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Thomas Hodge discusses VHS cover art

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Thomas Hodge discusses VHS cover art

Thomas Hodges holds up his new book “VHS: Video Cover Art” at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles.

Thomas Hodges holds up his new book “VHS: Video Cover Art” at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles.

Jordan Daniels | Daily 49er

Thomas Hodges holds up his new book “VHS: Video Cover Art” at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles.

Jordan Daniels | Daily 49er

Jordan Daniels | Daily 49er

Thomas Hodges holds up his new book “VHS: Video Cover Art” at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles.

Jordan Daniels, Staff Writer

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Before digital, analog was king.

For cinephiles who came up before DVDs and YouTube, a large chunk of their lives was spent rewinding videotapes. In their heyday, the Video Home System was a revolutionary technology that allowed consumers to watch films in the comfort of their own home.

And like the iconic art of vinyl sleeves, VHS packaging provided an ideal canvas for artists. Enter Thomas Hodge, aka The Dude Designs, a cult poster artist from the United Kingdom and VHS cover art collector.

Hodges has created designs for films like “The Innkeepers,” “Wolfcop,” “The Heat,” “Spy” and “Hobo with a Shotgun.”

“I’ve been an artist for years doing film posters, but I always knew that I loved the VHS cover art era, and I wanted to help bring backs some of the cool art that many of us grew up seeing,” said Hodge.

Hodge, who brought a collection of over 240 video sleeves to The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles on Thursday, said that the power of VHS was huge, and that people still purchase or rent VHS videos today. Hodge also said that a film’s artwork is what makes an audience most interested in watching the movie.

“Video cover art is a unique and largely lost art-form that represents a period of unabashed creativity during the 80s and 90s video rental boom… Art and film came together in a visual orgy of mustached muscled men, buxom beauties, big explosions, phallic guns, and nightmare-inducing monsters,” states the description of Hodges new book “VHS: Video Cover Art.”

“Things have to jump out at you,” said Hodge when asked what made a good VHS cover.

An event meant to celebrate Hodge’s work turned into a night of nostalgia, as the audience remained fixated on the still-iconic artworks of yesteryear.
“I grew up watching VHS tapes,” said Jose Rodriguez, a 24-year-old beginning illustrator who pointed to Hodge as one of his inspirations for illustrating. “It is really inspiring to see that although the VCR is outdated, there is someone who is still dedicated to recreating art that often is overlooked.

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