The Art of Bob Peak
Robert “Bob” M. Peak (1927-1992) was born in Denver, Colorado and grew up in Kansas. From an early age Peak knew that Bob Peak wants to be a “commercial illustrator”. Bob Peak majored in geology from Wichita State University and got a part time job in the art department of McCormick-Armstrong. After serving the military during the Korean War, Peak transferred to the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, California, graduating in 1951. Bob Peak was perhaps the greatest graphic designer active in the U.S. after World War II. An accomplished artist, and a superb draftsman, his striking command of figurative compositions and expressive portraiture, were masterful, elegant, and aesthetically authentic.In 1953, Bob Peak moved to New York City, landed an Old Hickory Whiskey advertising campaign. His work went on to appear in major advertising and national magazines. United Artists studio hired Peak in 1961 to design the poster images for the film West Side Story.
Peak’s innovative approach to movie advertising from basic collages of film stills or head shots to flamboyant artistic illustrations was revolutionary. His bold composition of a single montage-became the first of over 100 such posters, among them “My Fair Lady,” “Camelot.” In the mid-1970s Peak’s style would become familiar to fans of science fiction films when he created the poster art for the futuristic film Rollerball (1975), followed by the first six Star Trek films, Superman (1978), Excalibur (1981), In Like Flint, and Apocalypse Now (1979). Peak was not short on editorial assignments with 45 covers of Time Magazine featuring his illustrations-most notably the portrait of Mother Teresa. Sports Illustrated, and TV Guide were regular showcases for Peak’s work in the 1970s and 1980s.
Bob Peak has been hailed as the “father of the modern Hollywood movie poster.” his extensive list of accolades include being named Artist of the Year by the Artists Guild of New York in 1961 & 1977, elected into the New York Society of illustrators Hall of Fame. A Key Art Lifetime Achievement Award granted by The Hollywood Reporter and elected, along with Norman Rockwell and NC Wyeth, into the prestigious Illustrators Hall of Fame. Bob Peak received a commission from the U.S. Postal Service to design 30 stamps for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.