July 29, 2009

ART ON TAP


My artistic life has always been inspired by movies, be it my childhood drawings of Tron, my Fantasy Weebles, or my recent work. One of my most thrilling film-influenced endeavors occurred in 2001 when I entered a SPIN magazine contest in which contestants were invited to redesign Spinal Tap's Smell the Glove album cover. Take a look at the original cover and you'll understand why...

(Now I'm feeling stupid for actually going to Amazon.com and pulling this cover image.)

I was still pretty new to design at the time, but I knew I had to give it a shot because the grand prize was a signed guitar and the top five finalists would be critiqued on a webcast by the band themselves.

I tried several approaches, the first one plays off of the scene in the film where David's girlfriend Jeanine suggests that the band start wearing costumes based on their respective astrological signs.

Please pardon the gratuitous Photoshop filters.

I decided it was too tame for Tap (considering their original concept for the cover which was banned by the label) so next I tried to get into the band's mindset and do something that followed the traditional Heavy Metal aesthetic while going for a cheap laugh...


I already regret posting this in public. I am so sorry.

But then another thought occurred to me- given that Spinal Tap is a parody of sorts, why not parody a well known album cover? And so I took this...


And came up with this...

I'd rather not offer an explanation. (Hi Grandma!)

I handpicked the cucumber from the grocery store for this specific purpose. I wrapped it, laid it on my scanner, and with a little bit of Photoshopery, voila!

After agonizing a bit, I chose the cucumber as my official submission. Several months later my life finally gained meaning; I was a finalist...



"Kirk Demarais... man or woman?" On that day my name became part of the extended canon of Spinal Tap jokes, and I continue to transcend space and time. And that last quote, the one about my future, I really want to put that on my business card.

I didn't win the guitar, which was totally fine with me. In addition to the honor you witnessed above I was to receive a This is Spinal Tap DVD, a poster autographed by the whole band, and a T-shirt. But in the usual ill-fated Spinal Tap tradition I ended up getting a VHS tape (after the SPIN intern had emailed me three different times asking which format I preferred), a poster signed by two of them and no shirt. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.


EPILOGUE:

Recently I noticed a link on Laughing Squid about an art show dedicated entirely to Spinal Tap. "Aw man, I would have liked to be a part of that." I thought to myself. Then I looked at the artwork and it's almost as if I was!...


An artist named Lil-Tuffy (who does some really cool work) had the same idea! I'm actually a firm believer in the concept of "parallel development," when the same concept occurs in two or more separate places (sometimes at the same time). So he receives the full benefit of my doubt. But aw, man, it made it even more of a bummer that I didn't participate.



9 comments:

Anonymous said...

a mini epic! cheers to you

prof. grewbeard said...

YOU should have won!

Todd Franklin said...

You really turned it up to eleven on this one!

John Rozum said...

Another great story from the ever surprising Kirk Demarais (man or woman?). I think you should absolutely include that quote on your business cards.

nathan said...

This a random, kinda unrelated, definitely rambling story but bear with me 'cause it's one of those "small world" stories I'll probably tell my girlfriend in a bit and she'll look at me quizically as if to ask, "why the hell are you telling me this?" For what it's worth, I'm already regretting going down this comment road because this probably isn't notable to anyone except me. Regardless, here's my little story.

I came across your blog randomly just now. I was actually looking to see the name of the guy who did the movie-family portrait paintings. I saw some of your stuff at a show here in LA about a year ago and it just stuck in my craw. Anyway, I just thought about your work and decided to look you up. Lo and behold you got a blog! And lo and behold, your most recent post mentions lil tuffy, who a good friend of mine went on a blind date with a few years ago. Anyway, my mind kind of boggled at the intersection of my random search query, your blog, and my friend's date.

And now that I've come to the point, I DEFINITELY regret having spent this time telling the story.

Holly Hall said...

That is so great! Christopher Guest and the rest of those guys are my comedy heroes. I never get tired of Spinal Tap, no matter how many times I watch it.

Random Blogger said...

That's hilaious! As if you didn't win.

Kirk D. said...

Thanks so much for your kind words guys.

nathan- haha, no regrets needed, I'm glad you shared and I enjoyed the coincidence; I love stuff like that. Also glad to hear those portraits were still rattling around your brain.

Holly- agreed, that movie never gets old.

Random Blogger- ha, exactly.

Anonymous said...

Kirk,
Awesome that you are part of Tap history! Thanks for all you do!
Tom in California