While visual promotion for film, gaming, sports, etc. is far from a new concept– artistic interest and uncommon takes and designs on series’, both new and old, has taken quite a positive shift. Combine that with the cinephile love for alternative takings; sites such as DeviantART were bound to make a killing! Promoting up and coming artist alongside the established and using the Internet’s one highlight (fast speed sharing) it’s magic has helped many reach the likes of Mondo and Wax Work. While a touching and awesome experience, this zany and new world can become confusing and rather distracting. Poster Spy, established and ran by Jack Woodhams since 2012, aims to simplify the experience while allowing users to promote, like share and experience other artist.
Skilled and boasting some serious credibility, Woodhams curates the vivid and lively portfolio which showcases not only his art, but 100’s of others. Venturing through the pages and personal sections of Poster Spy’s users, inspiring and jaw dropping takes on titles of various nature floods your screen. Having had the pleasure to sit down with Jack, the interview below opens up about the sites aspirations, it’s humble beginnings and why it stands out from the (semi) overcrowded art/portfolio world:
What started Poster Spy?
I’m actually a designer myself of sorts, I love alternative posters and way back in about 2012 I started experimenting with ‘minimalist posters’. I created a few for titles like ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ ‘Django Unchained’, ‘V for Vendetta’ and others, my Django one being the most popular. In actual fact, the PR company at the time for Sony Pictures asked me if they could use my Django piece for a shortlist.com competition. I think it was around that time that I thought about Poster Spy. I noticed how my artwork, and other artist’s work was becoming increasingly popular and how this whole ‘alternative poster’ movement was taking the internet by storm. So I researched it, our friends over at Alternativemovieposters.com have a great site, and Simon the owner of the site helped me out a lot at the beginning of Poster Spy’s existence, but I didn’t want to create a site like that, I wanted something unique where artists could be in a community, like a poster social network.
Whenever I searched for things like ‘alternative poster’ or ‘fan poster’ on websites like Deviantart or Behance etc, I never really got a good solid amount of results. Alternative posters were getting mixed in with other types of art, because those websites are all so saturated with hundreds and thousands of other kinds of artworks, so I wanted to make a site focused solely on poster art. A place where fans and artists can really enjoy the work, and feel like they are a part of one big community.
What is the goal for the site? Do you think you’ve achieved it?
Not even close, I mean, I want Poster Spy to be the one place everyone goes to for poster inspiration, and the place artists go to share their work. Trouble is Poster Spy doesn’t have a big enough fan base just yet which means for a lot of artists, uploading to our site isn’t worth their time, not when websites like Behance are guaranteed to give them exposure. Don’t forget artists are uploading to Facebook, twitter, deviantart, bechance, their own sites… a lot don’t have time for another website to add to the list. But that’s where I want to change peoples minds, I want people to see that Poster Spy is worth their time. We’re going to be rolling out a lot of features in 2015 that will make Poster Spy an even better website, and I can’t wait to see what people think.
I also had an amazing opportunity to work with Ubisoft last year on a promotional competition for the new Assassin’s Creed title. Artists design a poster and win amazing prizes if they win, I have a few of these competitions planned. I can’t go into detail though.
Also, as Poster Spy is self-funded and funded by donations, I don’t have the funding to advertise on Facebook or Twitter, I rely on shares from our fans, and general word of mouth. Which is working pretty well so far.
What sets you apart from other artistic sites like say, deviantart?
A lot of things really, but I think this is what a lot of people don’t get to see because either 1, they’ve not even heard of us yet or 2, they don’t keep up to date enough with us to see what movements Poster Spy is making. Poster Spy is run by just me, so all social sharing, all interaction is personal, I’m not some robot sharing work and I’m not just some employee paid to share work on Facebook and Twitter, I actually care about these artists and their work as well as getting them exposure. Plus I’ve made a good bunch of friends with this, it’s a nice community to be a part of.
Another thing is our site offers artists a 100% unlimited upload portfolio, which even comes with their own username based URL (www.username.posterspy.com) which is really awesome.
Like I mentioned above, Poster Spy is just for posters, posters of any kind, whether it be for movies, tv, games, events etc. Deviantart has so much diversity, which isn’t a bad thing, but it makes finding posters pretty difficult. If you go on Poster Spy and search say ‘Star Wars’ there are a bunch of results and they are all fantastic alternative posters.
Poster Spy also has no ads on the site for members, non-logged in users see small adsense ads, (I don’t make much money from the site at all so ads help us a tiny weeny bit, like 1p a day bit). But once you’re logged in, no ads at all.
But it’s not just those things I’ve noted above, I work with an amazing coder called Ciprian Popescu who has coded the entire site. We’re constantly adding updates from user feedback and we really do listen to what our users want. We try and release a new update every week for the site.
How many use your services?
Right now? We have nearly 2,000 members signed up, about 1/3 of those are probably spam bot type accounts but hey, it’s still pretty good! We also have nearly 2,000 posters uploaded, so our gallery is jam packed with amazing artwork, it’s quite astonishing really how this all developed so fast.
We also get about 50,000-100,000 views per month on the site, and our Alexa rank is dropping every single day. We’re becoming a pretty popular site. I guess the only downfall is not having any financial resources to advertise and promote ourselves to all the artists out there who are looking for a site like ours.
Have any who use your services been featured in a campaign of any kind (film, television, gaming, etc)? Or did they go on to do so?
From the site directly? Not yet, like I mentioned above we worked with Ubisoft, and the winners got their work shared on the Ubisoft social media page which has about 10 million fans, this was a big step and an awesome one at that.
A lot of the users on Poster Spy are pretty well known artists that have worked for tv, film and more. I’m pretty honoured to have those guys supporting us. We owe a big chunk of our small success to the Poster Posse, who helped us so much during our first few months of the site being launched. You guys rock!
What’s a goal you hope Poster Spy reaches within the next few years?
Poster Spy has some interesting stuff coming up this year, again things I can’t get into but I have an exciting meeting on Tuesday regarding some cool developments on the site. Like I said before I just want Poster Spy to get more of a user base, for more people to engage, comment, ‘love’ other work. Poster Spy has a cool feature that works like ‘Like’ on FB, people can ‘Love’ an artists piece of work then it’s bookmarked on their profile. There are lots of cool features on the site.
So in answer to your question, I want Poster Spy to grow, for the community to expand and for everyone to enjoy using the site, that’s all I care about really. I’m not interested in any financial gain from the project, I mean yes sure a bit of money for the hard work is nice, but I enjoy running Poster Spy, and people help us out with donations now and then which is really kind. I guess really, I just want Poster Spy to be successful and for artists to want to come back, time and time again to engage with their fans and upload their work. I guess reaching 2,000 likes on Facebook would be cool too..
To get a feel for Poster Spy and it’s artistic body, check out the images below. And for a greater understanding, sign-up, tour, etc. check out PosterSpy.com!