Star Trek Retro Poster Artist Turns His Creative Eye On The Animated Series

By David Wharton | 7 years ago

About a year ago, artist Juan Ortiz launched a massively ambitious project: to create an original, retro-style poster for every single one of Star Trek: The Original Series’ 80 episodes. Through all the time since, a new batch of four has been released every month. Simply producing them at all would already be impressive, but they’ve consistently been creative and clever, representing some episodes in ways that never would have occurred to me, but which make perfect sense in retrospect. With Ortiz’s retro posters reaching their final installment, I’ve wondered if he would carry on and create posters for The Next Generation, and perhaps even the other spin-offs as well. Wish granted! Sort of.

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While there’s still no word whether Ortiz might focus his talents on The Next Generation and beyond, he did tackle a Star Trek project that fell between The Original Series and Next Gen: the often overlooked Star Trek: The Animated Series. It ran from 1973 – 1974 and included the voices of the entire core TOS cast. (Walter Koening was nixed for budget reasons. Poor Chekov gets no respect.) You can see all 22 of Ortiz’s Animated Series prints below. They’re vibrant and colorful, with an overall consistent look and feel that makes them seem a lot more cohesive than the more varied TOS images. The kaleidoscopic style seems very different from Ortiz’s other work, but well suited to representing an animated series.

You can see all 22 of Ortiz’s Animated Series prints in the gallery below, and we’ve also got a brief interview with Ortiz on the subject further down, via StarTrek.com.

How/when did the opportunity to do prints for The Animated Series come up?

ORTIZ: It was around the spring of 2013 when I created these. I had the idea in my mind after finishing the TOS prints, but never really felt inspired to act on them. I even brought the DVD set to look at. It sat in my drawer for almost a year. When I finally looked into it, I was disappointed that there were only 22 episodes. I was hoping for a long project. It was still a challenge to create something different yet seemingly the same.

Can you expound on that? How similar or different did you want them to be from your TOS prints?

I wanted to move away from the TOS prints a bit. I knew that I wanted more color in these and not necessarily have them be retro-looking. I call it my Star Trek into Brightness set. I just felt it was natural to go in that direction. Maybe someday I’ll attempt the motion picture series and complete the bridge.

Did you go back and watch all the animated episodes again for reference and inspiration? If so, what struck you most about the series and in what ways did set you off on doing the poster art?

I had memories of several of them, but I did go back and look at all of them to refresh myself. I was struck how some of them were written as sequels to TOS. The Animated Series may seem weird at times, but they are certainly canon to the TOS universe. I even had images of the actors in several of these, before CBS set me straight. I was still clinging on to TOS.

We’re revealing the first four art prints today. Which one of the four are you most satisfied with — and why?

“Yesteryear” is a classic episode. I wanted something with emotion on this one. Originally, I just had Spock in a very stoic pose, but the image of young Spock and his pet sehlat makes more sense. The overlapping circles represent the passing of time as we focus on one particular moment.

What do you most hope that fans will take away from your Animated Series prints?

I would just want fans to revisit the series, and maybe what they didn’t appreciate as a kid they can now as adults. The series may seem slow and heavy on dialogue at times, but they are more steeped in sci-fi than most sci-fi shows. Getting past the limited animation is the only challenge. We clearly could use a new animated series today with the TOS crew.

The Animated Series prints are not available for sale yet, but we’ll keep you posted. You can get all of Ortiz’s retro Original Series posters in one bunch by picking up Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz. If you’ve never seen The Animated Series, it’s available for streaming on Netflix Instant.

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