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    Roger Kastel
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Roger Kastel is the artist who created the Gone With the Wind-inspired poster for The Empire Strikes Back.

Kastel's father Karl was brought from Germany as a young man as a jewelry designer, who also loved to draw and paint as a hobby. As a young boy his mother often took him into NYC where he was introduced to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One of the Kastel’s neighbors was a comic book artist, Tom Hickey. Tom worked at home and Roger was fascinated with his art and initially wanted to be a cartoonist. When he was in High School, Tom asked Roger if he wanted to do a comic book for LCL Corp. showing their employees how to use equipment properly.. So this handbook was Rogers first published illustration.

While still in high school he went into NYC to study summers at the Art Students League. When he graduated from High School Roger went to the Art Career School. His mother felt he should pursue a degree. However, when there was an opening in Frank Reilly’s class at the Art Students League, he finally convinced his parents that he wanted to learn to draw and paint. This was interrupted by four years in the Navy.

In the Navy he was trained as a lithographer in Washington DC. Roger was sent to Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego County assigned to the photo lab. As a group of sailors were being shown around the lab, someone asked if any of them was an artist. Roger immediately acknowledged his art background and was assigned to a small art unit. He did cartoons and sketches for their paper, designed billboards, did sports drawings, etc While on overseas detachment he worked on charts and targets.

When discharged from the Navy, he freelanced for various ad agencies in NYC doing storyboard, mechanicals and layouts. He worked for Reddy Kilowatt an electrical advertiser doing sketches and drawings. He enrolled evenings for the next seven years at the League studying with Frank Reilly..

The greater part of his art education and training came from Mr. Reilly .He also studied with Edwin Dickinson, Sidney E. Dickinson and Robert Beverly Hale.

While Roger was still an art student at the League, he had his first paper back book cover published for Pocket Books[Simon and Schuster] in the 1960‘s. Another of his early works won first prize for the National Fire Underwriters. This poster has been used for many years. He started doing western paper back covers and illustrations for men's adventure magazines; including Argosy. He did advertising illustrations for Arrow Shirts and for Armstrong Floor Covering.

Roger started doing paperback covers for Pyramid and Macfadden. These were mainly western books. He then started getting general assignments from Ballantine, Fawcett and Avon. In the early 70’s he was offered a contract with Bantam Books. During this time he did covers for Hemingway, Steinbeck Janet Dailey and Judy Blume books. It was while under contract with Bantam that he was asked to do the paperback cover for Peter Benchley’s JAWS.

Within a year Universal Studios purchased the right to use this image as a movie poster for the movie JAWS. This was the first time that a poster image became a merchandising product in itself and thirty five years later it is still a dominant recognizable worldwide image.

A few years later he was asked to paint the movie poster for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. This poster too became a world renowned image. By this time Roger was working for Simon Schuster/ Pocket Books, Harper Collins ,and Harlequin Books, doing illustrations for Good Housekeeping, and various movie posters. By the year 2000, Roger had worked for every major publishing house in NYC doing well over 1000 pocketbooks and illustrations. During this time he received many awards from the Society of Illustrators Annual National Exhibitions. The Desi Award Citation for Pocket Books CREEK MARY’S BLOOD. The Painting Industries of America- 1981 Graphic Arts Award for THE YEAR OF THE FRENCH- Pocket Books.

He is privileged to have his work included in the book 200 YEARS OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION. as well as THE ILLUSTRATOR IN AMERICA. Roger was represented by art galleries in Arizona, New Mexico, Connecticut and New York City.Some of the fine art recognition he received were three Kent Art Association awards for FRIENDS, MAY and YELLOW ROSE STILL LIFE. He also received the Aiken Award from KAA for SCULPTURE STUDIO #2 and the McDowell Award for Best In Show for HOLDOUT. The Hudson Valley Art Association the Jane Peterson Still life Award for SCULPTURE STUDIO and also from HVAA the Frank Van Steen award. At the 2nd International ARC{Art Renewal Center] a Still Life Award for SCULPTURE STUDIO #2 He has exhibited at the National Arts Club, NYC; The New York Historical Society, Grand Central Gallery and the Salamagundi Club, NYC.

This award-winning artist in fine art and illustration is a life member of the Art Students League and a long time member of The Society of Illustration where he has work in the Society’s permanent collection. Roger is also a member of the Artist Fellowship, The Kent Art Association and the Portrait Society of America. He has paintings in private and corporate collections, Roger is currently active in fine art and commissioned portraits.

Date of Birth: 1931
Birthplace: White Plains, NY

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Cover Artist:
Doc Savage (1975)

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