got involved in the world of art? 

Like many of us…I drew all the way through childhood. I just forgot to stop. Not that anyone should stop. The years pass…but I still feel like that kid…I still get excited about drawing…even though it’s now how I make my living. I graduated with a degree in Visual Arts and Music from Keele University in the UK. I then fell into web design. I spent years in that world and had some fun along the way. I was working freelance for the majority of that time…which enabled me to keep doing artwork for fun and commissions when I could. Gradually things fully swung over to illustration.

What kind of things inspired you as a kid? 

The same things that inspire me now. I remember that intense feeling of wanting to channel the emotion I felt when thinking about my favorite movies, cartoons and games into my artwork. So it was the original Superman movies, Star Wars, Battle of the Planets, He-Man, Transformers and lots of other things. Of course, it included the works of Spielberg!

How did you get the chance to create a 25th Anniversary poster for Jurassic Park

I’ve been working with a company called Iron Gut Publishing for couple of years. They specialize in making licensed artwork for various movies, games and TV shows. I have been very fortunate to have had the chance to make official Jaws and E.T. artwork…as well as Jurassic Park. It’s also been a dream come true to make pieces for Back to the Future, The Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the DeadHot Fuzz and The World’s End) and others.

Art by Sam Gilbey

What inspired or motivated your Jurassic Park design? 

It was a toss-up between this and the iconic T-Rex scene. I just felt that the T-Rex scene has been done more often. I had read an article online about how Steven Spielberg had deliberately gone for a taller aspect ratio of 1.85:1 in order to fit humans and dinosaurs in the frame. Fallen Kingdom has gone for the blockbuster standard of 2.39:1. I liked the idea of a portrait poster format.

What is your relationship to Jurassic Park? Were you a fan of the film before getting involved in this project? 

Oh yes, absolutely! It’s been amazing to get to make this. I remember being awestruck in the cinema the first time around and I think I went to see it at least twice. I distinctly recall thinking that the future of movies was going to be amazing. CG was at a point where we could have realistic dinosaurs! Obviously there have been a lot of amazing movies that used CG. But, there are plenty of terrible ones too. If only Spielberg could have been involved with more of them! Jurassic Park does a clever job of blending the CG with animatronics. Looking back on it now…the animatronics probably hold up better…but still…when I see that scene with the diplodocus…it still has the power to blow you away…thanks to the setting…the theme music…and of course the reactions of Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum.

Art by Sam Gilbey

Is there anything else you wanted to talk about or mention? 

I have lots of ideas I’d like to explore for many of Steven’s films. Whether it’s revisiting the ones I’ve already tackled…or moving onto other classics. In any case, I have plenty of new works upcoming for some other classic movies…though I shouldn’t really say. When making licensed work, sometimes things don’t end up seeing the light of day for various reasons. Still, if anyone is interested in seeing more of my artwork I hope they’ll consider following me on social media for news and updates. Thank you for your interest in my work and your questions.

You can follow Sam Gilbey here.