Last Fall, I had the wonderful opportunity to design a poster for the Belin Film Festival, a brand new film festival based in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The experience presented a whole host of new challenges, and employed some design techniques I’d never attempted before. I was lucky to have some incredible collaborators in my corner, and being it was such a fun and unique process, I thought it would be worthwhile to breakdown how the poster went from concept to print.
Now that the dust has settled from one of the biggest blunders in Oscars history, I thought I'd take a moment to celebrate the chosen few from Hollywood's biggest night by spotlighting some brilliant alternate posters done for the winning films. So, whether you agree or disagree with the results of the 89th Academy Awards, at least we can all agree that we'd love to have some of these hanging on our walls.
Movies have had a lot of fun playing with the romance genre and the theme of love. And if you're anything like me, instead of checking out the latest Hollywood RomCom, you often find yourself gravitating towards something a bit more sinister. So, to celebrate the polarizing holiday Valentine's Day, I decided to whip up a quick collection of divine alternate posters inspired by some of my favorite dark romantic movies. Your favorite anti-love movie not on this list, leave it in the comments section below.
When Variant was hired to develop a key art campaign for DO NOT RESIST, a new documentary that explores the militarization of police forces across the United States, my mind jumped to visions of what the media overwhelms us with day in and day out. I was transported to those horrific visuals of police brutality, stories of lives lost due to excessive force, and the almost common sight of police officers dressed for war at a peaceful protest.
Inspiration is all around us and we often don't have to look very hard for it. As someone who is just starting out in the key art universe, one of my favorite yearly traditions is looking back and remembering the film art that inspired me. And while there were a ton of amazing posters created in 2016, I've picked out 16 that had the biggest impact on me.
On Friday September 2nd, I had the great pleasure of hosting "The Art of The Movies," a group show featuring work inspired by the silver screen by six local artists. This was the first show I've had the pleasure of curating since moving into the co-working space @ The Workshop. I've had the chance to get out to a few First Friday's since relocating to Scranton, and have been extremely impressed with the energy and quality of the arts scene. Even though the show came together pretty fast and furious, I was lucky enough to have some awesome artist and designer friends who share my love for cinema.
Flashback to Wednesday, March 23rd - I find myself in New York City visiting the 9/11 memorial for the first time. I decided to take the trip after being hired by 590 Films to craft key art for THE TREES, a thoughtful documentary about the planning and development of the World Trade Center Memorial Plaza. As I walked around the grounds, snapping photos and doodling in my sketchbook, I couldn’t help notice - for a place that had experienced an unspeakable amount of awfulness and trauma 15 years ago - how beautiful it has become and how much hope is in the air.
What follows is a very loving (sometimes long-winded) recap of my experience attending this year's Weapons of Mass Creation. Not only am I beyond thrilled with my experience, I'm making it a personal goal to tell as many people about this gem. Whether you're just out of design school, a creative entrepreneur, working full-time but doing the side hustle thing, or a few years into running your own shop, you need to attend this conference. In a world full of email communications, Skype meetings and Slack hangouts, this is a chance to spend some real-world quality time with a ton of amazing like-minded creatives. I would encourage any creative that hasn't been to WMC to give this post a read and seriously consider making the trip next year.
My Uncle passed away a few months back. (Don't worry, this post won’t be dark - he lived a long and awesome life!) The reason I bring this up is because my Uncle Tommy had a brief stint as a New York actor back in the late 60s and early 70s. During that time, he did a ton of plays but also managed to wrangle up some juicy bit roles in films like Rosemary's Baby and Midnight Cowboy. Re-watching these films and witnessing a young Thomas Irwin, inspired me to whip up a tribute print. I've always been a huge fan of the artwork for Rosemary's Baby, so I wasn’t about to touch that one. But I did feel Midnight Cowboy could use a little love, and decided that was the way to go.
Every fall, I get a serious case of horror-fever. Usually it comes in the form of an overwhelming feeling to watch as many spooky movies as I can, but this past season I also became inspired to craft some horror art and it wound up being my most productive attempt yet. It all started back in early October when I had an idea to create a horror alphabet made up of my all-time favorite scary movies. As I began to assemble a list and sketch early concepts, it became clear pretty fast that this would need to be a longer term goal. Perhaps it could be something I tackle over the course of the year. However, the process of compiling a list made me realize there were a few of my favorite flicks I really wanted to do prints for. On top of that, I booked a table at the 2015 Syracuse Horror & Sci-Fi Garage Sale that was happening in late November. This would be my first public print sale, so the pressure was on to deliver. Having a hard deadline was perfect and I decided I would try to create three new pieces.
AUTISM IN LOVE is a feature length documentary about how adults with Autism find and manage romantic relationships. After watching and discussing the project, two primary themes emerged. At its core, the film explores the complexity of finding and interpreting love in the world of Autism. While all four characters have experience with some aspect of love, it becomes clear early on that it isn’t always an easy topic to navigate and deal with. However, it’s also a beautiful film that shows us that everyone has the desire and capacity for love, and showcases that using two of the film's protagonists, Lindsey and David, and their story of obstacles and ultimate triumph.
I recently completed the SkillShare class, Demystifying Graphic Design: How Posters Work taught by Ellen Lupton, a curator at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. At first, I was mostly interested in hearing Ellen speak about the history & core principles of poster design utilizing the impressive collection of Cooper Hewitt posters. But I wound up finding the entire class to be extremely enlightening & fun.
Earlier this year, I had the good fortune of teaming up with the filmmakers behind RAIDERS!, the new documentary centering on the greatest fan film ever made. To get ready for their world premiere at SXSW 2015, the directors, Tim & Jeremy wanted key art that was not only visually striking, but also created a brand new image for their film.
After spending the past few years working part-time as a key art designer to refine my skills and grow my portfolio, I am happy to announce that I have left my full-time gig to launch my own design shop. It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Variant, a brand new boutique design agency who's main focus will be crafting key art for independent film.
What if Criterion started distributing horror classics like ALIEN, THE SHINING, and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET? What would that look like? I decided to explore that idea and design a series of fake covers inspired by my favorite horror movies.