Yet again, rather than writing a real blog post I'm treating the site like a virtual refrigerator door and sticking up my latest piece of artwork. This time the occasion is The Official Bad Robot Art Experience at LA's Gallery 1988 (Bad Robot being J.J. Abrams' production company which is behind stuff like Lost, Alias, Fringe, Cloverfield, Super 8, and the new Star films, both Trek and Wars.) This one fits in better than usual because it's inspired by spooky fun from the past.
During my childhood nothing marked the Halloween season like die-cut, cardstock decorations. At school they constantly tempted my eyes towards the bulletin board, and back home they hung on my living room walls, re-reminding me that it was October during each commercial break. These two were among my favorites...
One of the joys of being a visual artist is wondering what some non-existent thing might look like and then discovering the answer through your work. So as I reflected on the fact that Bad Robot has been slowly building a new generation of movie monsters, I wanted to know what they might look like as classroom-friendly illustrations, hanging in the newly stocked Halloween aisle against a glorious pegboard backdrop.
It made even more sense when I realized that these three monsters echo certain spooky perennials. Clover the Cloverfield monster has bat-like characteristics, Super 8's Cooper borrows from the spider family, and Smokey the smoke monster from Lost has a lot in common with a good ol' ghost. (Aside from Smokey, these names weren't used onscreen, but they are known among film crew and fans alike.)
There's something to be said for creating a one-of-a-kind piece of art without the aid of a computer, specifically things like: "Man, this is hard." and "That's not the way I wanted that to look." and "I've ruined it, where's the undo button?!" That's what inspired my foray into the overcrowded world of digital prints, but boy, oh boy, was it nice to have such control, and yes, that sweet undo button.
I did make it a point to do much of the work away from the computer so I drew the decorations with pencil and ink and scanned them in. I wanted the line quality to have a human touch. When I closely inspected real vintage Halloween directions I was surprised to see how imperfect the line work is.
Anyway, should you wish to purchase one of these prints (it's a signed edition of 40) you can get it here on the gallery's web site.
And if you'd like to see all the art from the show then click on this.
Close inspection of my faux-packaging indicates they originated from The National Typewriter Company. That's the "secret" location of the Bad Robot headquarters seen here...
This is actually just a segue to make it known that my first book is displayed in their trophy room! Think of all the secret plot points it has heard.
J.J. Abrams is a huge fan of the beloved S.S. Adams Prank and Magic company as indicated in the photo below by the tower rack of products seen on the far right (featuring the packaging I designed!)
He even had the artwork from Adams' patented "Mystic Smoke" from fingertips trick enlarged and applied to this editing suite.
More photos of the place can be seen on this site. It's all so cool and yet somehow agonizing. A tiny piece of me is there, and yet I am not.