Video rental stores hold a special place in my heart. Every Friday night, after dinner at some random Italian restaurant, my mother, father and I would hit up West Coast Video (the video chain that proceeded Blockbuster in my area) and walk out with three movies. One just for me to watch, one just for my parents to watch and one for the entire family. Occasionally I’d swap out my video for a Nintendo video game rental.
I can still remember going shelf by shelf in the Action movie section while contemplating making a dash for the little doorway to the “Adult Videos”, not because I wanted to watch porn at age 9, just because I wondered what the hell went on in that little room.
Video rental shops are long gone but I’ll also see the random Blockbuster boxes pop up at yard sales or in consignment shops.
An artist going only by the name Steelberg has the same affection for the days of VHS cover browsing but he’s brought the art into modern times. Steelberg is turning the films of today into retro-looking VHS covers and the results are fantastic and ridiculously authentic.
Steelberg agreed to do a quick Q&A over email to talk about his work, the amount of time he puts into each piece and his favorite VHS box covers from his youth.
MAN OF ATTACK: First off, who the hell did you come up with this VHS box cover idea?
Haha, this one comes up a lot. Well, the first cover I did was for JJ Abrams’ Star Trek just as a proof of concept. Learned a lot with that one and then just kind of went from there. They all have their own unique challenges and that rules!
STEELBERG: How long does each cover take?
STEELBERG: I wish I could say really. It depends. Everything has to flow. If not, I scrap it and start over.
MAN OF ATTACK: How do you chose the specific movies?
STEELBERG: Most are films that I’ve seen and I think are unique in a certain way for the time we live in now. At least to me they are, haha.
MAN OF ATTACK: Do you have a favorite cover?
STEELBERG: Man, that’s a tough! Don’t make me do it!
MAN OF ATTACK: Do you have a favorite cover that you remember as a kid?
STEELBERG: Oh man, that’s an awesome question dude. The exact first one that just came to mind when I read your question was the VHS cover for the original “Fright Night”. Not only does the movie kick ass, but that cover… man. Chills…
MAN OF ATTACK: Do you think VHS tapes will make a comeback like records have?
STEELBERG: Hard to say really. It was a real bummer to hear that last month was the end for the VCR. If VHS makes any kind of comeback it would be for collecting old tapes I think. But who knows, there’s a market for everything if the demand is met, right? Just have to wait and see. In the mean time it’s fun to pretend with everyone 🙂
MAN OF ATTACK: Have you ever considered turning these into posters?
STEELBERG: Yeah, totally. That’s another thing I’m trying to figure out. There’s a huge interest in all these tapes I’ve made. People asking if the real tape is inside, sending me their requests for tapes I should do, etc. Oh! One dude even sent me a pic of a t-shirt he made where he printed one of the pics from my Instagram page onto it! He was so excited he messaged me on FB about it and reassured me it was only a one time thing bc he’s a huge fan. I said, “Haha, thats amazing! Made my day. Nice work pal!” That’s just what it’s all about to me. People being awesome.
That kind of stuff…