Godzilla by Yuko Shimizu

Godzilla by Yuko Shimizu

Godzilla by Yuko Shimizu, formerly the art for The Criterion Collection’s excellent blu-ray box-set: Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975, has been turned into a screenprint release by Black Dragon Press.

Rebecca Cleal
Rebecca Cleal

‘Godzilla’ is a new screenprint edition by the inimitable Yuko Shimizu, commissioned by Black Dragon Press in collaboration with The Criterion Collection, and released in collaboration with Mondo.

This edition went on sale on Saturday 24th July, selling out in minutes.

As formidable an illustrator as Godzilla is a stomper of cities, Yuko Shimizu delivers work that always cuts directly to the centre of the subject, dissecting its parts and rearranging them in a manner that is unmistakably by her hand, and in such a way that the story is told anew, with fresh spirit and vigour breathed into its beating heart.

For those familiar with the artwork for this poster release, they will recognise it from Yuko’s stellar work for The Criterion Collection, where she created a dazzling array of illustrations for ‘Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975’ blu-ray box set.

Although imbued with her signature hand-brushed style, the colouring for this project employed an interestingly artistic use of the CMYK process, where saturated magenta, cyan, and yellow comprised the primary colour-palette, and halftone dot was used to subtly step in where the natural textures of the brushwork gave way to the necessity for tonal gradients and colourful gradations.

While some artworks coerce screenprint into behaving like a facsimile, Yuko’s artwork always demands more from the process, and with her particular approach for Godzilla, there was great scope to play around with the layering and interaction of colours, as well as the interplay of opaque and translucent inks.

If there was one challenge present, when taking Godzilla from blu-ray box-set to screenprinted poster, it was in the balancing of colour vibrancy and varying ink opacities.

I imagine all screenprinters appreciate that vibrancy of colour invariably comes at the expense of opacity (The pigment needs light to invigorate it, and the light needs a way to carry the colour out of the print; hence light travels through the ink film, reflects back from the white of the paper, and brings the colour with it.

Opacity rather kills that transmission of light), and so the decisions one makes when layering the artwork, in regards to the way the colours overlap and interact, is critical.

Although not technically a CMYK screenprint, Godzilla nods firmly in the direction of the process, and yet pulls off something rather beautiful instead — neither one nor the other, and instead a heady amalgam of artistic intention and print process.

Where swathes of vibrant (the magenta is semi-fluorescent) opacity jostle against the virtues of overlapping translucency, there exists a tangible depth of layered ink and an absorbing clarity of colour.  It’s a screenprint where the art style and print process are both in full command of the outcome, and the outcome is fantastic to behold.

Godzilla was released over the weekend (July 24th), here in the UK by Black Dragon Press and simultaneously by Mondo in the US, as part of their San Diego Comic Con schedule of releases. Across both platforms, the entire edition sold out in under 4 minutes.

‘Godzilla’ was screenprinted at the White Duck Editions studio in a 24”x36” worldwide edition of 300 + AP’s. 5 colours on 300gsm Gmund Bauhaus paper, using a mixture of opaque, translucent, and semi-fluorescent inks.

Although this edition is sold out, we highly recommend visiting the art of Yuko Shimizu, where magic of a particularly captivating kind exists, as well as the print galleries of Black Dragon Press and Mondo.