May 23, 2012


In 2008 I created my first fictional family colored pencil portraits with the hopes of getting into Gallery 1988's Crazy 4 Cult art show (a process I detailed in this post.) At the time I would never have guessed I'd still be making them five years later, but I recently created a dozen more for a two-man art show at Gallery 1988, Venice Beach which is still going on until June 2nd.  The show got a really nice review on Glasstire, and some great coverage on Huffington Post and Slashfilm! But in an effort to save you a trip to the West Coast I've conveniently posted images of all the artwork just a few inches below this paragraph.  Scroll down (if it isn't too much trouble) and you may take a look at these "love notes" to some of my favorite productions put to film. Make sure to click to see them much bigger.  (Some originals and prints are still available here. My previous portraits can all be seen here.)

Title: The McDunnoughs
Dim: 8"x10"
As you may recall from the film, the McDunnoughs do take a snapshot of their newfound family by way of a cheap, black & white camera on a tripod. I started to simply reproduce that, but in the middle of the process I scrapped the idea because it was a bit too spot on.  Being a huge geek, I like the portraits to gel with the timeline of the film (or series), and I even try to pinpoint when it would have been taken, be it before, during or after the story takes place.  However, in this case I made an exception, this is the way they wished things would have turned out.

Title: The McClanes
Dim: 11"x14"
This is the only time I've done my own interpretation of an "existing" portrait from a film.  It seemed like the thing to do since the photo is a key plot point, and since Die Hard is one of the greatest things my eyes have witnessed.

Title: The Whites
Dim: 11"x14"
I think the concept is at its best when the entire family is at the core of the story.  In the case of Breaking Bad, everything is done in the name of family which ironically, destroys the family.

Title: The Weirs
Dim: 11"x14"
The Weirs from Freaks and Geeks are more real to me than any fictional family I can think of.  Everyone gets fleshed out over the course of the amazing series and their personalities and relationships seem as complex as anyone I've ever met.

Title: The Mayweathers
Dim: 3.5"x4.5" (each)
This treatment seemed appropriate because I don't imagine this father and son spending much time together.  The way I see it, William (the dad) sent the family photographer to Nathanial's school and put the result in the fanciest frame possible.

Title: The Drapers
Dim: 8"x10"
 While researching 1960s portraits I found a number of them with the family posed in this double column arrangement.  Funny how today's forced informal arrangements appear even less natural than this.

Title: The Buxtons
Dim: 8"x8"
Years ago I realized that I owned a souvenir wallet very similar to the one the Pee-Wee has in "Big Adventure" so I thought I'd use it as a springboard for this wallet size format.  To give it that extra spilled-wallet-ness I designed two fake business cards for Pee-Wee's favorite establishments.  The Buxton men are among my favorite minor characters ever, I wish they had their own movie.  
"Err.. fruit please."
I can't even guesstimate how many time I've quoted those lines.

Title: The Buellers
Dim: 11"x14"
This is one that I've intended to do since the very beginning but somehow put it off until now.  This is easily one of the most influential movies of my youth.

Title: The Bluths
Dim: 11"x14"
 "Where is George Senior?" is the official FAQ of this whole project.  Answer: He's in prison or in hiding.  So why not Oscar then?  Because no.

Title: The Fischers
Dim: 5"x 7"
I started to do this piece much larger but it did not seem like something the characters would have in their humble home.  All of Wes Anderson's movies have a such a way with quaintness, they also have a lot of red curtains so I made sure to use those as a backdrop.

Title: The Gopniks
Dim: 11"x14"
This was a commissioned piece and my third visit to the Cohen Brothers' world.  The inspirational film is A Serious Man and as I watched it again for this project it's subtleties really blossomed for me.  The configuration makes more sense after you've seen it.

Title: Mister St. Clair
Dim: 11"x14"
I decided to break the family mold for this one, I figure Corky has enough charisma to be the star attraction (plus his wife never seems to be around.)  I've seen a lot of this type of photo, especially involving dancers, and they always crack me up.  The fairy-like floating self reminds me of the proverbial angel or devil on your shoulder, either that or an "I'd rather be..." fantasy thought bubble. Plus I couldn't resist finally using the casual ladder prop.

Title: The Emersons Revamped
Dim: 11"x14"
From the beginning these portraits have been a matter of the execution trying to live up to the concept.  The results throughout have been hit and miss, and I think my biggest miss was "The Emersons" from Crazy 4 Cult 3.  In 2009 I raced to complete it along with three others in time for the show and the outcome has been nothing short of cringe-inducing.  The Lost Boys is one of my all time favorite films and it deserves so much more than I gave it.  So in an effort to improve upon my artistic crimes, I took an eraser to the original and revamped it. (get it?)
Here's a comparison...

When it comes to likenesses it's amazing what a somewhat misplaced feature or two can do, not to mention some amateurish hard lines.  The "afters" are still far from great, but the process was quite cleansing.  Maybe next year I'll pull it out again and add in Jar-Jar Binks.
(As I said before some originals and prints from this show are available here.)


TL said...

Wonderful! Count me in if you ever run prints of the Buellers!

Kirk D. said...

Thanks! Will do TL!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that I've only just found your blog, the Buellers and the Emersons are so awesome, definitely missing Jar-Jar, though.

Kirk D. said...

Thanks Francis! And I think I'll throw in a young Anakin ghost too.

C.L. Rogers said...

Oh how I miss the Weir family, thanks for the post!