Perhaps one of the best surprises that welcomed graphic artist Justin Besana on the coming of the New Year was his poster for ABS-CBN’s adaptation of The World of Married becoming a viral topic on social media. Not only did it elevate the buzz of the Filipino iteration of the UK original series Doctor Foster, nor had fans praise the magnanimity of Jodi Sta. Maria’s acting chops albeit in a poster, but the name of Justin Besana also made the news.
Besana was an advertising graduate and freelancer when Jayson Sarmiento of Star Cinema messaged him via Facebook. He was asked to do the poster for the comedy flick Praybeyt Benjamin. Star Cinema hired him afterwards and he did the poster for Ishmael Bernal’s Himala that was being restored by the ABS-CBN Film Restoration. Its head, Leo Katigbak, absorbed him into his team then after while retaining his freelance work. Eventually, Besana would be doing arrestingly beautiful film posters for restored and remastered classics. He would also be tapped for side projects like posters for indie and mainstream films, as well as content for over-the-top (OTT) platforms like iWant, and just recently, YouTube and Viu.
On the topic of the poster of The Broken Marriage Vow, Besana shared to Tatler that the response of the people came as a surprise because of the large scale of the said franchise, not to mention its Korean version’s popularity in the country. He resorted to adding an “easter egg” into the poster—the bloody rose—and other symbolisms, which makes it unique from its predecessors. To top it all off, all eyes were on Jodi Sta Maria, her energy, and emotions added impact to the poster.
What have you discovered about your own identity as an artist?
I think I am transformative—either I influence people or people influence me—and that greatly affects my artwork. It humbles me to witness people smile when they look at our posters or they want to get a hold of them. . .There are celebrities on the poster, yes, but beyond that, posters creating that impact is a testament to art becoming a memento.