An American Icon in Commercial Art
Kastel’s Film Posters and Book Covers
Roger Kastel is an American artist whom you may have already heard of. To ignore his artwork would be a shame. His pulp fiction artwork is quite notable, as well as his romance novel covers. However, Kastel’s biggest claim to fame is his movie poster designs.
Roger Kastel hails from White Plains, NY. He was born in 1932. While still in High school, he studied art in Manhattan at the prestigious Arts Students League. Kastel served in the Navy during the Korean War. Upon his return to Stateside, he worked to become a freelance artist.
Roger Kastel’s first cover was produced for Simon & Schuster in the early 1960s. He worked steadily throughout the years. Kastel built a respected career as an illustrator for a diverse range of publishing companies, many of them the very selective New York houses.
In the late 1970s, he would be catapulted to stardom when he agreed to design the cover for Peter Benchley’s book Jaws. Universal Studios, who produced the Jaws film, was so impressed by his work, that they used it as the movie poster.
Not only was the motion picture of Jaws a blockbuster success, but Kastel’s poster became a huge bestseller. This was revolutionary, as movie posters had just been used to advertise films, they were not usually merchandised.
Kastel would reach even greater heights when he was asked to paint the poster for the long-awaited Star Wars–sorry, A New Hope–sequel, The Empire Strikes Back. Any Star Wars lover will tell you how iconic this poster is.
Books Are Better
Stardom would not prevent Kastel from producing more fine art for covers. In fact, painting covers was more lucrative and “less of a hassle” than producing movie posters.
He designed multiple covers for Jackie Collins’ works, including Hollywood Wives.
Kastel would go on to create much more romance novel covers as well covers for numerous fictional genres.
Roger Kastel has illustrated about 1,000 book covers for various publishing houses. His art has been recognized by several elite institutions. He has won myriad awards and is a member of various fellowships and associations.
Roger Kastel has spent over seven decades working as a professional artist. His artwork is part of Americana.
Kastel still paints and sells fine portraits and illustrations. He lives with his family in Massachusetts.