As I'm sure everyone knows, this October 30th marks the 72nd anniversary of Orsen Welles's radio broadcast of War of the Worlds. The screenplay was written by Howard Koch, who went on to write the screenplay for Casablanca. But the genius of it was all Orsen's. If you haven't experienced it, I highly recommend listening to a recording. If you have heard it, but want to know more, there are a few documentaries about it, most of them on youtube and the like. "The Night America Trembled" from 1958 includes some great dramatizations and was what originally inspired me to do an illustration on the subject, so I recommend it as a start. Happy Halloween, and as HG Wells would say, Beware of germs, they may wipe out your species.
Since graduating, the challenge has been to maintain the same commitment to working on my art. So far I've started a series of portraits and one of cityscapes. This blog is an attempt to archive the summer and whatever I'm currently working on. I haven't included many sketches or excercises; mainy just completed work, but that's liable to change in future posts. Enjoy.
These first two painting are from the series, "Hostel Views of Europe," a collection of cityscapes from my trip in 2008. It was an inspiring continent that deserves my homage... and probably an apology or two as well.
Mestre, Italy (outside of Venice)
This next series is mostly inspired by film and media. I'm a self-accusing TV baby, so I have many thanks and curses to give to the industry. Most of my references are to cult classics...whatever I was interested in that week.
Nanook of the North is considered the first full-feature documentary, directed by Robert J Flaherty in 1921. It depicts the lifestyle of a "family" of Inuits, going through their everyday adventures. However, Flaherty insisted on spear hunting – despite the long established use of guns, changed the names of characters, and mixed and matched the family together. Nonetheless, it's a great picture that establishes film as a tool that can simultaneously entertain and educate.
Nanook (Allakariallak) of the North
"Sometimes you have to lie. One often has to distort a thing to catch its true spirit."
- Robert J. Flaherty
Simply, Rod Serling is my hero.
So one day last month, while working on another piece, I ended up double-chin deep in a Hitchcock marathon. The Birds is a favorite of mine. This tounge in cheek illustration hints to a reason why I enjoy it. This time I started with a comprehensive sketch, just to work out the kinks.
Pleased with the sketch, I moved on to the painting, keeping most of it black and white. Though this film is in color, I wanted to maintain a sense of eerieness to contrast the humur of the scene. Also, whenever I imagine a scene of any Hitchcock movie, it's always in black and white. The title text is only a placeholder, a note to myself on how I'd eventually like it to look.
This is my latest completion. Somehow I ended up watching A Clockwork Orange twice in two different places on two separate days last week. I hadn't seen it in years, but was immediatly reminded of the brilliance of both Burgess and Kubrick. Sex, violence, and betrayal were the themes I approached in this one. A fairly straight-forward illustration, I consider this image more of an excercise in overexposure – forcing my highlights to the edge of the form, blending subject and background.
A Clockwork Orange - directed by Stanley Kubrick
This isn't for any film, but I did it right after the Rod Serling portrait. I caught this mouse last summer. As soon as I found it, I decided to do a photoshoot, never knowing when I'd have the chance again to gather good reference of such a subject. I set up lights, an edgeless, white miniture stage, and snapped away. I love when typically negative first reactions, e.i. fear, repulsion,pity, meloncholy, etc, are immediatly followed by interest, contemplation, enjoyment, and even humor. I don't know if this image quite does that for most people, but I really enjoyed painting all the different textures and trying to capture the elegance of the scene as I saw it.
Kitchen Cabinet Massacre
Well that about wraps up what I've done recently. The next step is to get them up on my website.
I'll be posting again soon about my current piece, an anniversary celebration of Orsen Welles's 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast!