Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz is a lavish coffee table book that presents a faux movie poster for each of the 80 original Star Trek episodes. This release could have been a disastrous example of what happens when merchandising meets overindulgence. I’m pleased to report that instead it is a remarkable exercise in creativity that will appeal to hardcore Trekkers or just anyone who appreciates great graphic design. Drawing from stylistic influences as diverse as old boxing flyers to the works of Saul Bass, Ortiz envisions each installment as a grand movie event, with his phony posters appropriately reflectling the spirit of each episode. Thusly, his “The Way to Eden” art is a psychedelic freakout, “Charlie X” features a child’s handwriting, “Arena” is represented as a monster-heavy sci-fi epic, etc. (You can see some samples from the book at Titan’s blog). Nearly 50 years since Star Trek originally debuted, it’s difficult to contextualize the series in a new way. Here Juan Ortiz does just that…a jaw-dropping eighty times. His fresh perspective on Trek is captivating, and I’m hoping that follow-up books for Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine are in the cards. I’m craving more of Ortiz’s artistic flights-of-fancy, and you will be too.
Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz. $39.95. Titan Books.