Jordan Bolton’s Posters

INTERVIEWED BY Michaela Stehr


Manchester-based artist Jordan Bolton creates striking photographic posters inspired by film and music, using only his iPhone. We asked him a few questions about his passion.

How did you start creating posters?

I sort of stumbled upon it a couple of years ago when I was working on an exhibition based on Manchester music for Piccadilly Station. The original plan was to use famous lyrics in the artworks but after it turned out to be too expensive to license the words I decided to do the artworks as though they were alternative posters for actual gigs played by influential Manchester bands at influential Manchester venues.

The first idea I got with this approach in mind was for The Smiths, the idea being a typewriter with the gig info where the letters would be. Instead of drawing it or using a computer I thought it would be interesting if I got a typewriter and altered it before taking a photograph. I didn’t have a camera, so I used my iPhone instead.

I was happy with the result and after that I made myself rules for each poster, which is that it has to be a photograph, it has to be taken on my iPhone, and nothing can be added or taken away after the photograph has been taken, i.e. no Photoshop. I’ve stuck to that basic template with every poster since.

Once that exhibition was finished I started making posters for venues in Manchester before moving onto film posters. Now I’m working on my Object series of film posters.

Describe your style in three words.

Detailed. Colourful. Organised.

Your movie posters are very intricate. How long does the set up take to create one?

From start to finish, each poster has taken around two weeks. The first week is spent analysing the film and rummaging through pound shops and charity shops trying to find objects that I can alter to appear like the objects in the film. Once I’ve got all the objects I’ll start putting them together on a background and try figuring out the design.

How many times do you have to watch a movie to source all the objects? How long does sourcing take?

I probably watch each film around five times, but each time it takes around four hours to watch all the way through because I’m always pausing, looking around the screen for objects and details then taking a photograph of each detail.

Do you have a favourite poster? 

Right now my most recent three film posters are probably my equal favourites, but I also like The Smiths poster ’cause without that one there wouldn’t be any.

Do you have any other movies that you are working on, or that are on your wish list?

I’m currently working on another Object poster for The Grand Budapest Hotel, which will be finished soon. I have a pretty endless list of films I want to make posters for and lots of ideas I’d like to work on, including a poster series based on recreating the dinner conversations in every Tarantino film.

Who are some of your favourite artists and illustrators?

I’m mainly inspired by films, comic books and music. The directors Roy Andersson and Stanley Kubrick, along with the comic book artists Chris Ware and Richard McGuire, are big influences. They all put a huge amount of precision and detail into their compositions.

One particular inspiration on the current series came from when I was working on The Royal Tenenbaums poster. I saw a clip of a documentary about the making of Fabergé eggs. Seeing how much effort and detail goes into each piece inspired me to put more time and detail into what I do. I wanted to make the poster an equivalent of a Fabergé egg.

I’m also always listening to music when I’m putting my posters together – I don’t think I’ve ever made a single poster without listening to this band called LUH.

Where can people see and get hold of your work?

Prints are available in A2 and A3 from etsy.com and Amazon. You can also follow me on Facebook and tumblr, both of which I update with every new poster I create.