Actor Alan Rickman passed away yesterday aged 69. It’s a little known fact that the actor, best known for his roles as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films and Hans Gruber in Die Hard, studied graphic design at the RCA before embarking on a career on screen. Below is an article from February 2012, when Michael Crowe stumbled across Rickman’s work in the RCA archive.
You might know him as the snarling Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series, the wandering-eyed husband in Love Actually or even the spoon-wielding maniacal Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, but you may be less familiar with Alan Rickman, graphic design student. So let us introduce you, thanks to these exclusively released images of two issues of the RCA journal Ark (now called ARC) on which he worked. They’ve come to light again after Michael Crowe unknowingly selected one of Rickman’s issues to use as the basis for a fundraising poster.
The man with the most expressive face in showbusiness (not counting Jim Carrey, but nobody counts Jim Carrey) was a post graduate graphic design student at the RCA in the late 1960s and worked on issues #45 and #46 (1969 and 1970) of the journal as the copy editor. He also wrote articles in each one – an interview with Jim Haynes and a piece called Child’s Play where he spent a day as a supervisor in a children’s play park.
That piece is impossible to read not in his famously dulcet tones: “Your successes will be smaller than your failures. For every child you can reason into submission there will be dozens who you will submit to for no other reason than maybe they can string together a greater variety of obscenities and deliver them with a more truly eloquent arrogance than you could ever hope for.”
Ark stopped being published just a few years later in 1978 but was relaunched in 2004 and now the current editorial team are using Kickstarter to raise funds for its next issue. The middle rewards for supporters will be one of Michael’s limited edition posters created using three issues from the archives, one of which just so happened to be one Rickman had helped oversee.
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